Selecting the right game server hosting is all about understanding your customer’s needs and delivering the best experience possible. If you choose the wrong server infrastructure, your game will underperform, potentially driving away players.
When it comes to choosing a game server, there are three essential questions you must answer:
1) What type of game are you hosting?
There are three principle types of gaming: single-player, synchronous multiplayer, and asynchronous multiplayer games.
Single-player games are the least resource-intensive on your server. While these games can be immersive with rich graphics and large “worlds,” they don’t require low-latency connections like multiplayer games. They typically involve minimal information sent back to the server, except for occasional in-game purchases or leaderboards.
Asynchronous multiplayer games require slightly more input from the game server infrastructure. Examples include turn-based games like Words With Friends, where players engage with each other but not in real-time. Although actions aren’t time-sensitive like quick-fire shooting games, the server still needs to receive and relay each player’s actions.
Synchronous multiplayer games require potent servers to ensure low-latency network connections for real-time action. These games, such as Fortnite and CS:GO, involve two or more players engaging in real-time gameplay. It’s crucial to use a server that can handle the demands of rapid play.
The type of game you’re developing will impact your choice of game server infrastructure. If your game is suitable for peer-to-peer networking, you may not need to set up a game hosting server. Players can connect directly to each other’s computers without relying on game server hosting.
However, if you’re hosting games like Minecraft or CS:GO, a dedicated game server will provide the necessary computing resources to run the game efficiently and deliver an exceptional experience for your players.
2) Where are your players located?
Are they mostly in one or two countries? Or spread out worldwide? Understanding the location of your players is crucial when selecting the best game server hosting option for you. In gaming, speed is of utmost importance. Game servers are susceptible to latency. Players have the best experience when the latency is below 60-100ms when everyone plays together.
Latency refers to the time data travels from the game hosting server to your players. Lower latency in gaming leads to a better experience because game information is transmitted more quickly. When players complain about “lag,” it indicates high latency due to the game hosting server setup, affecting their experience.
Reducing latency can be achieved by locating the game server infrastructure closer to your players. Even with data transmitted via fiber optic cables at the speed of light, additional physical distance adds to latency. Sending data from London to Paris is much faster than from London to New York due to the shorter distance between points.
To ensure a consistently excellent experience for everyone, players should be geographically close to the game server infrastructure hosting their game. For a global player base, choose game server hosts with an international network of data centers.
3) What hardware do you need for your game server?
When considering hosting game servers, reflecting on the optimal infrastructure specifications required for a fast and efficient gaming experience is crucial. Cloud server providers generally offer high-density hardware with lower-speed multi-core CPUs. While this hardware suits everyday business computing tasks, there may be better choices for high-performance gaming.
Leveraging the multi-core CPU is essential to get the most out of your game server hosting package. Theoretically, you can run multiple instances of the game server application on the same hardware or dedicated server. However, be sure to specify enough RAM for each core.
In conclusion, selecting the right game server hosting is a strategic decision that influences the gaming experience for your players. You can make an informed choice by understanding the type of game, the geographical location of your players, and the hardware requirements. A reliable game server hosting partner is not just about infrastructure; it’s about collaborative support in optimizing your gaming environment.