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Transformation and innovation in the Gaming Industry

Transformation and innovation in the Gaming Industry: Before you go viral... make sure you have a reliable network!

The new world of online/mobile gaming is changing the way we live, play and interact.  The Gaming space is mandating transformation across the telecom industry as service providers step up to enhance infrastructure while identifying innovative ways to ensure product and service offerings measure up to what the new generation is requiring.

From the game development studio to the content hosting partner, winning the race to market separates the successful apps from all others.  Yet in the aggressive mix of social media campaigns and Internet marketing gimmicks, long term planning for content hosting and distribution become continuous works-in-progress in the midst of monetizing the app.

To a good portion of game developers, relying on CDNs and ISPs to distribute content to users in target markets; ensure scalability & latency; optimize gaming experience;  build security from malicious attacks; and connect to commercial gateways seem to be a formula packaged to sustain all network issues. 

Yet, in reality, there is more to it when the game suddenly goes viral…

“When apps developers create an Augmented Reality app, they usually work to keep bandwidth consumption low. The problem is that when an AR app goes viral, that low-data usage per user adds up fast, resulting in massive surges of traffic between the app and the servers when large numbers of people use it at the same time,” said John Tanner, Editor-in-Chief, Telecom Asia.  “If the network isn’t architected to handle massive spikes of data usage in a given location – and AR apps by definition are all about given locations – that’s going to create network performance issues that will in turn impact the ability of the app and the servers to communicate, which in turn will impact the gameplay experience.”

The reality

Recent news headlines referencing apps and popular online games going into global server meltdown, experiencing DDoS attacks, technical glitches are but a few public examples of what the industry is experiencing behind the scene.  Therefore, it is mission-critical for game developers to see the big picture.

“In terms of network connectivity, data hosting, managing security and optimizing the user experience, some issues may arise if the CDN provider does not connect to the right ISP for the game developer’s target markets. In many instances, there may be insufficient bandwidth or issues related to hosting capabilities and security across the distribution points,” said Wilfred Kwan, COO, Reliance Communications (Enterprise) & Global Cloud Xchange.“

Into the Cloud

Cloud computing means applications and services are increasingly dependent on the global network to get to end-users. When it comes to online gaming, ensuring high performance, high capacity Wide Area Network (WAN) connectivity into CDN data centers and Cloud platforms is the key to success.  While ensuring that the hosting environment is as close to the target “eyeballs” as possible, it is equally important to be able to connect directly from a secured private network to a variety of Clouds from the distribution point. 

“While gaming industry challenges have typically been focused on getting the content to the user faster, new trends in Augmented Reality add the complexity of location based service challenges that will require the content to be available from multiple DNS locations that can track with the mobile user,” said Thomas Gowen, President of North America, Global Cloud Xchange.

As cloud computing becomes more prevalent, the network that supports it, or Cloud networking, becomes ever more complex.  Service providers equipped to support the evolving requirements of the gaming industry are transforming themselves from a static entity, to a dynamic, intelligent, application-aware fabric that can support multiple traffic and security requirements, diverse geographies and flexible pricing models. 

It is mission-critical for
game developers to see the big picture

Looking out for Number One…

As technologies such as Augmented Reality, along with Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, continue to have a transformative impact on the gaming industry, game developers looking for opportunities to explode their creativity into the marketplace (while building a steady revenue stream along the way) should take note on a few mission critical priorities.

According to Manoj Menon, MD & Senior Partner APAC at Frost & Sullivan, “enterprises in the digital media space will need service providers with capabilities across the three facets of infrastructure, connectivity and security.  Gaming companies in particular will benefit from service providers who can simplify their ability to provide access on demand with secure and scalable solutions.”

It is also important for game developers to have the ability and capacity to deliver direct or “downstream” access to distribution channels and users while ensuring full protection from malicious attackers.    

Finally, it’s about the “eyeballs”. To continue on an upward growth trajectory, game developers will benefit by maximizing Internet access and targeting high growth countries across emerging markets, like India for example.  According to a recent Research and Markets report, “the Indian AR & VR market is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 55% during 2016-2021.”

There is no doubt that the location-based, Augmented Reality nature of where the Gaming industry is heading will trend towards a much more significant impact on its players and real world communities, while opening doors for new innovations and opportunities.