A good multiplayer online game has millions of subscriber. At its peak, Blizzard had 12 million subscribers to its World of Warcraft MMO. Now imagine all 12 million players downloading the latest patch on Tuesdays or the next expansion when it releases. Even the most powerful servers behind a load balancer will start to lose its speed and possibly crash. This is just of the many examples of why a CDN is necessary for large-scale games that require frequent downloads for millions of concurrent users.
Problems Facing All Gaming Developers
Online games are vulnerable to DDoS attacks, cyber security exploits, server crashes, bandwidth overload and server timeouts. All of these incidents affect gaming revenue, and an online MMO that suffers from too many of these vulnerabilities is bound to lose a large chunk of their user base.
A CDN offers protection from all of these vulnerabilities, and it keeps downloads and content transfer running at peak performance. Data is still pulled from the game developer’s origin server, but it’s then stored and cached at the CDN’s edge servers. Each user that requests data gets it from the closest edge server. Any good CDN has a global presence with data centers near any major densely populated region. These point of presence (PoP) data centers work to the gaming developer’s advantage by delivering content to a user base quickly.
Should one of the server’s fail, a CDN redirects traffic to a new location. This new server is still in close proximity to the user, but takes over while administrators get the first server back in service. All of this happens in an instant and without any interruption to users, so the game developer can rely on this service to keep downloads available to its user base.
Eliminate Site Crashes on Release Day
It used to be that gamers ordered software packaged and shipped to their houses on release day. Now, gaming developers are expected to offer downloads on communities such as Steam or through a console browser. Every major game community offers direct download of gaming content to a console or PC, and a developer must have the resources to deliver. Server crashes can ruin revenue on the release date.
With a CDN, you eliminate server crashes even if your origin is a large web farm behind a powerful load balancer. All of this equipment is supplied by the CDN, and it’s available at a fraction of the cost to build it in-house.
Disaster recovery should be a part of every infrastructure, and CDN gives developers access to high-end equipment with disaster recovery baked into its architecture. With millions of subscribers, it’s imperative that developers have a way to deliver content without interruption. They can even have downtime on their own servers without interrupting downloads from a CDN edge server.
Whether it’s disaster recovery, speed or cyber security, a CDN offers it all for game developers. Without a CDN, a large-scale gaming community can be ruined with just one outage.