Global cloud gaming leader Antstream Arcade has announced that it has successfully closed an external financing round of $3.5million led by the Atari Group. This latest funding brings Antstream Arcade’s total investment received to over $20million.
With investors including Chinese gaming and social giant Tencent and London-based venture firm Hambro Perks this funding comes at a time when Antstream is enjoying a period of astronomical growth. According to a report by market researcher Newzoo, the global market for cloud gaming will hit 23.7 million paying users and $1.6 billion in revenues by the end of 2021.
Founded in 2013, Antstream Arcade offers players around the opportunity to play and compete in the world’s largest library of iconic games from the arcade era up to the modern day retro indie titles, with over 1200 titles on the platform, including iconic classics like Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Mortal Kombat.
Players can enjoy any title on-demand for free thanks to Antstream’s ad-funded freemium service, with the option of an ad-free premium service available from just $6.99 per month or $39.99 per year. Antstream’s proprietary cloud gaming platform also means that players can enjoy any game they want wherever there is a 4G connection or better, on almost any mobile or tablet device as well as on Mac, PC and Amazon Fire Stick.
Antstream Arcade CEO Steve Cottam said: “Atari is synonymous with the golden era of games that Antstream Arcade was built to bring to gaming audiences worldwide, so to have its support in growing the platform is one of the best endorsements we could possibly hope for. Cloud gaming is the future of the games industry, and this latest funding will enable us to expand our industry leading library of games, but also make them available on more devices and in more countries than ever before. “
How game studios can avoid common network and infrastructure issues
Mathieu Duperré, CEO and Founder of Edgegap
It’s common for video game developers to launch a day-one patch for new releases after their games have gone gold. The growing size of video games means it’s inevitable that some bugs will be missed during the QA period and go unnoticed until the game is in players’ hands.
Some of the most common issues experienced by game developers at launch are related to network and infrastructure, such as the connection issues causing chaos in Overwatch 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, as some players experience issues connecting to matches. And while there’s no way of eliminating lag, latency and disconnects from multiplayer games, developers can minimize the chances of them occurring and the disruption they cause by following a few simple steps.
Plan for the worst, expect the best
For many video game developers, the best-case scenario for the launch of their game – that it’s a huge hit and far more people end up playing it than they expected – can also be the worst-case scenario for infrastructure-related issues. An influx of too many players can lead to severe bottlenecking, resulting in lag and connectivity issues. In a worst-case scenario, servers become overloaded and stop responding to requests, usually leaving players unable to connect to online matchmaking.
Another worst-case scenario is planning for big numbers at launch and building the necessary infrastructure to support this, only for your game to launch and have nowhere near the traffic you were expecting. Not only is this a big problem for your bottom line, but things can get worse if you rush your search for an infrastructure provider and forget to read through the T&Cs properly.
Some infrastructure suppliers will onboard new studios on a fixed contract, not letting them scale back if they’ve overprovisioned their servers. Some infrastructure providers offer a lot of free credits, to begin with, only for those credits to expire after the first few months. Game studios then discover they’re responsible for fronting the cost of network traffic, load balancers, clusters, API calls, and many more products they had yet to consider.
With that in mind, try not to sign up for long-term agreements that don’t offer flexibility for scaling up or down. Your server setup has a lot to gain by being flexible, and your server requirements will likely change in the weeks following launch as you get a better idea of your player base; under-utilized servers are a waste of money and resources.
Test, test, and test again
You haven’t tested your online matchmaking properly if you’ve tested your servers under the strain of 1000 players, but you’re expecting 10,000 or 100,000 at launch. Your load tests are an essential part of planning for the worst-case scenario, and you should test your network under the same strain as if you suddenly experienced a burst in players.
Load testing is important because you’ll inevitably encounter infrastructure issues as your network comes under strain. Still, it’s only by facing those issues that you can identify them and plan for them accordingly once your game launches.
Similarly, you want to test your game in as many different locations as possible because there’s no way of telling where your traffic will be coming from. We’ve had cases where studios released a very popular game overnight in Chile but needed data centers. Thankfully, you can mitigate issues such as these by leveraging edge computing providers to reduce the distance between your players and the point of connection.
Consider the specific infrastructure needs of your game’s genre
Casual games with an optional multiplayer component will have a completely different network requirement to MMORPGs, with thousands of players connected to a centralized world. Similarly, a first-person-shooter with 64-player matchmaking will have a different network requirement than a side-scrolling beat ’em up or fighting game, which often requires custom netcodes due to the fast-paced nature of the combat.
People outside the video game industry assume all video games have similar payloads, but different game genres are as technically different in terms of infrastructure requirements as specific applications.
With that in mind, it’s essential for game studios, especially smaller ones, to regularly communicate with infrastructure partners and ensure they’ve got a thorough understanding of how the multiplayer components of your game will work. A decent infrastructure provider will be able to work with you to not only ensure load testing is carried out correctly but also help diagnose any broader issues.
Too many tools and not enough resources to use them
One thing that large network providers are very good at providing is tools, but these are often complex and require specific knowledge and understanding. It’s worth noting that large game studios have dedicated teams of engineers to manage these tools for AAA games with millions of players.
Smaller studios need to be realistic about the number of players they expect for new game releases and their internal resources to manage network and infrastructure-related issues and queries. You should partner with a provider that can handle all of this, so your studio can focus on making the best game possible. The more automation you can plan into your DevOps methodology, the better!
Takeaways for small game studios
While game studios likely encounter many issues as part of their game development journey, working these three pieces of advice into your DevOps pipeline is a sure way of minimizing infrastructure-related headaches.
Don’t reinvent the wheel – We’ve seen many studios trying to build bespoke systems rather than automate and use what’s already out there. If you can develop your netcode, engine and manage your Kubernetes, that’s great! But is it necessary, or is building these things from scratch just going to create trouble further down the line?
Understand your workflows – Plan for everything, use tech-agnostic vendors to remain flexible, get real-time visibility and logs for your matchmaking traffic, and have a 24/7 support plan for when your game is live. The more potential problems you’re aware of, the better.
Load testing your game – Build tiny tools and scripts to generate as much traffic as you can, breaking your system as often as possible.
BetGames Will Start Accepting Fasttoken (FTN) as a Supported Cryptocurrency
BetConstruct is pleased to announce that BetGames, the leading provider of premium gaming solutions, is planning to add FTN to the list of supported cryptocurrencies.
FTN is the official cryptocurrency of the Fastex ecosystem as well as the adopted cryptocurrency of the leading betting and gaming software provider BetConstruct.
The inclusion of FTN in BetGames’s supported cryptocurrencies will start from January 26th.
To learn more details about FTN, feel free to visit the website www. fasttoken .com.
Game Wave Festival invites everyone to watch the live broadcast of Nordic Game Discovery Contest Grand Finals!
Game Wave Festival announces that it will broadcast Nordic Game Discovery Contest (NGDC) Grand Finals November 28 at 19:00 – EET (18:00). Everyone can join for free on Nordic Game Vimeo channel and Game Wave Festival YouTube channel.
Three days left to the Game Wave Festival and those who are not in the travel mood, can join online sessions as well as have the opportunity for one-on-one meetings. Register with Black Friday 30% off promo code (WHITEFRIDAY) at https://www.gamewave.eu/ and meet 35+ speakers who will share the knowledge on various gaming industry relevant topics.
In addition to that, on-site and online participants will be able to join Panel Discussions, Workshops and Nordic Game Discovery Contest Grand Finals. Right after NGDC Grand Finals kicks off the Game Night – Open Microphone event. Everyone will have a chance to go in front and present a game, service or talk about actual topics! See the full agenda here: https://www.gamewave.eu/agenda
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