Better game hosting solutions needed for online launches

Recent high-profile releases reveal shortcomings of cloud-based game hosting

Today’s video games are more sophisticated than ever, but the delivery of state-of-the-art features depends on the quality of game hosting solutions. Many of the most popular games on the market offer users extensive environments to explore and high quality graphics to enhance gameplay. A growing number also incorporate an online element for a true multiplayer experience, connecting users from around the world. As several recent releases indicate, however, high demands placed on existing gaming servers and game hosting infrastructure have led to a poor user experience.

game hosting serversMany game developers offer downloadable online versions of newly released titles so players can immediately get the games they want. This process has been plagued by several high-profile system crashes, however. The Guardian’s Keith Stuart recently live-blogged his own efforts to download the hotly anticipated “Grand Theft Auto Online.” It is a companion of sorts to “Grand Theft Auto V,” released to the public on September 17 and already the largest-ever release on the PlayStation 3 platform.

Before the online version launched, Stuart predicted that the game hosting servers of developer Rockstar would have problems handling incoming traffic. Minutes after the title was made available, error messages announced that Rockstar’s cloud-based servers were unavailable. Over the next several hours Stuart chronicled his own efforts, as well as those of the general gaming population, to access the game, with many experiencing latency, corruption and crashes at every turn.

Managed game hosting supports peak traffic

A game title’s initial online release likely represents the biggest strain that game hosting servers are likely to experience, and optimizing infrastructure and server capacity to handle that influx of traffic is critical. Server crashes irritate expectant users and can lead to skeptical customers not purchasing the game at all. Additionally, it’s much harder to diagnose and fix the problem or scale up game hosting infrastructure to handle the traffic in the middle of a system crash or shutdown.

It’s essential for video game developers to invest in managed game hosting solutions that offer the server resources necessary to allay download issues. Since these organizations do not require the capacity or IT support needed during launches all the time, the optimal solution is a fully managed game hosting platform which can  be scaled up to weather peak traffic and back down to provide regular functional service.