Game on: Why Montreal for the video gaming industry

According to the latest figures from Washington-based Valve Corporation, Steam, a digital distribution platform for video games, has gained 23 million monthly active users in little over a year. That’s almost the population of Australia.

The platform, which installs and updates games, provides cloud saving, in-game voice and chat functionality and community features like friends lists and groups, now has 90 million monthly users, up from 67 million in August 2017. Its daily user count is up 42 per cent to 33 million. It just passed 30 million domestic users in China alone.

And, in case you’re wondering, its peak concurrent user record is 18.5 million players when mobs of people logged in to fight in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds this past January. That’s the equivalent of 80 per cent of Canadians doing the exact same thing simultaneously.

Stop and imagine what would have happened if in the middle of the game, the screen stuttered. Or worse, froze. More than 18 million people playing what is loosely the equivalent of a digital Hunger Games, stop dead, staring with horror at their devices.

In an industry where an exceptional end user experience is what matters, it’s every game providers worse nightmare. It didn’t happen here, but the possibility is always top-of-mind for gaming decision-makers because of the sheer number of customers impacted.

According to 2018 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry from the Entertainment Software Association, today 64 per cent of households play video games on at least one device. The average gamer is 34-years-old, and gamers age 18 or older represent more than 70 per cent of the video game-playing population. And women are coming up the middle, representing 33 per cent of the game-playing population. In 2017, consumers spent US$36 billion on the video game industry, compared to US$30.4 billion in 2016.

In other words, players are old enough to have significant disposable income, and they’re playing en masse. A single bad user experience can have a disproportionate impact on business.

Data center operators know that gaming is heavily impacted by a company’s data storage and infrastructure strategy. Online game play, offsite programming and rendering, and online distribution are all top-of-mind as studios work to deliver products around the globe.

In Montreal, we’re all-in on the gaming industry. Studios, developers, entrepreneurs: we’re the fifth largest gaming center in the world, meeting needs for not just incentives, talent and space, but also for IT infrastructure.

ROOT’s data centers are carrier neutral with access to over 50 carriers, including dark fibers, local networks, and global telecoms via on-net providers and ROOT’s Metro Connect. We’re located along one of the most heavily-trafficked routes on the internet connecting Europe with the U.S. and provide low-latency connectivity for international business operations, including gaming companies.

With speed-to-market a critical factor, game production teams need reliable ‘always-on’ infrastructure for development and testing of their products. We’re the first data center in the world to use AI to help deliver 100% uptime, and with a Hydro-Quebec sub-station spitting distance from our facilities, there’s an exceptionally low risk of outage.

To learn more about how ROOT Data Center and the gaming industry, click Why Montreal data centers are the best choice for video games. ROOT is building a third data center, creating an additional 10MW of power capacity. Roughly 20 per cent of the new facility’s capacity has been pre-sold to support new customers. To learn more, contact us here.