Supporting The Changing Requirements For Online Gaming (2018)

By K. Scott Helms, Momentum Telecom

Gaming enthusiasts have had a somewhat checkered history of interaction with the service providers that are a critical component of their hobby. On one hand gamers have been early adopters of high speed connectivity, but on the other they have also driven calls, complaints, and had higher requirements than the average end user. We’ve also seen service providers fail to understand what mattered to gamers when they created packages and marketing materials, and as recent as this year network operators have blamed gamers for driving excess capacity usage. In this paper I will focus on real world usage patterns for online gaming by looking at actual traffic of both games and the supporting software that is commonly used like streaming and voice communications. One of the important shifts in gaming has been the rise of these ancillary programs that gamers use, and these drive very different networking requirements. They also increase the need for consistent performance, and perhaps more impactful in the short term is that they increase the visibility for customers of any issues that might be affecting their traffic. What the testing showed was a dramatic increase in upstream usage and a far higher requirement for low latency and reliable packet delivery. What’s even more interesting for operators is that these requirements help cement wired broadband solutions as critical for gamers, and as an industry we should begin thinking about gaming in a similar way that we think about video. Creating relationships inside the gaming ecosystem is clearly in our interests as a way of further fending off encroachment by cellular providers who have aggressively moved into the video space.

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