e4m-Limelight Networks: 'Content distribution network is the need of the hour'
On the virtual roundtable, experts from the gaming industry discussed the evolution in the gaming technology ecosystem in India and user expectations
The exchange4media virtual roundtable conducted on Tuesday was on the rise of the gaming industry in India and how it’s going to evolve further. The webinar was hosted in partnership with Limelight Networks. The virtual roundtable had industry experts deliberate on the topic: ‘New Gen CDNs for Online Gaming’. The panelists spoke about user expectations and the online challenges in meeting those (delivery of content and user experience).
The panel had gaming industry leaders like Anurag Khurana, eSports Consultant, Paytm First Games; Anirudh Nagpal, CEO, Ebullient Gaming India; Ashwin Rao, Sales Director-India, Limelight Networks; Arijit Bhattacharyya, Founder & CEO, Virtualinfocom; Charles Krauss, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Limelight Networks; Earnest Russell, Technical Product Marketing Manager, Limelight Networks; Manish Agarwal, CEO, Nazara Technologies Ltd.; Mukta Aphale, VP Reliability Engineering & Devops, Mobile Premier League, Narayan Babu, VP-Engineering, Glance; Rishab Mathur, Founder & CTO, 9stacks; Sanket Sawkar, COO, Sportz Interactive; Sidharth Kedia, Group CEO, NODWIN Gaming; Shiva Nandy, Founder & CEO, Sky eSports; Viral Mehta, VP-Engineering, LOCO, and Yash Pariani, CEO & Founder, Indian Gaming League. The session was chaired by Ruhail Amin, Senior Editor, exchange4media Group.
Starting off the virtual webinar, Nagpal remarked, “E-sports has grown immensely in these 3-4 months. I can share about one of our talents that we manage ‘Two Side Gamers’ they use to generate 40 million views in a particular month. Now they are getting approximately 70 million views in a month which is a huge growth proximity.”
Khurana talking about his learnings and how he is leveraging with the growing spike on e-sports commented, “From our experience, we were not prepared. Since IPL was coming up, our focus was on all the fantasy parts of our platform. But with that not happening, we immediately started e-sports and the response was tremendous for the first tournament that we did for Clash Royale we got 11,000 plus registrations. The best part was out of that 11,000 people actually 8,000 people came to play that tournament. This has been our journey, we were not prepared for this. When we launched the tournament we just launched with 512 players registering which happened in just half an hour. So we moved it up to 2,000 and 4,000 players.”
From a gaming infrastructure point of view and how to leverage high traffic on gaming platforms, Mathur remarked, “The basic architecture of your product is very important. The architecture should be such that you are able to scale up both breath wise as well as depth-wise. In order to do that at 9stacks, we basically have microroservice architecture. However unfortunate this COVID situation was we did see a 3X rise in our registrations. If the architecture is built in such a way that you are able to scale up easily that helps.”
Mehta stated that they launched the LOCO game streaming service in COVID-19. “We build a tremendous growth and secured the supply side. We are getting a mind-blowing response in the e-gaming industry right now”, said Mehta.
Sharing his side of the story, Sawkar said, “Online gaming platform is getting a lot of traffic. The growth is phenomenal. People are on these platforms seeking entertainment and a social connect.”
Talking about where the next phase of growth is going to come for the gaming industry, Kedia shared, “Two things that we are seeing, one is the cultural context that has shifted in the last 3 months from parents telling kids to not play a game it isn’t good for you to now joining them and playing with them. This is tectonic shift happens once in a while in any industry and it is happening in gaming right now. Secondly, we are seeing a massive shift in terms of people who are willing to compete who want to aspire to be professionals in the world of gaming that is where e-sports comes in. At the end of registrations for this season we have seen a 19x increase from last summer. On the watch platform to we are seeing a massive surge. People have got used to a new form of entertainment, they are going to play more games and it is more interactive.”
Bhattacharyya sharing views on the cultural shift that is happening said, “India saw a lot of those over 50 people who are downloading games into their smartphones and engaging themselves. They are interacting with other players using the game as a medium. I believe personally post-COVID-19 those connections will not be destroyed. The bond has already happened for the last 60-90 days.”
Nandy remarked that this is the right time to push for the next level in the e-gaming industry.
Nagpal sharing his views said, “Fundamentally, we need to focus on how to harness and build experiences which can work on mobile networks.”
Sharing his learnings Pariani remarked, “Twice we had to upgrade our server due to traffic. We are hosting our website on AWS and we got to upgrade our package twice in the last 3 months. Increasing our tech support and doubling our tournaments is what we did. Currently, we have 280-300 tournaments a month.”
Russell shared that there is a large increase in demand for delivering videos. “We being into CDN, We really help in delivering large and quality video games streaming”, he remarked.
Sharma says that the gaming industry has gone in the right direction although this environment is unprecedented the tech partners that the industry typically chooses to work with top companies have built robust systems and are able to scale up on a moment’s notice.
Kraus sharing his insights said, “Looking at the data across the 10 regions that we survey by far the volume of game playing coming from India is far above any other country. Lack of physical games has amplified E-sports tremendously. Technologies are a mystery. We have a business model problem, not a technology problem.”
Mehta explained, “Content distribution network is need of the hour. We need CDNs to run all the online services Hotstar, Netflix and games, etc.”
Even Khurana sharing the same sentiment said, “We need a great CDN infrastructure and platforms like Limelight to deliver that seamless experience to the viewers".
Russel believes that in order to provide a great experience, we need to collaborate or partner with the cloud provider and data locations.
"The biggest challenge is to keep our application highly available. Tier 2-3 are really doing good, Localization is important to provide a better experience to the user”, stated Mathur.
On a parting note, Pariani sharing what will be the biggest trends going forward said, “Mobile gaming is going to be large in the next coming years. Followed by the console which we are seeing a rise now I expect with PlayStation 5 and the new Xbox in India will get a fair amount of users there. AR and VR could also be an additional trend for this decade.”
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