Why dedicated game servers matter to your online gaming business

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CacheFly Team

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March 12, 2010

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As a key member of a gaming company, you are likely already aware that your customers expect high-quality, fast, and stable performance from your products. Slow downloads, high latency, and constant buffering are factors proven to alienate users, preventing them from returning to your website and becoming loyal gamers. The right kind of server in your content delivery network (CDN) can make all the difference, and dedicated game servers are one of the best ways to ensure that your gamers enjoy a seamless user experience.

Why do servers matter?
It is important to consider the type of user that your company is targeting. An average user of online content may not be interested in how the content gets to their computer, as long as it does get there. But your company’s typical customer—an Internet gamer—is likely more technologically sophisticated than the average user and has high expectations for a seamless user experience. When playing a game—whether they download it or play online—users are often requesting large files. Transferring large amounts of data may be too much for a basic server to handle smoothly, resulting in a poor user experience. As an online gaming company, you must consider your user’s needs and expectations when selecting a server.

What kinds of servers are there?
The two major techniques used for content delivery are distributed servers and dedicated servers. Distributed servers are more common, and they are typically used in cloud environments where information can reside anywhere in the data cloud. A distributed server has its own private memory source that it draws on to provide information to a user. But that information, as well as the actual server, may reside on different machines. This can slow down access to necessary information from the server, as well as the execution of the server program. This may cause bottlenecks within the CDN, increasing latency and, ultimately, customer dissatisfaction, particularly among tech-savvy gamers.

The dedicated game server
Dedicated servers are designed to work with a specific client. A dedicated server does not serve the same general purpose as a distributed server, and because of this, it can optimize the way it handles data to make sure that it will be delivered to its destination as fast as possible. Since online games are typically larger files that occupy more bandwidth than other online content, hosting your game—or the game itself—on dedicated game servers will ensure that your users will load or download content without any latency. The throughput of a dedicated server, combined with a well-designed game client, will be much higher than that of a distributed server. Using dedicated game servers for your gaming business will provide high performance, speed, stability, and control—all key factors that your gamers will appreciate.
Finding the right tool for the right job is a maxim that most certainly applies to CDNs, and it is important to find the service that works best for your particular audience. For gaming companies, including a dedicated server as part of the CDN is the right tool for keeping customers satisfied and loyal.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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