The Benefits of CDN for the Gaming Industry

The Benefits of CDN for the Gaming Industry

The gaming industry has witnessed a phenomenal growth in the last few years. The global nine gaming market only generated around 21.1 billion USD in revenues in 2020 (source: Statista). The growing adoption of internet and mobile technologies along with the rise in 4K and ultra HD gaming has resulted in a rise in the number of popular and hit games being accessible to an eager global user base. 

Today gaming companies target a global user base as a result of the improved internet and WiFi availability. Hence, it is a great time to be developing and delivering exciting new games on the internet. 

However, this opportunity of tapping into a global market presents its own set of challenges that must be managed and solved correctly. Apart from developing fun and exciting games with numerous compelling features, gaming companies also need to ensure that they are delivering a great user experience.  

The Importance of User Experience in the Gaming Industry

Gamers are an extremely impatient bunch of people, and if they encounter slow and unresponsive downloads, or that the gameplay is resulting in many lags, they are quick to move to a different game. And the behavior can happen in droves. 

So, you may end up losing a significant portion of your customer base in a short time. That can be extremely upsetting for a gaming company, having taken several years to develop the game and then arriving at this stage for final delivery. 

Gamers wait for years earnestly for the game to be released, and for them, few things can be as frustrating as waiting in the queue for the game to download. Such experiences can create bad experiences for the gamers, who will then vent their frustration on online channels and communities, creating a bad reputation for the company.

A slow gaming performance will also impact scalability ambitions of gaming companies in terms of reaching new geographies, markets and acquiring new user bases. 

Additionally, with the increase in the frequency and severity of cyberattacks such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, gaming developers and companies need to be extra careful. Data theft or malware that affects the internet infrastructure can create massive inconveniences for the users that may lead to a negative PR backlash.

Hence, the verdict is clear for gaming companies. They must deliver superior performance, otherwise, they risk losing valuable customer relationships and getting sub-par user ratings. 

How a CDN Delivers Game Content 

Among the chief technologies available for improving and optimizing game delivery are Content Delivery Networks or CDNs. What a CDN does is that it caches the gaming data on several servers that are strategically distributed around the world. 

Hence, when the user is downloading the gaming data, then instead of the user’s request having to travel to the origin server, and back, the response is served from the cache server itself, which is located closest to the end-user. 

These cache servers are often referred to as the CDN’s Points of Presence (PoPs), and they are designed to optimize and spread the flow of traffic to reduce and prevent network congestion or resource overloading from happening on a given server. So if multiple gamers are attempting to download the latest game version on a given day, then the CDN will distribute the queue among various PoPs to ensure that there is minimal delay happening with the end-user experience. 

Setting up a CDN can ensure that game companies are offering a seamless experience to the users, with minimal downtimes. In case of a server crash at a PoP, another adjoining server will be available to handle the load and redistribute it to another server. 

Some CDNs are also offering these days, Push Zones – which enable the entire games to be hosted on the network of cache servers on the CDN, instead of relying on a single origin server for doing all the heavy lifting. 

As games today entail large volumes (sometimes hundreds of gigabytes) of pre-game and post-game downloads, by utilizing the CDN network, the game developers can make the process fast for the gamers. 

The threat of malware and other related cyber-attacks is also resulting in many leading gaming companies considering leveraging the CDNs for hosting their game content. 

A DDoS attack happens when the server receives a lot of malicious pull requests in a short amount of time, leading to the server crash. Due to the inherent design built into the CDNs, which protects against resource request overload at a single data center, by deferring the request to multiple cache servers, a CDN helps protect against such a scenario from arising. 

CDNs utilize advanced hardware for storage and effective algorithms to detect and nullify any potential malware insertion on the servers. 

These state-of-the-art algorithms might be challenging to deploy by individual game development companies, but the CDN providers leverage the advantage of scale and their vast expertise to develop and deliver a robust and reliable hosting platform. 

A Positive Word of Mouth Can Make a Great Difference 

So, if we summarize the key benefits that leveraging a CDN offers to gaming companies, then they are in terms of performance security – both of which should be the top priorities for any game developer in today’s hypercompetitive and global internet age. 

The gaming industry is a trillion-dollar economy today and mistakes in attending to the end-user experience by the gaming companies can have a catastrophic impact on the business bottom-line. 

Game users can display herd behavior in their reactions to a game release. Hence a positive word of mouth, fuelled by a good user experience can result in ballooning downloads. At the same time, negative word of mouth can result in gamers leaving for a rival game in droves, following their friends. Hence, gaming companies must take the issue of user experience seriously and ensure that they are delivering a top-notch user experience. 

At Medianova, we provide cloud platforms and global CDN for the gaming industry and for other industries, and we are experienced in streaming, encoding, caching, micro caching, hybrid CDN, and website acceleration. With its footprint in 21 countries and 100% SSD-powered anycast network, Medianova is one of the fastest HTTPS secure CDNs in Europe and the Middle East based on Cedexis.

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