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Tackling latency in next-gen gaming

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Mathieu Duperré, CEO at Edgegap

Anyone that’s played a video game online has almost certainly experienced some kind of lag and connectivity issues. Despite huge infrastructure advances in the last few decades, latency remains a constant thorn in the side of gamers and detracts from the real-time experience that’s expected today.

Delivering a consistent experience to gamers playing on different devices with varying connection speeds – many of which are separated by thousands of miles – is a complex challenge. Massively popular online games like Roblox and Fortnite are just two of the many games which have benefited from years of investment into infrastructure in order to support millions of concurrent players. As the below chart from SuperJoost shows, multiplayer and online gaming is becoming the preferred way to play games amongst the most active gaming demographic, with all the technical challenges that this creates.

Games which can be played seamlessly across mobile, PC and console (so-called cross-play games) are also pushing the limits of what current internet infrastructure can deliver. Add in a new generation of streaming cloud gaming services like Stadia, Blacknut Games and Amazon’s Luna – plus Microsoft’s Game Pass and Sony’s revamped PlayStation Plus service, and you can see how the promise of console-quality performance over a broadband connection risks overloading networks that were never designed for this level of gaming.

So how can game companies, telcos and ISPs deliver on the performance promises being made to gamers? That’s where edge computing comes in.

 

Lag, latency and the Edge

When talking about latency it’s important to make it clear exactly what we mean. Latency refers to the amount of time it takes for game data to travel from one point to another. From the gamer’s perspective, it’s the delay between their command and seeing it happen in-game. How much latency a gamer experiences is dependent on the physical distance the data must cross through the multiple networks, routers and cables before it reaches its destination.

To use an extreme example, NASA’s Voyager 1 has made it about 14.5 billion miles from our planet so far, and it takes about 19 hours for its radio waves to reach us. Here on Earth, your latency is (hopefully) measured in milliseconds rather than hours; and gamers need around 30ms for the most optimal performance. Anywhere above 100ms can lead to noticeable lag and a frustrating experience.

This is where Edge computing comes in. As the name implies, Edge computing brings computation and data storage closer to the sources of data, placing it on the edge of the network where the performance gain is the greatest. As you’d expect, reducing unnecessary travel drastically speeds up the process providing an almost lag-free experience.

 

More players equals more chance for latency to be a problem

In the early days of gaming, local, couch play was part and parcel of the gaming experience. Today, a game where hundreds or even thousands of players are in the same session is nothing out of the ordinary, and there are Battle Royale games now, a whole genre of games where a hundred or more players are whittled down to a single winner.

The sheer scale of some online games dwarfs many of the most popular streaming services. Whilst Netflix remains the most successful streaming video site with 222 million subscribers, kids game Roblox has 230 million active accounts and Fortnite has over 350 million registered players. So if we assume these games reflect a growing trend, the demand on server networks is only going to increase, and gaming companies will have to look for more innovative solutions to continue meeting demand.

 

Cross-Platform

The ability for gamers on different devices and platforms to play and compete together is becoming an increasingly common feature of AAA multiplayer games like Apex Legends, Fornite and Call of Duty. EA Sports recently confirmed that FIFA 23 will be joining other heavy hitters in exploring cross-platform play. Considering the large amount of games on the market, and the various game modes for each game, studios are looking at crossplay to increase the amount of players who can play together. One of the main driver is to lower matchmaking time and prevent players from having to wait hours before opponents are ready to play with them.

From a latency perspective, different infrastructure across platforms means lag and downtime are far more likely. When it comes to cross-play, studios can’t use P2P (peer-to-peer) since console vendors don’t support direct communication (i.e. an Xbox can’t communicate directly with a playstation). On top of that, P2P may be limited by player’s home network (restrictive natting for example). That’s why studios typically use relays in a handful of centralised locations. Relays are seen as cheaper than authoritative server. They although have large flaws like making it harder for studios to prevent cheating, which is becoming more and more important with Web3 & NFT. This causes  higherlatency since traffic needs to travel longer distances between players. For example, when Apex Legends went cross-platform, players were inundated with frame rate drops, lags and glitches.

Edge computing allows studios to deploy cross-play games as close as possible to their players, significantly reducing latency. Which can negate some of the delay issues around differing platforms.

 

VR and the Metaverse

Despite hitting shelves in 2016, VR is only now slowly making its way into mainstream gaming. Advances in technology have gradually improved the user experience, while also bringing the price of hardware down and closer to the mass market – not to mention the metaverse bringing renewed attention to the tech. But latency issues still present a serious hurdle to wider adoption unless it’s addressed.

Latency impacts the player experience far more in VR than in traditional gaming as it completely disrupts the intended immersive experience. A 2020 research paper found latency of over 30-35ms in VR, had a significant impact on players’ enjoyment and immersion, which was far lower than acceptable margins on a controller.  But when it comes to the metaverse, achieving this might not be enough. Latency between headset and player has to be sub 5ms to prevent motion sickness.

In a recent blog, Meta’s VP, Dan Rabinovitsj, explained that cloud-based video games require a latency of around 75–150ms, while some AAA video games with high graphical demand require sub 35ms. Comparatively, Rabinovitsj suggests metaverse applications would need to reduce latency to low double or even single digits.

For better or worse, we’ve seen glimpses of what the metaverse has to offer already. Decentraland’s metaverse fashion week gave major brands like Dolce & Gabbana an opportunity to showcase virtual versions of their products. But attending journalists reported that the event was fraught with lag and glitches.

Gamers are a fickle bunch, so early adopters will simply move back to other games and platforms if they have poor initial experiences. Google’s Stadia promised to revolutionise gaming, but its fate was sealed at launch as the platform simply couldn’t compete with its competitors’ latency. Today, Google has ‘deprioritised’ the platform in favour of other projects.

If the metaverse goes to plan, it should encompass a lot more than traditional gaming experiences. But if it’s going to live up to players’ lofty expectations, akin to Ready Player One, more thought needs to be given to scalable and optimised infrastructure.

 

Unlocking next-gen gaming

The pace at which modern gaming is evolving is astounding, making the components discussed here work lag-free and as players expect will be a huge undertaking, and even more so when developers attempt to bring them all together in the metaverse.

The issue of latency may be less headline-grabbing than virtual fashion shows, NFTs and Mark Zuckerberg’s slightly unsettling promotional video, but the ability to seamlessly stitch all of these elements together will be critical in making the metaverse live up to expectations, and therefore, to its success.

 

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“Cheer for those who cheer for us”: FAVBET calls on Ukrainian football fans to support Ukraine’s allies at the 2022 World Cup

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November 20 marked the kickoff of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. An event long anticipated by football fans and quite unique in several respects. This year, for the first time ever, the World Cup takes place in the Middle East, in winter, and… against the backdrop of the largest military confrontation in Europe since World War II.

While the stands of Qatari stadiums explode with applause, Ukrainian fans hear explosions in the streets of their cities, and the Ukrainian army bravely resists unprovoked Russian aggression on the several thousand kilometers of frontlines.

However, even in such circumstances, FAVBET and Kyiv-based creative agency Taktika found a way to engage Ukrainian fans and remind the world that football is not only about fighting, but also about unity and support that goes beyond the borders.

“The world will not see our team on Qatar’s football pitches, but for almost a year it has been watching our fight on a pitch of a different kind – the battlefield. And not only watching, but tirelessly supporting. England, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, the USA, France and many other countries have been supplying and training the Ukrainian military, providing shelter to our citizens and defending our interests on the diplomatic front. We decided that the World Cup is a great opportunity to say thank you to Ukraine’s allies for this unwavering support,” says FAVBET’s creative copywriter Mykola Bezkrovnyi.

The campaign is based on short videos shot on the streets of Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv. The centerpiece of the story are the Ukrainian fans with vintage scarves, which, many years ago, they waved during the matches of Ukraine’s team against our current allies. “We once held these scarves because we fiercely wanted to defeat you. We hold them now because we sincerely want you to win. Just like you want us to win too,” says the voiceover of the campaign’s manifesto.

This campaign was Favbet’s idea, and our task was to find the best form and style for it. We realized that we once used to be opponents on the football pitch with almost all of our current allies. Now, the scarves from these matches are turning from symbols of our rivalry into those of unity. Many fans still have them at home as a memory. We decided to use thescarves as a powerful visual symbol and built a campaign around them,” says Roman Gurbanov, Taktika co-founder and creative director.

In addition to the manifesto, the campaign also includes videos dedicated to supporting particular Ukrainian allies like Poland and England. The videos were shot by Ukraine-based studio Digital Religion known for their advertising work for the world’s leading brands like Samsung, Visa, Pepsi, Uber, and others. Check out the videos on FAVBET’s YouTube:

Support those who support us

FAVBET’s new campaign is not only a token of gratitude to the allies, but also a reminder that the war, unlike a football match, does not end with the referee’s whistle. While the World Cup will wrap up in a few weeks, Ukraine will continue its fight against the aggressor that seeks to destroy Ukrainian identity and its need for support will remain as high as ever. That is why FAVBET Foundation is now accepting international donations so that football fans from all over the world can also contribute to Ukraine’s victory. Make your donation on the Foundation’s official page

As an international company with Ukrainian roots, FAVBET has been supporting Ukraine since the first days of Russia’s full-scale invasion, implementing numerous humanitarian initiatives and providing the Ukrainian military with the necessary equipment. Today, 95% of FAVBET Foundation’s projects are focused on helping the country’s citizens and the army, i. e. evacuating residents of frontline cities, purchasing ambulances and vehicles for the needs of the Armed Forces, as well as supplying high-tech communications equipment and drones.

Credentials

FAVBET

Head of Brand – Alexander Tarasov

Brand Manager – Anna Lytvynchuk

Marketing Project Manager – Yanina Baranetska

Creative Producer – Oleksii Marakhovskyi

Digital Content Producer – Iryna Kondratyeva

Creative Lead – Anatoly Simachynskyi

Creative Copywriter – Mykola Bezkrovnyi

Digital Religion

Director – Gleb Feldman

Taktika

Creative Director – Roman Gurbanov

Art Director – Illia Pochkun

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World Esports Championships Finals Begin with Spectacular Opening Ceremony

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IESF welcomes World Esports Family to Bali for the largest edition of its flagship event

The International Esports Federation (IESF) officially opened the 14th World Esports Championships Finals today in Bali, Indonesia. The Opening Ceremony kicked off IESF’s historic WE Championships with an athlete parade, special performances, and speeches from IESF President Vlad Marinescu and Esports Federation of Indonesia (PBESI) President Budi Gunawan at the Merusaka Nusa Dua Hotel. 

The ceremony welcomed athletes, referees, fans, event organizers, government officials, and others from the World Esports Family. The ceremony began with the Indonesia Raya, the national anthem of Indonesia, and the official PBESI march. IESF then did an official raising of its flag to mark the start of the event. Inspired by Indonesian and Balinese culture, the ceremony featured traditional dances as well as extraordinary performances by Indonesian artists Alffy Rev, Wizzy, and Ecko.

The WE Championships remain the sole international esports competition where athletes compete to represent their countries. Over 600 players representing 106 countries will compete across six games: CS:GO, Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, eFootball ™  2023, Tekken 7, and PUBG Mobile, making this the largest and most geographically diverse edition of the event since its inception in 2008 with a record prize pool of $500,000. 

An athlete representative from each country joined in the athlete parade of the Opening Ceremony to carry their country’s flag to celebrate the event’s largest and most inclusive edition. Additionally, IESF showcased its commitment to responsible gaming and providing referees with the highest level of certification to ensure fair and safe competition. This year’s referees took an oath on stage during the Opening Ceremony, alongside an athlete representative, to safeguard responsible gaming. 

IESF President Vlad Marinescu spoke at the ceremony and said: “Welcome to Bali for the 2022 World Esports Championships Finals. We are elated to see a historic 106 countries, more than double from last year’s edition, competing in the 14th edition of this event right here in the Land of Gods.  All of you here in this beautiful country and those watching are proof and reflection of the growth and progress of the World Esports Family.”

In his speech, PBESI President Budi Gunawan said: “The Indonesia Esports Summit and the 14th IESF World Esports Championships, wil declare our commitment to set new standards for organizing world class esports event. We sincerely hope that the 14th IESF World Esports Championships Bali 2022 will be a new momentum for all these great talents from around the world to build friendship and peace” 

The competition will conclude with the Closing Ceremony and a special announcement on December 11, where one nation will be crowned the World Esports champion. 

The Finals will be live-streamed across seven IESF Twitch channels, one dedicated for each game. The full lineup of competing nations and all other information related to WEC can be found on the official website

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SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator Announced New Campaign with Spinago

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Online jackpot campaigns are becoming extremely popular in the iGaming community as a powerful tool to attract and retain players and improve overall brand performance. This trend is all the more reinforced by the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator’s new cooperation with Spinago, as the two partners launch a worldwide jackpot campaign.

Spinago has been operating under a Curacao license since 2020, managing a varied game and sports betting portfolio. The operator accepts deposits in fiat and cryptocurrencies and provides 24/7 player support.  

In partnership with the Jackpot Aggregator, Spinago has launched its first jackpot campaign with three independent levels: Standart, Mega, and Grand. Each level offers unique progressive money prizes, with a maximum reward of 80,000 AUD to a lucky player. The jackpot campaign has no wager. Players might bet in slots and live games with a minimum bet of 1.5 AUD. There are no restrictions on the number of bets, same as there are no limits on raffled hits. 

Besides setting up the promotional campaign, the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator provides end-to-end support to ensure a smooth and seamless user experience. 

Reflecting on the collaboration, the Spinago team notes: “We appreciate working with the software provider who offers not only a flexibly configurable product but also reliable support. The team behind the Jackpot Aggregator managed to quickly set up the campaign and settle all the details with us, taking into account our goals and requirements.”

Aliaskei Douhin, Head of SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator, shares his thoughts about the partnership: “We are proud to see an increasing number of iGaming operators who elect to use our product as a driver of growth and scaling. The Jackpot Aggregator team is grateful to Spinago for the trust and opportunity to show how this jackpot campaign will attract new players and reactivate existing ones.”

The SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator offers a unique, multi-purpose Jackpot as a Service (JaaS) business model to strengthen brand performance and boost player acquisition and retention. 

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