Why Game Companies Are Adopting Distributed Cloud Computing

Distributed cloud computing is emerging in the gaming arena. Game companies rely on cloud infrastructure which helps minimize lagging or latency online.

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Why Game Companies Are Adopting Distributed Cloud Computing

Why Game Companies Are Adopting Distributed Cloud Computing

Game companies need a cloud infrastructure that will help them build, secure, deploy, and scale workloads closer to their players around the world to minimize lag or latency in online and multiplayer games. For a growing number of game providers, distributed cloud computing is an approach that meets those needs.


According to a recent study, 52% of gaming developers saw high reliability and uptime as the number one feature and attribute they expect from a distributed cloud solution. Next up was flexibility and scalability (45%), followed by robust security features (39%) and a clear pricing structure (39%). The order of the rankings and the percentages in the gaming industry were mirrored in the results from the entire surveyed developer population across 15 different industry sectors.

These are some of the findings from Developer Perceptions of Distributed Cloud, a study from developer-focused research firm SlashData and commissioned by Akamai, which surveyed more than 700 global cloud professionals. Ten percent of the respondents described their companies as “gaming (software, gambling, etc.)” businesses. The survey defined distributed cloud computing as the practice of decentralizing cloud resources and services to be physically closer to the data source or user, while still being centrally managed.

Improve performance and scalability, globally


What most appealed to gaming developers about a distributed cloud was flexibility in scaling in different geographic locations, which was cited by 40% of those polled. Cost-effectiveness due to localized resources (36% of gaming developers) and a greater capacity for handling data-intensive applications (35%) were also important factors when choosing distributed cloud architecture.

Game companies want to be able to give their players, regardless of where they’re located, access to online games as soon as they’re released, particularly to hotly anticipated new releases. They want to provide players with consistently great performance, without incurring huge cloud infrastructure costs.

At the same time, game providers always need to be able to quickly scale up services in response to gamers’ needs and changing patterns of play. Already, many gamers play the same game across devices, including their smartphones, gaming consoles, laptops, and smart TVs. The key is to be able to support large numbers of players without interruption in live play as the game is updated.


Provide personalized experiences and boost gamer retention

By taking a distributed approach to cloud computing, game companies can provide their gamers with better in-game experiences, thanks to the benefits of lower latency and broader regional coverage. Improved performance is a major driver in helping to boost gamer retention and player loyalty to a particular game provider.

As augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) game hardware devices increase in sophistication, games are becoming more immersive, meaning that any lag in performance can be jarring and disruptive to gameplay. Game companies are creating games that offer a highly personalized experience by applying artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to identify and then cater to the preferences and behavior of individual players.


The goal is to offer play that changes with the actions of each player in near real-time, which again puts stress on the underlying cloud computing architecture. For complex graphics processing and fast, high-quality 3D graphics rendering, game developers are using media-optimized GPUs and they are also investigating edge computing.

How game developers think about distributed cloud use cases and pricing.

Among the gaming developers surveyed by SlashData, the top best use cases for distributed cloud were:

  • Remote workforce support (45%)
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity (44%)
  • Big data and analytics; Real-time applications; AI and machine learning workloads (42% for each of the three use cases)

As the report notes, “Those in the gaming industry consider remote workforce support as the greatest use case, reflective of the globally distributed and collaborative studios that exist in contemporary game development.”

The advancements or improvements that gaming developers would prioritize to encourage the adoption of distributed cloud solutions were:

  • More robust service level agreements (38%)
  • Clear cost savings and cost-effectiveness (32%)
  • Greater availability of skilled professionals (30%)

Games take years to develop, so game providers are keen to work with cloud infrastructure providers who are trusted partners rather than vendors. Game companies and their developer teams want insight into all aspects of cloud computing, including performance, resource allocations, latency, and throughput, as well as predictable pricing and transparency on billing.

A pay-as-you-go and pay-for-what-you-need distributed cloud computing infrastructure is highly attractive to game providers who like to closely monitor any operating expense not related to directly developing or upgrading their games.



Written by - Cheng Xi, Senior Solutions Engineer, Akamai Technologies


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