The Game Developers Conference (GDC), the world’s largest event for gaming industry professionals, took place March 19-23, 2018 in San Francisco. According to IBIS World, video games in the U.S. are a $22.9 billion industry, which is expected to grow by more than five percent through 2022.
This year’s GDC was the first time that ROOT Data Center had attended and we went to the conference to learn more about where the game industry and data centers are intersecting. Additionally, we wanted to learn about what the industry players are thinking with regard to online game play, offsite programming and rendering, and online distribution — all issues that are heavily impacted by a data storage and infrastructure strategy. We also spent some time in the Business Center, met new people, and enjoyed some stimulating conversations.
What the ROOT team discovered was that we were certainly not alone at GDC and our Montreal community was in full force. While not an official “delegation,” the Montreal attendees were a stand-out group. Montreal International’s booth was serving the traditional Quebec spring treat of maple syrup on a stick. More importantly, their representatives and the other attendees were talking to game industry representatives about Montreal as a key tech destination. Gaming is not new to Montreal: Ubisoft, Warner, EA and others have studios in Montreal.
Montreal is not just providing the game industry with studio space, but also serving the needs of its IT infrastructure. As the industry moves more and more to online game play and online distribution, so too must the industry’s data strategy evolve. Online storage must come closer to population centers to maintain an excellent game play experience.
On this point, Montreal is heavily networked with high-bandwidth, international networks passing through the area as well as abundant dark fiber. Located along one of the most heavily-trafficked routes on the internet connecting Europe with the U.S., ROOT’s Montreal data centers are ideally positioned to ensure low-latency connectivity for international business operations, including gaming companies.
Also, for some game companies, data must reside in Canada for Canadians to purchase content and play. Our white papers cover these topics at length.
Montreal also stands apart in terms of available real estate. As online play and distribution increases, infrastructure must grow as well to keep pace with demand. Other regions have a volatile real estate market with little available space to expand and grow new data halls or data center locations. Many regions globally are also not prepared to add megawatts of power to a facility from a strained grid, whereas there is abundant, locally sourced and low-cost renewable hydro-electric power available from Hydro-Quebec for new deployments. Montreal is also ideally suited for cloud operations due to its clean, sustainable and inexpensive power.
Lastly, the cool Montreal climate, combined with ROOT’s energy-efficient air-to-air exchange and waterless cooling technology, enables ROOT to achieve free cooling over 90 per cent of the year, reducing costs for gaming companies.
While we were pleased to see our neighbors and colleagues in San Francisco, it’s no surprise that the Montreal contingent was welcomed with open arms at GDC.