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Keeping up with the gamers

By Amy Cracknell, Data Centre Consultant – Keysource.

The gaming industry continues to transition through a number of changes on almost every level. From design to development, equipment to experience, the life of the gamer is evolving all the time. It could be argued that this has always been the case. However, one of the recent major changes is the shift from the traditional single player, hard disc consoles (PS2, Gameboy, Nintendo DS, etc) to online streaming and cloud platforms. (Google Stadia Microsoft Xcloud, Playstation Plus etc). For the gamer and the developer alike, this is very much new territory. In addition, online gaming and multiplayer gaming is rapidly expanding with Esports (online tournaments and championships) becoming nearly as popular and as lucrative as traditional sports.

For gamers, the constantly shifting backdrop of the gaming world is something to be celebrated, as is the competitive market for developers and providers. However, these changes create a number of challenges for companies with regards to data usage - including an increase in bandwidth requirements and storage capacity. As a leading data centre specialist provider, we often hear of companies in the gaming industry failing to meet the intense demand, which can lead to the cardinal sin of gaming; in-game interruptions.

Gaming Trends

Streaming a game, rather than downloading a game, means that the user does not need extensive and expensive software on gaming PCs to play the game. Nor do they need a console in certain scenarios. They can play the game through their standard PC as long as they have a strong and steady internet connection. Online gaming is rapidly expanding with Esports alone making $1.1 billion last year.

Data Centre Challenges

With the shift to online gaming and cloud platforms, the two biggest challenges for data centre operations is storage capacity and bandwidth. As more people stream and download, the bandwidth requirements are ever-growing to support this demand. An example of when the bandwidth expectations have not been met was

an update for Destiny 2 (a very big multiplayer online game) that was released a few years ago. Over a million users attempted to download the update as soon as it was available and crashed the service due to the bandwidth reaching its maximum capacity.

Future

With online gaming, the sharing of player data and environments is very much the norm. This action requires bandwidth to share this data without interruption to the service and gaming experience. Unfortunately for developers, there is no doubt that online gaming profiles and platforms will continue to require larger and larger storage capacity to successfully support the gaming community. PlayStation is one company that allows a player to transfer their game ‘saves’ and profiles from one console to another without losing any data. This is achieved as the data is stored on the PlayStation cloud platform; a storage model we will see rolled out across the market in various guises amongst PlayStation’s competitors.

At Keysource we pride ourselves in the agile approach we take to data centre delivery. It is not sufficient to solely address the bandwidth and storage capacity challenges as they stand in the current market. Data centres need to be able to predict and adapt to an imminent increased demand. For us, data centres have to operate like oracles when it comes to providing the appropriate systems for gaming platforms. Of course, who knows what the next major trend will be within the markets; gaming has seen immense transformation even within the last five years. However, we’re not totally blind as we move forward. And as we trust that developers put their customer experience at the heart of their gaming operations, we too can be confident in our provision to the gaming client.

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