Why Do Game Companies Need CDN?
Companies that deliver game content online have to face a lot of challenges, especially when dealing with core game downloads and patches. CDN (content delivery network) is an efficient way of data transfer around the world that can be highly useful for game publishers and developers.
The release of games with 4K and Ultra HD technologies made the size of game downloads much bigger. While this new technology makes up for excellent gaming experience, it can affect pre-gaming experience: a user may have to wait for too long to have files downloaded. While most gamers won’t abandon download after having paid for it, making gamers wait for hours doesn’t contribute to customer loyalty.
CDN solves this problem by caching content in a global network of servers: such network gives companies the opportunity to deliver patches and core downloads much faster. Besides, it prevents download failure and server crash. All of that boosts user experience even before a game is played.
Delivery of large files is one challenge faced by gaming companies – poor connection and traffic spikes can also make the process difficult. Although you cannot control the speed on the visitor’s end, with a CDN solution you still can ensure as quick data transfer as possible.
It’s important for box games, too
In fact, many boxed games need huge post-installation downloads. For instance, GTA5 requires downloading a 5 Gb patch during installation, and you cannot play Batman: Arkham Knight without a 30 Gb post-installation download! The size of post-installation patches can be very upsetting for gamers, not mentioning the time required to download this data. With a CDN network you can make this disappointment less bitter – it provides maximum downloading speed accelerating data transfer several times.
CDN vs infrastructure expansion
Managing and deploying servers one by one to solve the problem of speed can be very expensive and effort-intensive. Such solution requires upfront costs, ongoing costs and experienced staff to manage the global infrastructure. Besides, you should know exactly where to place the servers.
For example, how do you know for sure in which countries your game is the most popular? Do you have a server there? If you don’t users will suffer from downtime and lags. By using a ready network of global server you won’t have to address these difficult questions. A CDN will power you with a non-expensive network to deliver game content efficiently.
How does a CDN Transfer Game Content?
A CDN boosts the capacity of a game server with the help of dozens of PoPs (points of presence) scattered around the world. That makes content closer to the gamer and improves download speed. How does it work?
Say, a user from Beijing requests game content. CDN server in China pulls game content from the original server located in Amsterdam. CDN server in China caches the content and delivers it to the first gamer. When the second gamer requests the data, it will already be quickly transferred from the server in China.
It happens not in China only – this process takes place around the world. Multiple download locations help to avoid original server overload that can happen because of surge of requests, which is important, because many companies suffer from overload after release of a new patch. Since CDN servers don’t rely on the main server after the file was cached, CDN can keep delivering game content, even if it fails.