How studios can reduce lag in cross-play games

Cross-platform play, also known as cross-play, has gained popularity among gamers for quite some time now. According to Unity’s latest estimates, in 2021 alone, over 50% of all Americans played multiplayer games—with a whopping 87% of those gamers having played cross-platform games.

The advantages of cross-play is undeniable for gamers. They can play with whomever they want, on any platform and with as little friction as possible. Game developers also want in on the action due to the extensive appeal and highly engaged player bases of cross-platform games.

How current cross-play game networks are set up

Most studios will typically use peer-to-peer (P2P networking) in order to save on cost. This prevents them from paying authoritative servers or relays. The problem is that the new Xbox does not allow P2P for voice, and cross-play does not support P2P either (since you can’t have a PlayStation talks directly to an Xbox).

This forces studios to implement two mechanisms: non-cross-play games will go P2P and cross-play games will require relays/servers. Studios will typically make a decision to deploy those servers/relays in P2P in a handful of centralized locations. This obviously causes latency since the traffic needs to travel a fairly long distance between players.

For example, many cross-play gamers will typically be friends. You want to play against your friend across the street who has an Xbox—but you have a PlayStation. While the distance between the two players is fairly small, the traffic will still have to traverse a fairly long distance. This is why there are so many complaints about lag in cross-play games.

Industry insiders appear to agree: cross-platform play has gotten a bit of pushback from the gaming industry. Two of the reasons? Infrastructure differences and issues with the entire platform network can cause lag and even downtimes.

How Edgegap bridges the gap and drastically reduces cross-play lag

With Edgegap’s worldwide multi-provider and multi-server network, studios can deploy their cross-play games as close to their players as possible. This drastically reduces latency and eliminates the potential for outages. Along with better scalability, studios can benefit from reduced costs as they only pay per use. No more breaking the bank because you pay for idling.

Some technology providers offer P2P or relay-based solutions; however, they only provide a fairly small number of locations, which inevitably does not resolve the lag issue. On the flip side, Edgegap has over 350 edge cloud locations thanks to our global hosting partners. Interested in learning more about how we can help deploy your cross-play game? Contact us today!

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