Over the last two years, the demand for global gaming hosting required unprecedented levels of scalability and continues to rise. According to Newzoo, the number of gamers worldwide between 2021-2023 is forecasted to increase from 2.81 to 3.07 billion.[i]
i3D.net — a Ubisoft Company is a leading provider of application hosting and infrastructure services, operating a global low-latency network with thousands of servers spread over more than 38 points of presence (PoPs) on six continents. i3D.net designed its ONE Platform for the unique scalability requirements of the gaming industry. The company provides the best possible experience to its players. To gain that proximity to users, i3D.net moved its global gaming platform to Platform Equinix®—integrating into more than 38 Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers across the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe. i3D.net was acquired by gaming giant Ubisoft in 2019. Already a rapidly growing hosting leader in the virtual gaming space, i3D.net serves both Ubisoft customers and other industry-leading gaming publishers.
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Network optimization delivers the winning latency to gamers
Over the past years, i3D.net saw its gaming business grow exponentially. The company knows what it takes for a network to withstand heavy user demands and is dedicated to providing the lowest latency possible to users around the world. The i3D.net worldwide network was built specifically to take the route that is closest to its end users to enhance the gaming experience. According to Rick Sloot, Chief Operating Officer at i3D.net, “We always try to have the best experience for our users’ gaming platform, no matter where they are.”
As i3D.net was looking to expand worldwide, it discovered Equinix’s global platform in the Netherlands and set up a core location there and deployed an edge IBX expansion site in Australia and Tokyo. The company needed high-speed connectivity to the Equinix data centers to sync games or perform deployment tests between developer offices and the data center. Equinix gave i3D.net the processing power and network speed to perform game development builds quickly using a point-to-point approach.
i3D.net leverages an optimized long-haul network backbone in addition to Equinix Fiber Connect to deploy dark fiber links between local customers, partners and service providers in multiple Equinix IBX data centers. Fiber Connect gives i3D.net highly reliable, low-latency interconnection and seamless system integration and data exchange.
The company also harnesses Equinix Internet Exchange, the largest global peering solution across more than 35 markets. It provides cost-effective, scalable, low-latency IP peering using a mix of providers on Platform Equinix. Equinix’s vendor-neutrality enables i3D.net to quickly and easily access a dense ecosystem of internet and network service providers (NSPs) and connect them together via Equinix Internet Exchange. i3D.net is also using Equinix Fabric™ to connect customers with AWS, Google Cloud and NSPs on the Ubisoft infrastructure.
Our network is one of the most important pillars of our company. Having healthy interconnection services that connect the i3D.net network with Platform Equinix means we can deliver the lowest latency to our end users, removing the frustration of in-game lag. Equinix’s interconnection services are extremely reliable and powerful, allowing us to grow anywhere in the world.”- Rick Sloot, Chief Operating Officer, i3D.net
Fast time to market and remote support are critical to staying ahead of the game
To meet its global goals of delivering the best possible gaming experience to users, i3D.net needed to expand worldwide quickly. As soon as the company signed a new site with Equinix, it would be up and running in just a few weeks. Because of the COVID-19 facility lockdowns, the company leveraged Equinix Smart Hands™, 7 x 24, on-site, data center operational support service to build its digital infrastructure. i3D.net experienced tremendous growth during this time. With Smart Hands assistance, the company was able to keep up with this incredible pace while its staff was unable to travel. Equinix Smart Hands experts enabled the company to complete two deployments of its platform within IBX facilities in a week. Contrast that with a single global deployment during the same time without Smart Hands. That represents a 50% reduction in time to market.
A blueprint for gaming growth and success
The company is considering using Equinix Metal™ on-demand, interconnected bare metal-as-a-service (BMaaS) to quickly scale up its ONE Platform when there is extreme and/or unexpected usage growth in different regions. In addition, game developers are starting to offload processes from the game system to the cloud to download certain aspects of the game. More and more gaming customers are looking at BMaaS for their game processing, then use cloud bursting for additional power.
i3D.net is evaluating these new gaming trends as greenfield opportunities to host on its platform, as well as non-gaming verticals such as voice over IP. On Platform Equinix, the company can expand its capabilities quickly to capture these new markets given the availability of higher network speeds, more IBX sites close to users, on-ramps to clouds via Equinix Fabric and greater processing power with Equinix Metal.
Platform Equinix gives i3D.net the global predictability, resiliency, standardization, scalability and security for what it customers demand today and in the future. Equinix’s commitment to using 100% clean and renewable energy is also in line with Ubisoft sustainability goals of reducing its carbon footprint.
Equinix understands the requirements of our gaming business. Our default digital infrastructure blueprint fits seamlessly with Equinix. The consistency in our standards and the predictability that Equinix provides, helps us easily scale our network across the globe.”- Maurice Klapwijk, Marketing Specialist, i3D.net
[i] Finances Online, “Number of Gamers Worldwide 2021/2022: Demographics, Statistics, and Predictions,” 2020.