Edge Computing needs game-centric solutions

We were invited to present at Global Edge Congress in Austin Texas this week. Our CEO talked about how Edgegap is working with gaming studios to leverage edge computing infrastructures and provide unique services with a unique goal in mind: improve player’s experience.

We got to cover a few topics, including cloud gaming and why lag will not go away. Edgegap is featured in the congress magazine, thanks for BroadGroup for doing such and setting up this great event.

Edgegap demonstrated how it reduces lag by 58% with Ubisoft

Montreal, Sept. 18th 2019 – Edgegap successfully executed a proof of concept with Ubisoft to demonstrate how Edgegap solution can lower latency by 58% in gaming. By using traffic from 600,000 transactions and comparing the results with Ubisoft current architecture, Edgegap demonstrated an average latency reduction from 116 milliseconds to a drastic 48 milliseconds. On top of that, 78% of the transactions had a latency below 50 milliseconds, compared to only 14% without Edgegap solution.

Edge Computing to reduce lag

Edge computing is a new type of infrastructure where smaller data centers are deployed in multiple locations, closer from users, instead of centralizing large data centers. This allow for lower latency by reducing the distance but bring a new set of challenges by dealing with multiple locations. Edgegap provides a solution to handle those infrastructures. Ubisoft shared data from 600,000 transactions for one of their AAA games, Far Cry 5. Using its patented technology, Edgegap utilized its platform in parallel to compare the results between Ubisoft current architecture and Edgegap, for the same group of players. Using edge computing, Edgegap dynamic orchestrator was able to geo-locate server instances based on telemetry and live measurements, bringing servers closer from each group of player. This resulted in an improved players’ experience by lowering latency, reducing jitter and packet drop. This dynamic approach would not have been possible without Edgegap dynamic orchestrator.

Eliminate the “long tail”

While it is impossible to eliminate lag, Edgegap can drastically reduce its effect. The goal is to improve players’ experience as much as possible by leveraging dynamic infrastructures. By using Edgegap unique solution, we are able to eliminate the “long tail”, those players who typically get an average latency above an acceptable threshold, considered to be around 80-100 milliseconds for casual gamers. Edgegap is able to increase the amount of people with a latency below 50ms, providing an equivalent experience to everyone in the game.

You can get the full report here:  http://www.edgegap.com/Report-Ubisoft.pdf

Reach out to info@edgegap.com to find out more about how we can help you reduce lag in your game.

About Edgegap

Edgegap is a software startup based in Montreal, Canada, which specialized in software development for edge and cloud computing.  To find out more about Edgegap and Arbitrium, visit http://www.edgegap.com

Proof of Concept with Ubisoft

We have been working with the well-known gaming studio Ubisoft, here in Montreal, on measuring by how much our solution can improve player’s experience. After a few months of work, the results are finally in, and they are beyond expectations!

We were able to reduce the average round trip time by 58%. We improved player’s experience 95% of the time. We’ve increased the percentage of players within the group of “great latency” by a wide margin. This means that without Edgegap’s solution, only 14% of the player had below 50ms, while Edgegap would have allowed 78% of them to get under this threshold.

Huge thanks to the team at Ubisoft for helping us and providing the right feedback throughout the process!

The full report can be found here:

http://www.edgegap.com/Report-Ubisoft.pdf



Upcoming shows & live demos!

We are thrilled to announce that Hewlett Packard Enterprise is planning to demo our software, Arbitrium, integrated with HPE Service Director during the following events! Check with us, service providers may be able to get a live demo on how they can monetize their infrastructures through edge computing use cases! Let us know if you are planning to attend, we will be glad to book a private session!

America

tmforum, Digital Transformation North America, Dallas, Sept. 23rd-27th 2019

Europe

SDN NFV World Congress, The Hague, Netherlands, Oct. 14th-17th 2019

Asia

tmforum, Digital Transformation Asia, Nov. 12th-14th 2019

When Cloud take a beating!

Let’s make it simple: we are bringing the deployment of game instances and players experience to a whole new level by reducing the average latency per match by 33% and improving stability all over the network by a whooping 77%. How did we achieve this?  Dynamic decision making & Edge computing my friends!

Imagine you and your friend want to play a multiplayer online game but there is a problem, your friend lives in San Francisco and you in Toronto… He tells you: “Lets go on West Coast server!” and now he is having a lot of fun with his 30ms latency… but you don’t because you lag, and you are having a hard time to only move in the game… You tell your friend “Sorry, I can’t play, it lags too much, let’s move to the Eastern Server!” … and I let you guess what happens next. Same can happen in a competitive context where you decide to play a ranked game of your favorite title and by any luck your opponent resides right beside the server because he lives in one of the main city and you, peasant, live in a quiet nice town far away. Let me tell you what’s going to happen, you will turn the corner of a wall and : *DEAD*… you will ear steps sounds behind you but by the time you try to react : *DEAD*, you will get angry, the other guy will tell you that you are a “noob”, you will rage quit and stop spending time and money on this “stupid” game. In fact, this was not your fault, simply because he had 25ms of latency and you were around 65ms…

You see this is one of the use cases that Cloud computing can’t resolve without spending billions of dollars to build new infrastructures everywhere in the world… but, oh wait! Those infrastructures already exist since service providers, private clouds and other Edge infrastructures are already in place. Now imagine that you can use every single one of those edge sites to deploy in a blink of an eye your server to play with your friend right in the best spot for both of you. You might not have a 30ms latency for both since no one can bend law of physics by accelerating the speed of light, but at least both of you will be able to enjoy a great game with minimal impact coming from the network, and equivalent outcome making it fair for everyone. 

But let me guess, you want proof that what I say is true? Using our decision-making software, we successfully managed to gather enough data from every request made in our system to show the improvements you get by leveraging game instances directly to the Edge. Using real-time telemetry from 1000 players connected in 100 matches, we were able to measure and demonstrate by how much and where we can improve your player’s experience.

You can see below the graph of the standard distribution we get from our data:

Coincidence? I think not! Those are facts and confirm what Edge computing can bring to your players: satisfaction and happiness![1] Speaking of which, we calculate the “happiness” of a user by comparing latency, jitter, packet drop and environment context during a request to our system. Click here to see a full report of our case study with 1000 players showing by how much we can improve their experiences:

https://www.edgegap.com/Edgegap-case-study-how-edge-reduce-lag.pdf


[1] Psssst… That means more money for you!

Are gaming studios listening to gamers?

I’ve been meeting with many studios/distributors/console manufacturers in the last year, and getting them to admit that latency was a serious problem has always been a challenge. I’ve always wondered whether it was because they really believed lag was not a problem, or if they just refused to see it due to the fact that they have no control over it.

This is quite challenging for someone like me who’s trying to solve an issue for a market which seems to say they don’t need such a solution. But still…
Google the latest #1 game, or browse your favorite forum about gaming and you will find many, many players complaining about that. A single post in a deep dark forum may not be catastrophic for a AAA studio, but now even streamers are quite vocal about the poor player experience. The hype of the moment, Apex legends, was violently slapped by one of the top streamers, Shroud, during a session where over 100k viewers were watching him play. Keep in mind that those sessions are recorded, and this particular one had been watched over 400k times last time I checked.

For non-gamers out there, a lot of multiplayer games today work as follow: everybody starts on the same level, for every match. Everybody has an equal chance of winning as there’s no bonus to have initially (no stronger weapons, faster cars, more health, etc.) Better players are ranked and matched together before each match, but the mechanics within the game always remain the same. Now you see why latency can be so critical in giving you an edge against others. Few weeks ago, I was playing a game from Microsoft, Sea of Thieves, with friends based in the US. This game’s mechanic is as described above; everybody starts on the same level. But probably due to the fact that I was in Canada and my friends in the US, my server was located far from me. I had latency over 200ms. Fighting others was much harder because of this, ruining the fun I had. So long for the public cloud solving this problem.

So, why are gaming studios not seeing lag as their priority number one?
I believe the reason lies below. A hosting company did a survey with over 200 gamers and developers during the last GDC 2019. The answer is shown here in the first 2 bars; Developers believe that gameplay and mechanic is more important than lower latency, and players see low latency as more important than gameplay. For studios, it’s all about the game mechanics.

With the large offering of games on the market, gamers are switching quickly and for studio not to address their customers main concern can only lead to loss of revenues. You will not see any PR about this in the news, but ask any net code developer or network engineer at those studios and they will tell you.
With Cloud gaming starting to get traction (hype-wise…) this problem will be amplified by 3 to 4 times. I made a post on our company’s blog a few weeks about lag in cloud gaming. This lag we see today in video games is the tip of the iceberg, and it is not even the same as the one we saw at Stadia’s booth during the last GDC. Those lags will all add up, and guess what, gamers will not like that. Any fast pace multiplayer games will face serious problems in this kind of environment.

Gamers are buying WIRED mouse and keyboard. Do you know why? They want to avoid latency between their devices and their PC. This market is filled with examples like that, so go ahead and tell them that latency is not a huge deal.
Using edge computing to distribute gaming servers is key in solving this problem. Latency is a distance problem, getting closer is the answer. You may tie this with other things like guaranteed path through vpn (hello haste!), better net code in the game “guessing” what players will do, higher QoS in the network, shorter access time (hell-o 5G…), and such. Those are all good options, but there is no single silver bullet. Using all of those solutions together will give gamers the best possible player experience.

We at Edgegap can help studios by getting gaming instances closer from players. Reach out to get a live demo where we’ll show you how we can lower latency in your game (and how much I’m a bad player!).

Source: https://www.inap.com/blog/top-reason-gamers-quit-playing-online-multiplayer-game/