Overcoming Latency & Unlocking Distributed Cloud’s Performance for Game Servers

Oct 12, 2023

The Challenge: Accessing Performance

An astounding 72% of game studios and publishers see high latency as critical or important challenge of the cloud for their game servers, yet despite that, 58% know the over-complexity of multi-cloud environments as their top hurdle (2), stopping them from transitioning to a flexible architecture despite 80% of game studios seeking its promised performance gain and either important or critical (3) to their games and ultimately, bottom line.

Why so?

Not only is latency a widespread issue in gaming, with 97% of gamers having experienced latency (4), but more critically for game devs, more than 34% of gamers quit their game or session (!!) if they experience latency (5). That is “player churn” on a massive scale.

Even when they don’t quit, 42% of gamers say latency issues stop them from playing as much as they would like (6), heavily impacting the game’s retention.

It’s a key priority for players, as 50% of the gamers we spoke to said lag and/or latency was their biggest frustration when playing online (7).

While game devs know the true culprits of this lag caused by cloud networks, 51% of gamers who experience latency blame game publishers and developers or the company managing game servers (8) – making this not only a performance issue but one of brand perception and PR as well.

So, what solutions do game studios have to solve this issue?

Orchestration & Distributed Cloud

Thanks to its more significant number of locations and being physically nearer user to users than traditional data centers miles away from city's most populous areas or completely overlooking rural areas, a distributed cloud promises amazing potential to deploy game servers closer to players.

Harnessing this power comes with a challenge – game server orchestration is complex and must be trained on a massive amount of historical data and take into account all parameters available to developers – including users' locations, the context of the session itself, information on devices, mix both historical and current network information (including, but not limited to, bandwidth, latency, jitter, packet drop, TCP/UDP, ACL, DDoS, and more), to be effective. If you’re building it for the first time, it’s a daunting task to build the platform and its decision-making policies and then have the data set to optimize it. Creating policy rules in your matchmaker is not the solution; while creating regions in matchmaker is seen as the best fix, it only works for ultra-large regions and will force players to “pick a side”. Managing distributed infrastructure is impossible through the matchmaker as its purpose is to pool players as efficiently and quickly as possible, not manage a backend complexity.

What is the key to unlock all this potential? Automated orchestration.

Automated orchestration uses machine learning to evaluate where best to deploy game servers nearest to players to lower latency for all – up to 58% versus traditional public cloud in the case of Edgegap9, an industry’s best. Edgegap delivers 78% “real-time” latency of sub-50 ms to gamers, five times that of traditional public cloud at 14% (9).

It’s one thing to find the best location to deploy a server for players to play; it’s another to build a platform that manages game server versioning, rolling updates, and more of operating game servers.

Unlocking Online’s Games Potential with Trusted Partners

Here's the good news: You don't have to navigate this complicated, costly maze alone. Edgegap, in collaboration with Akamai, offers a straightforward and cost-effective solution for multi-cloud management that delivers on performance. Specifically, near-zero latency, 3 second deployment to all locations worldwide, 99.99% availability, data governance and security up-to-date with the latest legal requirements and more.

All, on-demand and in one click.

Edgegap is the orchestrator that automates the handling of resources and leverages Akamai’s robust cloud to deliver flawless multiplayer experiences for players.

Want to learn more? Edgegap’s account for testing is free – create an account today. You can also check out our documentation or contact us via email or Discord for more information.

Learn how Akamai's cloud computing services help companies delight gamers with a fast, immersive, personalized experience, empowering developers with an open, user-friendly cloud and achieving budget goals with low egress fees and transparent pricing.

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This series is part one of a collaboration between Akamai and Edgegap and leverages “The Great Cloud Reset”, a new Forrester Consulting study, commissioned by Akamai, that surveyed 420 enterprise cloud strategy leaders across the globe. Gaming’s spotlight is available to read here. Edgegap’s “Online Connectivity Report” is also available here.

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(1), (2), (3); The Great Cloud Reset – Gaming Industry, a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Akamai
(4), (5), (6), (7); Edgegap & Bryter Research, Online Connectivity Report (2022), Link

(9) Edgegap Technology Inc.; Case Study (2019), Link

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