Clouds are gathering around the gaming industry. But now they want a slice of the action themselves, and they have the assets to make it happen. While some of their efforts to date have failed to inspire, they are unlikely to stop trying until they get it right.

chess game lose planning plan lost checkmate thinkstock photos alexkich
Gaming today is considerably faster paced than chess – Thinkstock / alexkich

These investments may be no bad thing for both gamers and game makers – but only if the game makers play their cards right. For gamers, the fact that major providers are investing heavily in the industry will bring greater choice, as well as tempting more people – mainly mobile gamers – to sign up without splashing out on consoles and other hardware.

For designers, a good spread of clouds gives them greater support at the back-end, where they can pick and mix the smart services offered by cloud providers to build better gaming experiences and launch new immersive games even faster.

Colo with a choice of clouds

The key to designing high-performance infrastructure that doesn’t cost the earth is building an easy to duplicate connectivity-rich regional hub. By choosing to colocate regional cores with low-to-no-latency connections to both service providers and public clouds, gaming businesses can keep costs down and business models agile while safeguarding the game core.

On the connectivity side, a range of network, SDN, and internet exchange services will make data costs more competitive. Then there are the vital API-enabled partner services, things like payment, advertising, and virtual security service providers.

Having major clouds in-house or nearby also adds choice, whether it is full gaming-as-a-service (GaaS) infrastructure for start-ups or data log-file processing with AI. The trick will be to manage core infrastructure so that the game doesn’t become locked into a single cloud.

Edge performance

Hooking this core to smaller facilities close to players for edge processing will also be key. Round-Trip-Times (RTTs) from point-of-play to core data centers are just too long for 5G-level gaming, and this will become more critical as data volumes grow. Gaming businesses will need processing power just a few milliseconds from the point of play. This is where the core content will meet the MVNOs, and new data caches can be built, processed and backed up.

Iron Mountain Data Centers has released a more comprehensive Customer Solution Brief on the main considerations and design opportunities in ‘From Console to Cloud: An overview of the current challenges, drivers and opportunities for Gaming digital infrastructure.’