When gaming developers deal with user issues, one of the first complaints they get is ping times. “Ping times” are what the gaming community refers to when their online game is working poorly due to network connectivity. It could be due to their own network or Wi-Fi signal, but gamers are usually adept at identifying slowness due to their own computers or when a developer’s server is the culprit. Poor ping times are the death of an online game, so it’s imperative that the game developer does its due diligence and eliminates performance issues from their own server issues. One way to avoid poor ping times is with a game CDN.
Content delivery networks are not a new concept, but even with a CDN’s benefits many IT people avoid the change in configurations out of convenience. When you have millions of users accessing the next game patch, it takes a toll on your server resources. It’s enough to have your entire gaming community complain online and damage your brand’s reputation.
Network Latency and Online Gaming
Even though data travels at the speed of light, it still needs to travel thousands of miles for some customers in a global gaming community. Compare this with customers that are only a few hundred miles from the gaming developer, and it makes a difference in user experience.
Multiplayer gamers rely on fast response times to compete in their virtual worlds. It gets frustrating when your character is already dead after you see an attack and then defeated by someone with much better ping times. Players closer to the game developer will always have an advantage, and this can mean frustration for players and an ultimate drop in subscribers.
As little as 100 milliseconds in delay can hurt user experience, and it happens in more than just multiplayer games. Racing, sports and first-person shooters rely on fast response from the player and low ping times.
Optimizing Content Delivery with a CDN
Network latency happens for a few reasons. In some cases, a gaming developer’s user could have a bad Wi-Fi connection or a slow ISP account. It also happens from network congestion as well as distance from the developer’s server. When a user has slow Internet connectivity, the gaming developer can’t make their game experience better. However, the developer can take the necessary steps to improve proximity to the user and add a CDN with high-speed infrastructure to reduce ping times.
With a CDN, data no longer travels thousands of miles because the service’s edge servers and data centers sit in various geographic locations across the globe. This change alone does wonders for your user experience. You can cut ping times to only a fraction of the original before moving to a CDN.
Network latency usually happens from user traffic getting rerouted or taking a poor route from their own network to your servers. By using a CDN closer to the gamer, you reduce the number of hops needed to reach a destination, which in turn can reduce performance issues over the Internet. You still can’t account for a slow ISP or poor broadband in a user’s area, but being closer to a data center will still create a better user experience for your gaming subscribers.