Digital distribution is the fastest growing method to sell games, upgrade and fix game software, and push out new enhancements to existing games. For example, Steam, one of the largest game distribution sites in the world, distributes over 3000 games to more than 100 million active users while supporting 5-8 million players simultaneously. The percentage of video gamers choosing digital distribution over DVDs grew from 40% in 2012 to over 50% in 2013, according to the Entertainment Software Association, and this number will keep climbing.
Digital distribution gives both game developers and players a distinctive advantage. Game developers are relieved of inventory stocking concerns, especially at the launch of a major new game. Digital distribution also makes it easier for developers to control distribution of beta copies and circulate demo versions of the game that can be changed quickly as development progresses. Players can update their new game more quickly and secure fixes to unexpected hardware bugs that could otherwise crash their game.
During the lifetime of a popular online game, developers face a number of challenges that their digital downloading solution needs to address.
Game developers need to create controlled access to early versions of a game without compromising security.
The final version of a game can range from 5 to 40 GB’s or more, with millions of players demanding a playable version within hours of release. Full release is a two-part challenge to get players up and running as soon as possible while downloading millions of copies within a short timeframe.
Almost as soon as a game is released, new assets, patches, and updates are in demand. Users must be able to download these without interrupting gameplay.
Releasing a game in waves is increasingly popular as a means of both ensuring version control, and managing download traffic. First releasing a game in the geography where it is likely to be most popular helps build demand around the world while decreasing download slowdowns for more remote geographies.
While dedicated players will patiently wait minutes or even hours for a game to download, newer players will often abandon a download that is too slow… and they may never return.
In-game purchases need to be quick and seamless, with new assets downloadable almost instantly.
The Orchestrate Solution for Gaming solves game developers’ downloading challenges with affordable, proven capabilities:
Orchestrate Content Delivery can reach peak bandwidth of 10 Tbps, and has outperformed other content delivery networks (CDNs) in global testing. The high availability of our global network translates into more downloads and better monetization of your games, regardless of time zone and traffic patterns. The Limelight CDN is built to deliver content 24 X 7 around the world.
We get your games to the last mile fast, and our unique network caching architecture makes games instantly available to local requests. With Orchestrate Cloud Storage, you can quickly upload, replicate, and store game assets around the world to ensure fast access to all of your titles.
We can integrate with your custom download manager. Or, we can help you find a third party DLM that creates the download experience you want for your players, and gives you the data you need to understand how your game is being accessed.
Limelight is an experienced provider of game downloading capabilities with some of the largest, most successful game companies in the world relying on our network and services to monetize their games.
If you are looking for a company that will start small with you, and then help you grow big, look to Limelight Networks. We’ll make sure that every game release goes according to plan for you, and that your players get in the game fast— then stay there!