Although developers such as Steam create an open marketplace for digital downloads, some gamers still enjoy the thrill of having a boxed game delivered. Boxed games are more easily managed if you have space to store them, and you don’t need extra storage space on your computer. Storing games digitally can take terabytes of storage space, so boxed games have their advantages over downloads.
DLC and Boxed Games
Many big gaming developers release content that extends a game’s story. Downloadable content (DLC) can be several gigabytes, and it’s released on a certain date where gamers excited for the release will contact gaming servers immediately when it’s available. MMO gaming developers often have several patches and expansion packs released each year.
DLC content is often a good revenue generator for developers. With boxed games, gamers look for deluxe editions where they can get added extras and collectibles. Games with this kind of userbase often have a strong following, and gamers look for extended DLC content to keep playing. This type of content is what gives a game longevity and keeps gamers coming back for more.
CDNs and DLC Releases
For popular games, having one origin server that delivers DLC to gamers can be problematic. Even with load balancers and a web farm, gaming developers could find their servers crashing when thousands of gamers decide to download new content the day of release. Servers crash and gamers find another one to play. The result is a loss of userbase for the developer.
An alternative to possible release date crashes is to incorporate a CDN into infrastructure. With a CDN, the gaming developer harnesses the power of data centers and state-of-the-art infrastructure that’s fast and secure. A CDN caches content from the gaming developer’s origin server, so a user’s request is quickly processed, and the content sent.
The other major benefit of a CDN is point of presence (PoP) locations strategically placed across every continent. With servers closer to a user, DLC requests are faster compared to forcing users thousands of miles away to request content from one location. When a server and user are close, data transfers are faster.
Having a CDN also provides distributed DLC requests, so data centers across the globe process requests. Should the gaming developer’s origin server fail, the CDN’s edge servers are still available. CDNs also have their own failover infrastructure, so gaming developers have 100% uptime for their DLC.
Boxed games, digital downloads and any content that must be downloaded by gamers will always transfer faster. Providing a good user experience is imperative for a gaming developer, because gamers will easily and quickly turn to another subscription should a game have high ping times and slow performance.
CDN costs also scale with a game’s popularity, so even a gaming developer on a budget can integrate a CDN’s infrastructure. With a CDN, developers will immediately see performance improvements without adding expensive components to network design.