The gaming industry is extremely competitive. As a result, game developers need to use tools and technologies that help to keep their games performing and delivering at the highest possible level. In the modern gaming environment, gamers settle for no less than a perfect gaming experience. A failure to deliver on these expectations can result in lost gamers or viewers for gaming companies.
One technology game developers should look into is a multi-CDN. In this article, we will explain the technology, why it is so important, and we will break down some of the top benefits of it for gaming companies.
What is Multi-CDN?
To start, a CDN (content delivery network) is a network of proxy servers in geographically distributed data centers. The purpose of CDNs is to distribute service spatiality relative to end-users in order to optimize performance and reduce internet bottlenecks.
A multi-CDN is a system that uses multiple content delivery networks to distribute digital content around the world. CDNs are very efficient at reducing website latency. However, when a company uses multiple CDNs, latency can be reduced even further, allowing for even higher performance and better global presence.
Essentially multi-CDNs allow game companies to distribute their game content with greater availability, service uptime, throughput and reduced latency. This results in optimal game performance and gaming experience for the end-user.
How Do Multi-CDNs Work?
Multi-CDNs work by pairing top providers to leverage points of presence (POPs) in locations around the world. Intelligent load balancing connects users to the healthiest CDN given their location, ISP and device type. These points of presence help to expand server capacity, which speeds up download times for players. For example, when a gamer in Australia downloads a game that has content on an origin server in New York, a CDN server in Australia can pull the content from the server in New York and then cache it.
Once the game content is cached on the Australian server, Australian users will not have to wait for the game to be loaded from the New York server. Instead, the game will load from the server in Australia. This dramatically speeds up load times and prevents the gamers or audience from having to deal with frustrating delays.
Multi-CDNs simply carry out this process with multiple content delivery networks with many servers around the world. Because multi-CDNs do not rely on one CDN, they are significantly more powerful, efficient and flexible than single CDNs and networks that do not use CDNs. Networks that do not use CDNs have to pull content from the origin server every single time the game is downloaded or run. When the origin server is not in the same nation or even continent as the gamer, this can result in slow speeds and long download times.
What are the Key Benefits of Multi-CDNs?
Multi-CDNs have a variety of benefits. Both gamers and game developers can benefit tremendously from multiple content delivery networks. Here are some of the most important benefits of multi-CDNs.
One of the most impressive benefits of multi-CDNs is enhanced reliability. With multi-CDNs, a gaming company can still distribute content effectively, even if one of its content delivery networks congests or goes down.
Having multiple CDNs to distribute content through is sort of like having multiple trucking companies to deliver goods. If something goes wrong with one company, the goods will still be delivered. This makes multi-CDN networks substantially more reliable than alternatives.
Increased Global Presence
Multi-CDNs dramatically increase global coverage. The more networks that are on a multi-CDN system, the more servers the game is on around the world. When game content is on a higher number of international servers, it increases global presence and the ability for people in many different locations to enjoy it. This is beneficial for both developers and gamers.
As any gamer can tell you, game performance is crucial for overall gaming experience. No one wants to deal with constant lagging and slow load times when they are playing a game. Multi-CDNs allow gaming companies to have optimal performance and fast load times for their games. This is because gamers can download the games from local servers instead of from servers across the world. The difference that this makes in performance is incredible.
Fewer Complaints and Negative Ratings
Because multi-CDNs have such a positive impact on performance, they result in fewer complaints and negative ratings from gamers. This can help to improve the reputation of the game and increases the chances that gamers will recommend it to one another. In effect, running a game on a multi-CDN is good for business. This is a much better alternative to running a game on a single CND and having gamers complain about load times and game speeds on a regular basis. Slow game speeds are one of the main things that frustrate gamers.
With multi-CDNs, game developers are able to scale their games much more effectively than they can without them. This is because multi-CDNs can handle extremely large volumes of traffic from around the globe in a way that does not reduce performance. So, when a game developer launches a new game on a multi-CDN, the network can comfortably handle extremely high levels of international traffic. This is ideal because the last thing game developers want to happen when their game is taking off and starting to rise in popularity is for that momentum to be lost due to poor performance and slow load times.
Getting Started with a Multi-CDN
If you are a game developer and if you’re not already using a multi-CDN system, then switching to one can have a strong positive impact on your business. However, before you make the switch, it is important to know that not every multi-CDN is high-quality. So, you want to make sure that you choose the right multi-CDN on which to run your game. Here are some variables that you should focus on when selecting a multi-CDN.
When it comes to multi-CDNs, the faster, the better. So, you should shop around to find the multi-CDN that has the fastest possible speeds for your budget.
- Regions Covered/Server Locations
Although many multi-CDNs are capable of providing high-quality performance throughout the world, many provide exceptional service within certain regions. So, you need to know in which countries the particular multi-CDN performs the best. You need to choose a multi-CDN that has great performance and delivery in the countries where most of your customers are located. If you don’t know where most of your gamers are located, choose a provider with balanced global presence.
Of course, you want to use the fastest and the best multi-CDN that is available. However, not all game developers and gaming companies can afford to use the absolute best multi-CDN systems that are available on the market. It is important not to overspend on a multi-CDN if you can’t properly afford it. Otherwise, the benefits that you get from the multi-CDN will not be enough to justify the price. So, unless you already have a large enough budget, you should start with a less expensive multi-CDN and then switch to a better, more expensive one after your game or games start generating significant revenue.
Gaming Companies Taking Advantage of Multi-CDNs
As the competition increases for international gaming companies to provide optimal global gaming experiences, many gaming companies have turned to multi-CDNs in order to improve overall performance. One such company is GameOn Co. Ltd., one of the largest online game publishers in Japan. GameOn offers a variety of licenses for customers to download and play games on PCs, smartphones and tablets.
GameOn turned to the multi-CDN company, Limelight Networks to help it improve speed and game delivery. Speaking about GameOn’s experience with Limelight Networks, Kazuhiro Ikeda, a top member of GameOn’s network team/infrastructure group said, “In addition to Limelight’s CDN services, we also use Limelight’s Origin Storage Services, which also gives us the extremely fast upload speeds our customers expect.”
So, GameOn has been able to improve download speeds and overall game delivery by using Limelight’s multi-CDN and Origin Storage Services.
Three other gaming companies that have benefited tremendously by using multi-CDNs are Valve/Steam, Chartboost, and Hi-Rez Studios. Speaking about his company’s success by partnering with StackPath, a multi-CDN provider, Mike Dunkle, a business development professional at Valve said,
“StackPath (formerly Highwinds) has been an important part of the infrastructure behind our Steam platform since 2011. As our customer base grows internationally and we continue to post large year-over-year increases in our numbers, StackPath remains a vital partner for us. The global reach and massive scalability of StackPath CDN make it an ideal solution for our game delivery needs.”
Multi-CDNs are a great technology for game developers. They make it possible for game developers to share content across countries and continents in a way that is faster and better than ever before. For this reason, all game developers should seriously consider switching to a multi-CDN if they are not already using one.
Gamers who play games that run on multi-CDNS get to enjoy faster download times and higher performing games with less lagging. This dramatically improves gaming experience while reducing frustration. Considering the fact that many people play games in order to have fun and relax, reducing frustration is extremely important.
Currently, multi-CDNs have already changed the gaming industry for the better. However, in the coming years, multi-CDNs will be even more advanced and will improve the gaming experience even more.