Last year the gaming industry saw major growth in cloud gaming. The cloud gaming market reached a value of $1.15 billion in 2019, and is expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.3% over the next five years. As more gaming platforms turn to the cloud and new gaming platform releases are relying solely on cloud gaming, it’s looking like this new trend is here to stay.
Cloud-based gaming platforms stole the show at last year’s E3. Epic Games announced its introduction into the cloud gaming world and Google debuted its first gaming platform, Stadia, which received outstanding reviews. Journalists gave Stadia’s graphics high praise and enjoyed Google’s first step into the cloud gaming world. However, journalists did note some latency issues during gameplay.
Cloud gaming must be lag-free in order to really take off. This means that the success of any cloud gaming platform depends on high-performance servers that are able to handle heavy traffic without slowing down the transfer of data and gaming experience.
Latency: The Final Boss of Cloud Gaming
Leaseweb recently helped Crytek, a German video game and software developer, tackle their unique requirement of delivering a top gaming experience while handling heavy traffic. Crytek had seen great success with their game Hunt: Showdown, a first-person shooter survival game that had been exclusively on Steam (an online gaming platform), but was getting released on Xbox One. This meant that Crytek had to scale to be able to handle the addition of Xbox One users, as the two platforms boast a combined total of over one billion active users.
Leaseweb was able to provide Crytek with the needed infrastructure: customized dedicated servers in various global locations where high player traffic was predicted, as well as providing Crytek with global connectivity through its network, including multiple Tier 1 IP networks.
However, as apparent by Google’s Stadia, not all cloud gaming platforms have taken the necessary steps to ensure that they have implemented the required infrastructure to handle the influx of gamers as the cloud gaming market grows.
While this is something everyone in the industry should consider going forward, it is important to note that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for implementing dedicated servers for cloud gaming platforms.
Avoiding ‘Game Over’
Similarly, there is not just one solution for every game developer’s needs. An entire host of key game aspects need to be considered – such as the game genre, game size, and workforce limitations, just to name a few. However, there are a few infrastructures that are the most common and can serve as a starting point for making this kind of decision.
- BaaS (Backend-as-a-Service) servers are quick, easy, out of the box solutions, making them great options for mobile and web-based games. However, they are at the whim of their techstack, meaning developers may be forced to alter game design to fit vendors’ changes.
- Managed cloud servers come pre-loaded with all the pre-programmed bells and whistles – often including autoscaling capabilities – and offer a low-maintenance solution.
- Unmanaged hosted servers are the most barebones options available, allowing the most freedom, flexibility and customization for developers. But beware, this also means they require the most time and manpower to launch and maintain.
While choosing the right infrastructure is a critical factor to be considered, it’s not the only factor. Other variables – like proximity of the user to the server and the speed of the user’s network – will also impact performance. With so many factors to consider, it’s important not to lose sight of the ultimate consideration: ensuring your developers can focus on creating the best game possible.
Read more about Leaseweb’s available gaming hosting solutions here.