One of the trends we've tracked here at Data Center Knowledge is the growth of online gaming and its potential to create demand for data center services. While much of our coverage has focused on the MMORPG sector, there's also growth in the market for multi-player game servers and game hosting. An example is today's announcement that Progression Networks will use the meet-me room of the Bandwidth Exchange in St. Louis to enhance network connectivity for its GameRail Network.
GameRail operates a high speed network that directly connects online game players to the servers that host the most popular and demanding titles. By deploying with a unique network peering approach to ISPs, universities and game server providers (GSPs), GameRail is able to deliver superior performance to its subscribers. Low latency ("lag") is crucial in multiplayer first-person shooter games like CounterStrike, where a slow connection can much up gameplay and/or leave a player at a competitive disadvantage. The service, which is free during its current beta period, eventually plans to charge $15 a month for subscribers.
"Because of the Peering opportunities with the Bandwidth Exchange Buildings' existing clients, we are able to fast start our network and also provide superior performance for our peer's online gaming subscribers," said GameRail's CEO Blake Ashby. "Turning up in a carrier hotel like the Bandwidth Exchange Buildings also give us rapid access to leading carriers to build a national network."
GameRail describes itself as "is an evolution in the network model specifically designed to minimize latency and improve a computer gamer's online experience." GameRail allows gaming traffic to get on the private network in the gamer's home city and then transit over the private network all the way to the site of the game server. GameRail can reduces network hops (and thus latency).
If you're interested in learning more about the game hosting/GSP market, check out the Game Hosting Guide for a directory of providers and resources.
The Bandwidth Exchange Buildings are the premier carrier hotels in the St. Louis market. The two properties, the Tucker Building at 210 North Tucker and the Valley Building at 900 Walnut, together comprise more than 500,000 square feet of space.
The buildings featured in an unusual series of transactions during the dot-com boom. The buildings were redeveloped for telecom by a team led by current owner Bob Guller, which then sold the properties to wireless network operator Pinnacle, which paid $56 million for them in August 2000. Pinnacle's expansion into the colocation market was short-lived, and it soon put the buildings on the market. In November 2001 Guller and his partners bought the buildings back for $22 million, $34 million less than they had sold them for barely a year earlier.