The telecommunications provider Cox Communications launches Elite Gamer, a service that improves the connection between game servers and players via its Internet network by up to 32%.
The service does not actually offer a larger internet bandwidth, measured in download speeds of megabits per second. Rather, it improves response time or latency, which is more important for those who play highly interactive games like online shooters. Cox serves more than 6 million households in 18 states. This type of technology could help keep its hardcore customers who cannot live with below-average internet connections in touch.
I can identify with it because in games like Call of Duty: Warzone – where another human player drops me and shoots me before I shoot them – I keep blaming my own death for latency or delayed interaction. And I'm not the only one. "I swear I shot first!" is a common chorus heard on headsets when this happens.
For those who have already subscribed to the Cox premium level Panoramic WiFi serviceElite Gamer is free for the first computer. For each additional PC in a household, the fee is $ 5 per month (for up to three additional computers). Cox customers who don't have panoramic WiFi can buy the service for $ 7 a month for the first computer and add $ 5 a month for each additional computer.
This new service does not increase the speed of your broadband level either. Ron Lev, executive director of new growth and development at Cox, said in an interview with GamesBeat that you are wrong if you think upgrading to faster megabits per second alone will result in better response times.
"Speed is not the only thing that affects your Internet performance," said Lev. “There is something like latency or delay, the ping time. Even if you get a download speed of 10 gigabits per second in your house, it won't really help you if the back office or the server or application server you are using is not optimized. "
Instead, Elite Gamer promises an improved gaming experience in the Cox markets by automatically finding a faster way to the PC game server and optimizing the user's game connection. For example, the goal is to deliver games with response times below 60 milliseconds.
"This solution solves the problem we call the" mid-mile ". It basically finds a way to redirect your traffic over the public Internet more efficiently once it leaves our network," said Lev.
He said that customers need this type of service during the pandemic more than ever when online game engagement has increased. According to the NPD Group's market researcher, gaming revenue reached $ 977 million in May, a 52% increase over May 2019 and the highest tracked spending for a month in May in over a decade.
The company warns that the improvement will depend on where the player is, where the game server is located, how busy the traffic is, and what game is being played. However, Cox provides a dashboard and analytics so players can see what improvements they can make with each game, and the company is confident players will appreciate the difference.
"It really improves the gaming experience and offers more stability," said Lev.
Those who do not live in Cox markets can benefit from a similar technology that is used by companies such as WTFast, which offers a subscription to low-ping services. However, Cox's improved service differs from Internet solutions like Subspace and Network Next, which allow game makers to bring their workloads closer to a customer's location, Lev said.
"We took a different approach when we came from the customer side," said Lev. “We enable users to download the software that is on their PC. And when you start a game, we identify (what) you are using. We identify the traffic pattern in the client and generally work on finding other routes. "