Will Grand Theft Auto Online Cause Server Headaches?


The creator of Grand Theft Auto has warned there might be teething problems as its online version launches. In its blog, it said it was trying to alleviate the unanticipated additional pressure on the servers by working around the clock to add more servers.

Inviting the world to play a game online is much more than a popularity contest. It is a test of whether the IT and network infrastructure can cope with an unexpected and almighty peak in popularity.

Online gaming has been one of the chief accelerators of Internet capacity. Though individual user capacity isn’t massive, the sheer aggregation of users guzzles capacity and creates local problems as gamers log on across the globe at different times of the day.

To enable 2 million people to play a game seamlessly at the same time whilst ensuring minimal latency (thereby maximising user experience), will require a colossal amount of dedicated capacity in the right regions at the right time. It also puts pressure on the software code to be as network friendly as possible.

The increased demand for high capacity experiences online is forcing organisations to rethink how they can enable this new interactive era. It accelerated cloud adoption and introduced the act of public cloud bursting to cope with traffic peaks.

Now, the fight to improve user experiences is turning some technology companies into network owners, which comes with its own set of challenges. Creating hybrid public/private networks that minimise the use of the public Internet becomes attractive from a latency perspective probably before the economic advantages of private network ownership are truly realised.

As we see more immersive online experiences take hold, we will see more businesses look to own private network pipes, rather than rent public network capacity. Thankfully, there is plenty of dark fibre out there. It is just a case of watching who is going to turn on the lights.

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Jonathan Wright became VP, Service Provider for Interoute in 2012. Prior to that, he served as Commercial Director, leading product, pricing, technical and commercial propositions in Interoute’s wholesale sales division. He joined Interoute in 2002, working in, and eventually managing, the Bandwidth & Infrastructure Products team. As part of this, he created Interoute’s initial connectivity product set, which remains the cornerstone of Interoute's ongoing success today. He also took over the responsibility for Interoute’s infrastructure products and in 2003, created and launched Interoute's Ethernet product portfolio, which has continued growth to this day. Before joining Interoute, Jonathan held positions at Cable & Wireless and Global One, where he began his career in the telecommunications industry. Jonathan holds a degree in law from The University of Manchester.