Technology has had a significant impact all over the world, driving progress and innovation in nearly every industry known to man, and gaming is no exception to this revolution. Over the years, gaming as a source of entertainment has evolved tremendously, especially with the introduction of the internet, forming what people now enjoy as online gaming. From baby games to adult games, casual games and shooter games, multiple online gaming genres have arised to attract the attention of every demographic.
A recent study by Limelight Networks titled, “The State of Online Gaming – 2019”, revealed that mobile phones are the most commonly used devices for playing video games, with casual single-player games such as Candy Crush, Angry Birds, and Spider Solitaire being the most played. This could be attributed to the availability of a diverse range of casual single-player games that are easily downloadable, and the accessibility and ease of use that mobile gaming provides anytime, anywhere. It was also noted that a younger set of gamers aged 18-25 years old are more likely to consider themselves expert gamers than older ones, and prefer to play First-Person Shooter games such as Overwatch and Destiny 2 and Battle Royale games including Fortnite.
The study also found that nearly two-thirds of gamers (63.6 percent) prefer to acquire video games by downloading rather than purchasing physical copies, renting, or trading them. However, 85 percent are frustrated by the download process, with slow download speeds as the primary complaint. When playing games, fast performance is the most important consideration.
Notably, the study also revealed that video game streaming sites such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming are becoming increasingly popular especially among young gamers aged 18-25 who now spend 77 percent more time watching online gaming than traditional sports on television, and gamers 26-35 spending nearly the same amount of time watching online gaming as broadcast sports.
The report, which is part of a series of consumer surveys about online habits and opinions, is based on responses from 4,500 consumers in nine nations all over the world, aged 18 and older who play video games at least once a week.
Limelight Networks is a premier content delivery network (CDN) service provider which enables organizations and businesses to deliver faster websites, more responsive applications, the highest quality video, and consistent game and software downloads to any device.
Jaheer Abas, Senior Director, SEA & India at Limelight Networks, says that the implementation of cutting edge technologies has led to the rapid growth of the online gaming industry. “Smart devices, connectivity, and digital technologies are bringing new experiences, providing marketers and gaming platforms an opportunity to engage their respective markets more effectively,” he shares.
Live streaming, for one, is booming all over the world, and this is true for online gaming as well. Abas notes that, while gaming operators seek to adopt live streaming for time-critical content for gameplay, one of the challenges is the issue of latency. “Essential to the online gaming experience today is the delivery of content at ultra-low latency so players can experience the game in near real-time on any device. Latency is the time between when the camera captures the video until it is played back on another device. Any delays in streaming will likely have a major impact on player satisfaction,” he explains.
Developers and gaming platforms are urged to look to new technologies to address issues on performance. To address the latency issue, gaming operators need a streaming solution that is able to deliver predictable and consistent low latencies to players in order for them to see the action in near real-time on virtually any device, and from anywhere in the world.
The industry is looking at a solution called Web Real-time Communication (WebRTC), an open framework that enables scalable, real-time delivery of on-demand content for web browsers and mobile applications. Limelight Networks offers a WebRTC-based low-latency live video streaming solution called Limelight Realtime Streaming, which can deliver live broadcast-quality video with less than one second of latency. “More than creating engaging content, it is important for gaming platforms to deliver a seamless gaming experience. For many dedicated players, the online gaming experience is more than just a game. Many players have built global communities, forged new friendships and brought the games to life. To this group of players, the gaming experience is of utmost importance. As such, the onus is on gaming operators to provide the best gaming experiences to millions of players globally by ensuring the delivery of low latency streams,” emphasizes Abbas.