The pace of global growth in online gaming, real-money gaming and mobile sports betting continues to rise exponentially. According to an article in FinancesOnline, the number of gamers worldwide is forecasted to increase from 2.81 to 3.07 billion between 2021-2023. At the same time, gamer expectations for a seamless, high-performance experience from one device to another are increasing as well.
A new Equinix white paper highlights the challenges online gaming companies must overcome to take advantage of this fast-growing market and meet the unprecedented levels of scalability and performance required to compete. Launching games faster to the right markets with less risk is critical; to do this, gaming companies must deploy modern distributed infrastructure at the digital core and edge to support high performance, fast connectivity, and global expansion. Engaging with upstream and downstream business partners in a digital ecosystem will provide the services and support required to produce and distribute high-quality games to market efficiently.
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Online gaming companies face challenges and opportunities
It seems that with any business that has a significant upside, there are no lack of barriers to success. Digital leaders that have implemented digital-first strategies are prepared to pivot as necessary. Let’s look at what challenges businesses must overcome to capitalize on the explosive growth of the online gaming industry.
Delivering the best possible gaming experiences at scale
Gamers demand high performance without interruption and continuous advances with new products and services. Whether a company has thousands or millions of monthly subscribers, its reputation can easily be tarnished with a single occurrence of interrupted gaming. Transitioning from conventional infrastructure to a hybrid digital infrastructure model with physical and virtual environments and reliable virtual network connectivity provides the agility gaming companies require to scale up or down on demand.
Protecting customer data and meeting data residency requirements
Individual municipalities, states, provinces and countries each have their own stringent requirements and regulations for data management and storage. For example, real-money gaming customers must be physically located where the bet is taking place. Also, many governments require that these companies comply with audits to confirm the existence of physical IT environments to track these wagers. Positioning physical infrastructure within the regulated area, to collect and store customer and transaction data helps online gaming companies meet these localized data management and storage regulations.
Legacy infrastructure in on-premises data centers constrains growth and connectivity
Companies may be quick to embrace new technologies, but without a digital-first strategy, other priorities may delay implementations and migration away from legacy infrastructures. In turn, this could limit the ability to scale when a game is wildly successful, and hinder expansion into new markets. Deploying digital infrastructure with a combination of physical and virtual environments and reliable connectivity can help solve this challenge.
“Born in the cloud” gaming companies need physical infrastructure
Cloud-native companies have used virtual infrastructure to develop, deploy and run their games for competitive advantage with quicker time to market, ease of scaling, fewer IT resources and a pay as you go model. However, as their businesses expand further out from their infrastructure deployments, lack of proximity is negatively impacting the gaming experience for some customers. To close the distance, cloud-native companies can deploy physical infrastructure in parallel with a fully managed on-premises cloud computing service and leverage virtual network connectivity and Bare Metal as a Service for single-tenant compute and storage on demand–all inside a colocation facility.
Making strategic use of the digital core, ecosystems and edge
Digital leaders across multiple industries, including online gaming, have gained competitive advantage by following three fundamental patterns with their digital-first strategies:
- Interconnect the digital core by distributing core infrastructure into carrier-neutral colocation facilities worldwide with a large cloud, network and IT presence. This helps seamlessly integrate workloads and networking for significant performance gains. Taking this approach helps online gaming companies launch new products and services to market faster and with lower risk.
- Integrate with digital ecosystems to identify new marketplaces, leverage APIs and add industry-specific services from thousands of partners. Taking this approach helps online gaming companies connect directly with new upstream and downstream partners to accelerate the development and distribution of new products and services.
- Interact at the digital edge to tap into platform and partner capabilities to deliver secure differentiated experiences globally and gain real-time intelligence in proximity to where business happens. Taking this approach helps gaming companies operate in proximity to population centers everywhere by peering directly with internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile carriers, reducing the number of hops to the end user as much as possible—effectively, utilizing the internet as the last mile.
Data in the Global Interconnection Index (GXI) Volume 5 reveals how the most successful leaders—regardless of industry—have built a distributed core for their digital business, integrated the highest-value ecosystems and interacted at the digital edge.
Leveraging Equinix and AWS to get closer to gaming customers
Together, Equinix and Amazon Web Services (AWS) help online gaming companies use distributed digital infrastructure to go to market faster and deliver an exceptional gaming experience, while also meeting customer data protection requirements and data residency regulations.
AWS Outposts allows customers to use the same AWS infrastructure, services, APIs and tools as they would in the AWS Regions, while reducing the time, resources, operational risks, and maintenance downtime required for managing IT infrastructure. By leveraging AWS Outposts and AWS Direct Connect at Equinix, enterprises can achieve maximum availability on-premises and in the cloud for a truly consistent hybrid experience. AWS Direct Connect and AWS Outposts on Platform Equinix® delivers AWS infrastructure and services to the on-premises locations closest to online gaming customers. In addition, customers can connect to AWS Regions in one of the 39 Equinix locations with AWS Direct Connect.
By deploying digital infrastructure in core and edge locations on Platform Equinix, online gaming companies get access to our extensive interconnected ecosystems of enterprises, partners, and network, cloud and IT service providers. Since it’s located close to major population centers, digital gaming leaders can rely on our platform to deploy scalable core and edge hubs according to their business needs. In addition, the Equinix portfolio of digital services helps companies enable virtual infrastructure. The portfolio includes:
- Equinix Fabric™, which helps companies quickly and easily connect digital infrastructure and services on a global scale.
- Network Edge, which enables greater network agility and faster time to market via virtual network functions (VNFs) such as routers and firewalls, from top vendors like Cisco, Fortinet and VMware.
- Equinix Metal™, which enables faster time to market via dedicated Bare Metal as a Service for single-tenant compute and storage on demand in our carrier-neutral colocation facilities.
With these and other digital services, Equinix offers everything you need for a virtualized Data Center as a Service approach.
To learn more about how Equinix and AWS deliver a high-quality gaming experience, read our AWS Gaming white paper.
 Gilbert N, Number of Gamers Worldwide 2022/2023: Demographics, Statistics, and Predictions, FinancesOnline, 2021.