Sydney network analytics company Canopus Networks has launched GameScope, which aims to provider ISPs with continuous tracking of all gaming sessions to map game server locations, measure gaming latency in real-time and identify AS paths that minimise game lag. CEO Vijay Sivaraman told CommsDay that the new platform enables ISPs to insert themselves into a value chain that they missed with OTT video streaming.
“The problem this is solving is that network operators do not really understand the frustrations that gamers go through. They’re the most demanding on the network in the sense that it's not just about bandwidth, it's often about latency and network operators just don't have that visibility. So when a gamer complains it causes bad reviews, frustration, support calls, reputational damage, all that kind of stuff,” he explained.
“So where GameScope comes in is we keep track of the top hundred games on the charts, we build the signatures and roll them out. And using this data tracking of all the games, we actually create a map of where the gaming servers are. This gives operators the data they need to optimise their routes, to measure the effectiveness of games accelerators in CDNs and so on.”
GameScope has already been deployed in multiple networks in NSW, collecting and analysing gameplay data of more than 100,000 users.
This has already shown that Call of Duty and Fortnite are played on servers spread across many cities in the US, along with a few in Europe, Middle East, and South America. Genshin Impact is predominantly played on servers in Japan, and Valorant on servers in Hong Kong.
“While 70% of gameplay is on Australian servers with latency below 100ms, some games like Genshin Impact and Valorant have higher latencies in the 100-200ms range due to servers largely being located in Japan, Hong Kong, and the US. A few sessions of various titles get mapped to servers in the Ukraine, Netherlands, France, and other countries with 300ms+ latencies that can make the games unplayable. Our data corroborates that users are four times more likely to abandon games mapped to international servers than local ones,” Sivaraman said.
“At least 20% of houses are fairly regular gamers. They are doing multiplayer online games on a reasonably regular basis. But gaming is three times as big as the streaming industry. The reality is that streaming is a $US60bn industry that is gaming was a $180bn industry last year. Also gamers are not so bandwidth sensitive, right? Doubling their bandwidth isn’t so important, but they’re extremely latency sensitive and they’re vocal.” Sivaraman says that with gaming being a stepping stone to emerging Metaverse platforms, ISPs have a window of opportunity to insert themselves in the value chain.
“The operators lost out in streaming. They got no value, they just ended up carrying the traffic and all the value flow flows to over the top. In gaming, we are at a point in time where there is a window of opportunity for operators to insert themselves into the value chain.”
Sivaraman acknowledged that there is synergy between GameScope and the presence of Pentanet, which focuses on gaming, as a shareholder. “But there's actually a bigger story in the sense that we believe that operators can sell the experience more than speed,” he said.
Grahame Lynch - CommsDay
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