Gaming developers have the unique responsibility of providing around-the-click lightning quick speed for gamers who will quickly leave a game should performance wane. Gamers don’t stick to a game for long if graphics are poor and ping times are too high. Gaming ping times determine user experience, and it’s one of the only industries in the development market that mean more than most other metrics. To reduce ping times, gaming developers must seriously consider the way they build infrastructure for their game’s launch.
Using CDNs in Gaming Infrastructure
In some infrastructure designs, the first idea is to build a powerhouse of servers and network appliances on-site. While this type of build could be sufficient for a game with small traffic and userbase, it won’t be sufficient for a global, worldwide audience with millions of gaming subscribers.
The alternative – and possibly more cost efficient – option is leveraging infrastructure of a CDN. A good CDN has data centers and point of presence (PoP) locations that cover the globe. These PoPs are strategically placed on each continent so that a CDN’s customers can support users from any country.
With a CDN, the gaming developer no longer needs to design infrastructure or find the right appliances. Finding the right performance infrastructure can be trial-and-error for developers who aren’t experienced with building the right gaming network. A CDN already has infrastructure designed, provisioned and tested so that a gaming developer doesn’t need to spend the money to find the right support.
How a CDN Speeds Up Gaming
A gaming developer starts with an origin server, and a CDN is configured to pull content from cached resources located on edge servers. Since these edge servers are located across the globe, the developer doesn’t need to find the right locations for content delivery.
When a gamer requests content, a CDN’s edge server within the closest geographic location responds. Since the content is cached and the server is closer than the developer’s origin server to the gamer, the content is delivered faster. This provides a good user experience for the gamer, and the developer can avoid complaints of high ping times from frustrated customers.
Ping times rely on the gamer’s network as well. If the gamer uses Wi-Fi or has a slow network connection, high ping times aren’t always avoidable. The gamer’s computer resources could also be the reason for poor game performance. Although the gaming developer can’t avoid these issues, they can ensure gamers that content is delivered as fast as possible from the gaming servers.
CDNs aren’t only for online games either. Boxed games that release downloadable content in the future can leverage CDNs on launch days. Instead of thousands of gamers attempting to download content from one location, you can distribute traffic across global data centers. This reduces the chance of slow downloads and crashed servers due to overworked resources.
Using a CDN for gaming infrastructure has numerous advantages, and it’s relatively inexpensive to get started. CDN costs scale with your game popularity, so a CDN can keep initial costs low during development and beta testing.