GameRail, the private gaming backbone providing low-latency connections to gamers, has announced that it is shutting down:
It is with deep regret to announce that the GameRail network has been discontinued at this time. … We believe that latency and network quality will continue to affect the gaming experience and while we are still believers in the GameRail concept, the market does not appear to be ready to support a standalone network for gaming at this time.
GameRail was a customer of Internap (INAP), which provided the gaming network with intelligent routing services to support its service. It also had connectivity agreements with XO Communications and Broadwing. The network was based in the Bandwidth Exchange buildings in St. Louis, which are now owned by Digital Realty Trust (DLR).
GameRail operated a high speed network that directly connected online game players to servers hosting popular games. GameRail’s business model was to deliver superior performance to its subscribers by peering directly with ISPs, universities and game server providers (GSPs). Low latency (“lag”) is crucial in multiplayer first-person shooter games like CounterStrike, where a slow connection can leave a player at a competitive disadvantage. But gamers are also a price-sensitive crowd, as noted by Wagner James Au at GigaOm:
GameRail’s death notice suggests a broader reason: There are probably very few gamers out there willing to pay extra to become what’s colloquially called an SLPB, or “super low ping bastard.”