Gaming CDN

SynEdge Gaming CDN Solutions

Essential CDN For The Ultimate Gaming Experience

It’s well known that a Content Delivery Network plays a fundamental role in the smooth running of any website, providing speed, reliability and security. CDN is an essential tool that online businesses can use to boost their performance and provide a better user experience. Because ultimately, that’s what it’s all about: the user.

Gaming CDNHowever, as technology becomes more sophisticated, just look at 4K and Ultra HD, gamers are also demanding faster and more reliable downloads.

Even box games require lengthy post-installation downloads. But if gamers have to wait for hours on end for downloads and updates, they’re going to be very unhappy customers. For this reason, game companies are turning to CDN providers to enable quick download times when users request them, without the risks of download failures or system crashes.

Here’s a look at why CDN is essential for the ultimate gaming experience.

Speed

Serious gamers are seriously fast. Whether they are using video games, app games or mobile games, they expect download times to be seconds, not hours or even minutes. CDN takes care of latency issues and speeds up the downloading process regardless of varying traffic spikes or larger files. This also means that updates are delivered at a much higher speed so gamers don’t have to wait impatiently to play or update.

Caching

Caching and compression is used in CDN to store and reduce the size of large files so they are instantly available. It doesn’t matter where users are in the world or how many of them are concurrently downloading, CDN makes stored downloads readily available to be delivered in seconds.

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Security

Unfortunately, the internet has become a target for fraudsters and the more gamers there are online, the greater the security risk. A content delivery network can respond instantly to suspicious traffic spikes and can also ensure that downloads are reliable and secure.

Instant Purge

Any internet user knows that updates are constant and frequent. As a gamer you don’t want to be stuck with out-of-date content and downloads that can take up precious memory and affect the quality of your gaming experience. Instant purges will instantly remove out-of-date content and wasteful downloads, while updating your content with the latest versions in milliseconds rather than hours. This ensures that your gaming experience is constantly up to date.

SynEdge gaming CDN not only optimises global availability for gamers but also offers special features to ensure the best ultimate gaming experience, no matter how demanding the user. Contact us today for more information, or visit us online to view our range of CDN solutions.

Gaming CDN

The Importance of a Fast and Reliable Gaming Website

Consumers are used to receiving what they want almost instantly (fast food, fast cars, super fast internet) and it rarely pays to be the one to let them down.

In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, online gaming is no new comer. While there are always new technologies being thought up in order to improve the experience of gameplay – most recently Virtual Reality headsets – the basics such as being fast and reliable are still vital. With an estimated 1.2bn gamers in the world, this market spans pretty much every country and reaches a very broad demographic.

A slow loading webpage or breaks in downloads have plenty of ramifications. Research has shown that the only reason we will wait for a page to load is because we remember slow, sluggish sites we have previously used – however as websites become faster and content loads almost instantaneously we hold other websites to the same standard. Similarly when used to driving a fast car and suddenly being thrust in a slow one, the lack of speed and instant gratification is frustrating.

A result of slower page loading is user abandonment; a study from gomez.com has shown the contrast between a two second delay and an eight second delay is 33% of users – which for websites with a large user base could result in a loss of millions of page views. Consumers don’t expect a webpage to take eight seconds to load, no matter what the content. In a similar study that dates back to 2008 it was shown that a one second delay can lead to a 7% loss in sales which is highly likely to have increased in the last eight years because connectivity is now more instant than ever. While this directly relates to e-commerce the same can still be said for gaming; gamers will expect their content to load, download or update in minimal time.

The increase of mobile gaming, whether on an app or web page, has also seen an increase in dissatisfaction from customers. 33% of mobile users expect apps and websites to work as fast, if not faster, than they perhaps would on their desktop at home with 64% saying that they will abandon what they’re trying to do if it doesn’t load within 10 seconds or less.

A simple search for ‘slow gaming download’ shows just a small portion of gamers that took to forums to complain about the speed in which their game was downloading and the lack of brand loyalty this caused. It can be inferred from these conversations that if a gamer isn’t happy about the service they’re being provided with then they will go elsewhere to someone that can provide it for them. This small sample is only indicative of the amount of gamers that will re-think their loyalty toward a company that aren’t delivering their content at the speed they’ve become used to on other websites.

If users aren’t able to access an instantaneous gaming experience from one site then they’re likely to be able to find something similar elsewhere. Since their birth the concept of video games, and by extension online gaming, have always been popular but not more so than they are today. For online casinos alone for instance, there are roughly 2000 independent vendors that bring in several billions of dollars a year. This is not taking in to account other types of online gambling, of which there are bound to be tens of thousands of other legal and illegal sites, all of which competitors for the business that could be lost from one of them due to slow loading times.

The demand for gaming is only growing and thus providing a fast and reliable service should always be taken seriously by all involved in the industry, even though this isn’t groundbreaking news or technology.

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The Growing Popularity of Mobile Gaming

Pokemon Go broke the mobile gaming market in a big way in the last week. With more downloads that Snapchat and Messenger and more users than Tinder, gamers the world over have been revelling in reliving their beloved childhood game, only this time in Augmented Reality. The mass downloads and millions of obsessed players should lead many of companies to reassess the demand for mobile gaming.

Mobile gaming is a segment of the gaming industry that is worth 37% of the gaming market as a whole, bringing in $36.9bn in the first quarter of 2016, generating roughly 85% of mobile app market revenue. According to Deloitte, there are currently around 80,000 mobile gaming apps available on several app stores due to low barriers to entry in comparison to PC and console gaming. Mobile gaming is also set to over take PC and console in software revenue. There is certainly a large demand for mobile gaming; it’s convenient and can be relatively cheap in comparison to PC and console games. It meets a consumer demand for their smartphone or tablet to be able to perform tasks that used to be reserved for clunky, stationary equipment.

Other gaming companies that have typically stuck to PC or console gaming would do well to take advantage in this current boom of demand for mobile games, so how has Nintendo managed this so well? Well, to start with they harnessed the power of nostalgia by building on an already popular narrative and universe. Instead of coming up with something entirely new, they built on what they already had. Nintendo and Niantic utilised a combination of new technologies that created an entertaining experience, the desire of any game. They managed to push engagement by incorporating online and offline together, driving any commerce as a by-product. By creating something that both hard-core and casual gamers can both engage with is also a large popularity factor for this game.

Pokemon Go is Nintendo’s first foray into mobile gaming and it has paid off for them within the first week of it’s launch. They have opened a window for many traditional gaming companies to develop their own mobile game which will likely happen within the next year or so, given the immense hype surrounding the industry lately.

Gaming CDN

Pokemon Go is Changing Ad Tech

Advertising appearing in games is not new to anyone, and for most part can be seen to be a bit of a nuisance for players. Although these ads allow players access to the free version of the game, they are used as an incentive to make users pay for the version of the game without them. While there isn’t much data surrounding how much revenue is to be made from in-game ads, 8.7% of digital ad spend in the world is spent on mobile apps and games.

One game has come along in the past week and has the potential to throw the rulebook out the window however; the release of Pokemon Go has already lead to an increase in physical footfall for some establishments, leaving many questioning how well in-game ads would fare. For the most part it seems as though what will become possible is brand-sponsored stops and gyms as opposed to ads popping up during game play. Turning a retail shop, cafe or restaurant into a Poke-stop or gym will continue to encourage physical footfall, except it’ll happen purposely for the highest bidder instead of by luck.

Pokemon Go is a new Augmented Reality game by Nintendo and Niantic. It gets players to create an avatar and walk around capturing Pokemon on a real map in order to level up and compete for ownership over gyms. It has already taken first place in app stores, over taking both Messenger and Snapchat. Pokemon Go is taking the world by storm, allowing people to relive their childhoods but incorporating the new technology that everyone has come to know and love – and use multiple times a day, every day. This combination of nostalgia and an exciting technology that many have not used before has proved to be potent in attracting users. The release of the game has added $7.5bn to Nintendo’s market worth in less than a week.

Niantic have confirmed that they will make it possible to sponsor locations within the game but haven’t, as of yet, announced any more details about how it will be possible or when. The excitement caused by Pokemon Go and subsequently the desire for many companies to have sponsored locations begs the question: is this the future of gaming and adtech?

Gaming CDN

Why is Gaming so Addictive?

In light of the most recent person that’s been in the news due to health problems from gaming for too long (this time it’s rotting feet) we’re taking a look at just why gaming is so addictive – and why this is good for the industry.

Of course, this all depends person to person. Some will be more likely to find gaming ‘addictive’ than others, leading to a neglect of work, social lives, family and hygiene in lieu of playing a game. This will depend on whether an individual has an addictive personality or not, as it is well known that gaming can double the Dopamine (the pleasure hormone) levels in players. A game is very unlikely succeed if it isn’t even a little bit addictive, in this instance meaning engaging, challenging and long lasting. Game developers purposely design the games so that players will log on and not want to log off again. By making the games challenging but just easy enough that players are able to advance it creates a sense of achievement mingled with the desire to push themselves to the next level. Throughout the games, players are given small wins and hooks to ensure that they’ll keep playing, contributing to what can make gaming so addictive.

Attempting to beat a high score – whether it’s personal or against someone else – is one of the hooks used. From Pac-Man to Grand Theft Auto, beating some form of high score leaves the player feeling frustrated when they don’t and euphoric when they do, potentially ensuring hours of play time. Another is more specific to online role playing games, but the creation of an avatar and spending hours developing them, their inventory, money and levels can create an emotional attachment to the character and the story that is unfolding ahead of them. This leaves the player feeling reluctant to leave the game and the character for extended periods as they aren’t able to continue the development. The online role playing games are also built on the foundations of exploring new worlds and interacting with people from all over the world, creating a sense of adventure within a community. Often these players can feel like these communities are where they’re most accepted, drawing them back time after time.

While the traditional gaming system games still have an ending once all of the missions have been completed, online role-playing games often don’t. They continue on seemingly forever, there never being a point where all of the missions are completed and there is no where else to go. Of course this is all positive for the gaming industry; it has birthed the concept of eSports, one of the largest growing competitive events in the world. Gaming being so addictive is what has built it up to be a $91.5bn industry, uniting countless people all over through one common interest and encouraged thousands of people to pursue a career in game creation which a few decades ago would have been limited to a lucky few.

Why are so Many Against Online Gambling in the US?

Around the world in the last few years there have been many appeals to make online gambling and betting legal, especially in the USA. In the majority of the US states it is currently illegal with the exception of New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada – where the only form of online gambling is poker. All eyes are currently on Pennsylvania and California as to whether they’ll approve the amendments by the end of 2016 as many have predicted. This isn’t looking likely however; in PA they were brought up twice and turned down twice at the end of May and in CA the opinion polls and surveys have just over half of citizens saying they wouldn’t want it to be legalised.

One of the arguments against online gambling is that it will become more accessible for addicts and recovering addicts, with them being able to gamble anywhere at any time effortlessly and without anyone else having to know. Another is that there’s less supervision of the gambling, allowing access for people that would otherwise not be allowed to gamble. Another argument from those most strongly opposed is, no doubt, due to the risk of revenue it will cause to the physical casinos.

Although it may not be legal, online gambling is still available in PA, it just goes unregulated. Potential addicts or recovering addicts are still able to access these sites, it’s just more likely that they’re unsafe offshore sites. By banning online gambling and betting it makes it more difficult to combat issues such as underage use, addiction and unsafe websites because they can’t be regulated by US laws. Black market sites will have little to no measures in place to stop these problems but if made legal, they would need follow laws and regulations set out for them. It is also highly unlikely that a casino will think to stop any problematic behaviour from patrons if its resulting in them receiving money.

Making these sites legal would also allow the US to tax them, ultimately resulting in a safer environment for online gambling as well as increasing economies within the country.

Gaming is at High Risk of Cyber Crime

For as long as video games have been around, criminal activity in the form of pirating has existed alongside them, however recently it has come to light that the gaming industry could be the next to face a savage attack against not only publishers but individual users as well. The gaming industry is worth nearly $110bn and new trends in online gaming platforms are making it increasingly easy to rip-off large amounts of money from the industry and it’s players. Gaming is now at high risk of being the next mass cybercrime target.

Previously hackers would spend their time trying to break a publishers Digital Rights Management (DRM) in order for thousands to get their hands on pirated copies of games, meaning developers and publishers would lose out on a large chunk of revenue. However this year the development of Denuvo, a new DRM system, has succeeded in stopping this piracy. Unfortunately this has lead to a new target for hackers: the gamers.

Steam, the largest distribution platform for online gaming, has recently faced a wave of multiple malware attacks. The websites massive user base is incredibly attractive for criminals; Kaspersky found around 1,200 different versions of steam stealer tools, some of which were incredibly sophisticated. Some of these malware versions can be found on the dark web for around $30, making them accessible for a very large amount of people. This is a perfect example of the way in which gaming related crime has changed in the past few years and a perfect example of why security surrounding gaming needs to be improved.

Part of the problem is also the gamers themselves; Kaspersky have also said that it is increasingly believed by gamers that anti-virus software can slow down their gaming quality, stating that “Nowadays you just need to realise that you can lose your account and your information.” The repetitive use of passwords is also part of the problem – users need to ensure that they’re using different passwords for different accounts.

Gamers and publishers are going to need to make a collective effort to keep platforms secure. As Kaspersky have stated: “Security should not be something developers think about afterwards but at an early stage of the game development process. We believe that cross-industry cooperation can help to improve this situation.”

The Impact of VR in Gaming and in Life

Virtual Reality or VR has been a dream of many for decades, especially in Hollywood films, and just this year has become a solid reality available to the public.

In 2015 Sony debuted their VR set Morpheus, much to the delight of many. Shortly after this, Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $2.3 billion, cementing the seriousness of VR in many industries. Unlike the 90s, VR is around to stay and won’t be losing it’s sheen any time soon. Samsung then also created a VR goggle set that is compatible with their Galaxy phones, allowing this technology to be accessible to a much wider range of people. VR is something that will have an impact on many industries outside of the obvious gaming; there are constantly more applications being developed for sports, health care and education. This technology is applicable to many areas of life and no doubt will be.

As previously mentioned, gaming giants Sony already have their own VR headsets compatible with the Playstation4 which are to be released for general sale in October of this year for £350, with an estimated 50 VR games to be available by the end of the year. The Oculus Rift went on pre-order at the end of March this year but the company have already faced problems due to receiving too many pre-orders, setting back the date that customers would actually receive their headset.  Other VR offers are coming in from HTC, Sulon Q, Samsung, LG and Google as well as an augmented reality set coming in from Microsoft.

Many predictions for sales of the headsets and games are showing millions of units sold; Deloitte have predicted that 2.5 million headsets will be sold this year as well at 10 million games, with CCS Insight predicting this figure to rise to 24 million for headsets in 2018. Gaming is currently a main driver for the development and adoption of VR but entertainment such as video and user specific content will also lead to larger and wider audiences.

However, despite their popularity there is a slightly darker side to the regular use of a VR headset. Physically it can create motion sickness due to a shift in perception which affects balance which is referred to as ‘cyber sickness’. In the disclaimer for the Samsung Gear VR, they warn to stop using the headset immediately if they “experience seizures, loss of awareness, eye strain, nausea or any symptoms similar to motion sickness”. In addition, the device is not recommended for children younger than 13. They also state that “Prolonged use should be avoided, as this could negatively impact hand-eye coordination, balance and multitasking ability,” the lengthy disclaimer warns.

According to Live Science, Mayank Mehta, a neuroscientist at UCLA has stated scientists “don’t really know what’s going on” in terms of how being in a virtual reality can affect the brain. Their studies have found that using VR can actually cause parts of a rats brain to shut off completely while making others behave abnormally. This is because the part of any animal’s brain that is designed to keep track of their location is so finely tuned that it expects everything to be in sync – which when in virtual reality it isn’t.

Mehta went on to say that they are unaware of the long term consequences and the impact this can actually have on health, and that more research needs to be done as the products become more widely available and millions of people are spending multiple hours a day using them.

While VR is certainly an incredibly exciting development, especially in the gaming world, there is more research that needs to be done on how this physically and psychologically can affect frequent users.

The Popularity of Online Gambling

Online gambling and betting is an industry that’s been around since the mid-90’s, gaining real traction in 1998 by bringing in over $830m from 200 individual sites – up from just 15 in 1996. This industry is now worth nearly £4bn in the UK alone. Online casinos were the first form of gambling over the internet that really took off, showing up in around 1994 shortly after Antigua and Barbuda passed its Free Trade & Process act meaning licences could be granted to companies that wanted to provide online gambling services. Sports betting showed up slightly later in 1996, followed by online poker in 1998.

While many industries made a natural move into internet business, one of the early adopters was gambling and betting. These websites and eventually apps allow users to track what they’re doing on the go or from the comfort of their own home or whilst they’re out and about rather than in a betting shop or casino.

In a recent survey undertaken by the Gambling Commission, a deeper insight has been given into the way in which consumers use online gambling as well as the user demographics. Unlike the trend seen in many other industries, mobile is not yet the most popular way for gamblers to access these sites. Laptops take a vast majority lead with 61% of all users asked which their preferred way to access online gambling and betting saying this was their favoured way. This is unsurprising, however, when shown in correlation to the fact 97% of people say they do their online gambling at home, with just 17% saying they also do it whilst commuting or at the pub.

The survey also gave insight into consumer groups. The age group that is most likely to use online gambling and betting services are 44-54 year olds, dominating other age groups at 54% with 18-24 year old being the least likely to use online gambling or betting sites and apps at 33%. Surprisingly the group most likely to be problem gamblers are the 18-24’s, where 1.1% have gambling problems in comparison to the 0.5% of all other respondents.

In this day and age it is easy to assume that all industries are seeing a large portion of their user base coming from mobile however in this instance, that is not correct. This may well change in years to come as there are constant developments with mobile devices and it will be interesting to see if this industry becomes as heavily affected by the rise of mobile as other industries such as e-Commerce.

Whatever way in which the public choose to access gaming one thing is very clear: billions of users are demanding speedy and reliable sites to play on and there are more than enough websites willing to offer whatever their competitors can’t.

If you’re a gambling or betting website and would like to talk to us about how we can give you the edge on your competitors, get in touch at info@synedge.com.

Gaming CDN

Gamehouse Case Study

Today SynEdge have released a case study on our client Gamehouse and the services we have provided for them, including the reasons why they chose us to provide their CDN, how we improved their service and feedback from their Senior Development Manager.

Changing to the SynEdge platform has seen a 20% increase of performance for Gamehouse on their website, allowing their users to download games at a higher speed with a more reliable result. During the transition from their previous providers, our expert technicians ensured that there was no loss of use of the website and that any existing technology they were using would run smoothly with ours.

Feedback from Gamehouse has been incredibly positive, with Niels Koek – their Senior Development Manager – stating that “We aim to provide the best service possible to our users and this is now achievable with SynEdge.” Our platform allows Gamehouse to ensure the performance of their website and the reliability of their downloads will be first rate in order to keep their users satisfied with their service. Higher levels of customer satisfaction inevitably leads to increased customer loyalty and a growing consumer base.

SynEdge aim to always provide the best customer service we can, ensuring that clientele will only ever deal with one person, allowing for a strong professional relationship to be built and maintained. Gamehouse were incredibly impressed with the service SynEdge provided when implementing the change to our CDN, finding our technicians to be very swift and helpful and making the transition seamless.

For more information read the full case study here.

If you have any questions or would just like to get in contact email smurphy@synedge.com – or call +44(0) 1344 706 061