The future of online games (1)

15 January, 2007 (12:20) | Game industry

Given the current market, a market filled with lots of small gamehosters and a few bigger professional ones, the question is not ‘if the market will change’ but ‘when does the market change’.

The situation nowadays

Nowadays the quality of service gamehosting companies offer ranges from exceptional to ‘the crappiest experience ever’. The problem is the most games can be hosted by almost anyone with basic server knowledge and this results in gamehosters without business license, in gamehosters without advanced technical knowledge and gamehosters overbooking their servers trying to make profit. Most hosting companies start as a little private project, only a few of them survive the first three years, only a few will become a professional company that brings an addition to the market.

Automation & brain drain 

Recent developments are the releases of various gamehosting controlpanels and dedicated hosters enabling their customers to install gameservers automatically on their dedicated servers. The problem of these developments is they will lower the bar for any hosting company. It’s easier to start (re)selling gameservers, you don’t need any knowledge, not even basic serverside commands, and support. Support is clicking on controlpanel buttons and when that doesn’t work, well, you’re on your own.
Most gamehosting controlpanels allow the setup of unlicensed illegal voiceservers, like Ventrilo 2.1.4 or Teamspeak. In case of Teamspeak, the hosting company has to take care of the license on their own; Teamspeak software does not enforce licensing. In case of Ventrilo, this software requires a license to run, but this was not build in until versions after 2.1.4.
A legit company pays the license fees, 90% of the companies running this software just doesn’t. Future versions of Teamspeak will include a better licensing enforcement.

The problem

The problems I see are:

  • Bad quality of service because of the lack of professionalism in the start-up ‘companies’
  • Bad quality of service because of the gamehosting controlpanels 
  • Licensing problems: illegal hosting to cut back the costs

Tomorrow I will discuss the most probable solution for these problems.
(Continue reading)

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Date: August 10, 2007, 4:32 PM

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