The Growing Benefits of a CDN for the Gaming Industry

The gaming industry continues to grow with gamers located around the globe and expecting fast download times. With millions of international users, game developers need a way to distribute loads across data centers, and a CDN offers benefits that support fast downloads and cached server content. It’s not unusual for a game developer to deploy files that are several gigabytes in size. A standard popular game on Steam could be a 50GB download for a user. A game developer needs to offer the fastest possible download method possible.

Turn Hours-Long Wait Times to a Few Minutes

Nothing frustrates gaming users more than waiting hours to download their favorite game. It takes years for developers to create a video game, so users wait in anticipation for release dates. When this date comes around, it’s frustrating to wait hours in a queue for a download.

With a CDN, the downloads are cached on the game CDN’s edge servers at different point of presence (PoP) locations. Users download content from their local PoP, and any traffic overloaded on a server is redirected to another server with more resources. CDNs distribute the queue across servers, so gamers only wait a few minutes for their favorite game.

Retain Users and Revenue

The gaming industry is a trillion dollar business, and a loss of user base could be the end of your game. Users with long lag times or poor download speeds leave for a faster, newer game with better response times. A loss in user base can cost millions, since gamers usually follow friends in the community.

With a CDN, a developer is ensured that downloads are always at peak performance, and downtime is non-existent. If a server crashes, the next data center is ready to pick up the slack and deliver cached content to those users.

Reduced Ping Times

Gamers understand “lag” in terms of “ping times.” A ping time is the amount of time it takes for data to reach the gaming server. Slow ping times can be caused by numerous issues, but one of them could be a slow game server. Gamers that play MMOs or player versus player will leave a game if ping times are never at peak performance.

A CDN improves ping times using a number of methods. The close PoPs to the user’s location helps, but cached content is served much faster than querying your origin server. The CDN’s servers pull content from your server, but then cache it locally for reliable and faster delivery.

Scalability for Growth

Every game developer must be able to scale. From code to infrastructure, scalability matters in business growth. The game developer must make code scalable, but a CDN makes scalability easy. You no longer need to worry about infrastructure to handle an increase in traffic. With a CDN, your resources are endless as you scale bandwidth and availability during peak seasonal traffic.

Without scalability, you can no longer account for an increase in user base, which in turn can cause a loss in revenue. Poor scalability is one of the major game killers on the market, and once users leave for a faster service it’s unlikely that they will return.

Any major gaming developer has moved to a CDN. Steam leverages these benefits to deploy thousands of games to end users. If you haven’t already looked at the benefits of a CDN, it’s time to start considering the reliability, scalability and disaster recovery options a CDN offers.


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