Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Halo II signals start of broadband gaming boom
Online quality concerns intensify as service providers record sustained jump in Xbox Live traffic following popular game’s launch
Waterloo, Ontario; December 7, 2004 – The long-expected broadband gaming boom, where hordes of players enter hosted Internet environments in order to do battle, may now be underway thanks to the popularity of the Halo II live-play video game.
An analysis conducted by broadband traffic measurement specialist Sandvine Incorporated shows Microsoft Xbox Live traffic on service provider networks quadrupled during the Nov. 9 launch of Halo II – a trend that continues to this day.
The jump raises quality of service concerns for service providers eager to keep gamers – amongst the Internet’s most avid and devoted users – from bolting to competitors with a better reputation for offering broadband access optimized for live play.
Online games like Halo II require low latency from the networks that host them. In order to avoid network disruptions or “jitters” that degrade the pace and flow of virtual competition, network managers must be capable of identifying game traffic and setting quality of service (QoS) policies that protect it from interference.
“The explosion in Xbox Live traffic attributed to Halo II should be seen as a clarion call,” said Marc Morin, co-founder and chief technology officer of Sandvine Incorporated. “Service Providers need to enhance the broadband experience for these high-end users by prioritizing or reserving bandwidth for games and other kinds of latency-sensitive and feature-rich applications.”
“In the competitive broadband environment, operators need to differentiate the way they offer access to services like live-play gaming,” said Lindsay Schroth, senior analyst, broadband access technologies with The Yankee Group. “We expect service providers will look increasingly to intelligent bandwidth management products as a means of analyzing and distinguishing applications on a per-subscriber basis, creating a way to prioritize or even guarantee their performance.”
Download Sandvine’s trend analysis, “Gaming and QoS on broadband networks” at http://www.sandvine.com/solutions/download_center.asp.