Five Factors That Make Online Gaming Infrastructure Needs Unique

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Different game architectures demand diverse infrastructure platforms, and requirements can change over time and differ by game function.

Infrastructure platform options include:

  • Public Cloud – Because of its billing flexibility and speed to deployment, a public cloud is a popular choice for mobile, social and casual games. It can also be an ideal starting point for new game launches, testing and development as it also has a lower cost of entry and can rapidly scale with its on-demand, pay-as-you-go structure.
  • Bare-Metal Cloud – Game genres, like first person shooters (FPS), that demand the same agility, automation and pay-as-you grow flexibility as public cloud but with the high performance and control of dedicated servers are increasingly considering bare- metal cloud environments.
  • Custom Hosting/Colocation – Large, complex games with high persistence requirements and hundreds of servers supporting a single world are often better served by colocation or a customized hosting solution. Game and player statistics that are maintained across game instances and used for completive rankings are examples of use cases that are well suited to these infrastructure solutions.
  • Private Cloud – A private cloud environment offers high levels of infrastructure customization and can help differentiate game performance while offsetting upfront costs compared to custom hosting or colocation.

The video game market is estimated to reach $92.5 billion globally by 20141, due, in part, to the velocity of social media and mobile device adoption. As a result, gaming companies are facing complex decisions as they try to build gaming infrastructures that can cost-effectively support this growth while delivering peak performance for players.

The success of an online game depends on a variety of variables, including the target audience and engagement strategy, device platform choice, game play and logic, and monetization and analytics capabilities, to name just a few. However, underlying all of these elements is the IT infrastructure that supports the entire online gaming stack. While a public (or virtualized) cloud may be ideal in some cases, bare-metal cloud servers, managed hosting, private cloud or colocation may be better suited for others. It depends on the type of application, whether it’s a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), mobile, social, or casual game, as well as the use case, such as new game launches, trailer streaming, testing and development, or massive, on-demand scaling.

Online gaming is a progression of technological advances rather than a particular class of games, and it is important to consider these five key factors, identified by Internap, when building an online game infrastructure.


[1] “The Video Gaming Industry Outlook 2011.” Business Insights. May 2011.


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