It was interesting to see on the news recently that a certain data streaming service was consuming 15% of global net bandwidth allocation. As developers, it’s sometimes easy to forget how data transferring mediums and display mediums move along at different paces. Technology in areas such as 4K and other high-resolution formats is advancing at lightning pace, and so is the demand on bandwidth that comes with it.
In iGaming, where players depend on speed, playability, delivery and incredibly optimised resolution, this is something the industry can’t overlook. It’s all to do with pixels and their delivery time, data packets, how the 1’s and 0’s go from A to B and how the servers respond to all those clicks. Of course, the player doesn’t care about any of this, they just want to play games.
In the future, more and more video traffic is going to eat up bandwidth likes it’s an all-day buffet open 24/7. According to a report from Sandvine, video accounts for 58% of the world’s downstream traffic, followed by web browsing (17%), gaming (7.8%) and social media (5.1%). With such a large portion of bandwidth consumed by video streaming, the pressure on networks around the world is huge. This could potentially affect developers, operators and ultimately consumers.
Of course, this could be scaremongering, there could be a new technology around the corner that we don’t yet know about. But look at numbers, By 2019 global IP traffic will surpass 2 Zettabytes a year. (What’s a Zettabyte?) I had to look it up too, but that’s the double the amount of IP traffic since the dawn of the internet. The growth is exponential, and that’s a big curve needed for supply to meet demand. At Slotsquad, we’re fascinated by HTML-5 designs, new mobile games and casino technologies, in particular, live casino. But it’s all adding to the payload of today’s heavy-laden networks.
Online casinos of the future will undoubtedly be virtual-reality based. Display systems larger, curved and with incredible scales of gradient. High-resolution, fast and ultra-secure will remain staple parts of the sum, but with millions more of the parts. You could argue that the future betting ground will be on cable width, length, and optical fibre speed to the highest bidder in terms of bandwidth availability. This could be something that affects each of us within the iGaming industry.
So can the industry cope? Of course it can. But like everyone else who depends on the internet for their salaries, we have to be ready. The information revolution is unstoppable. The way in which we do everything now is via servers, cable and data, add in satellites if you really want to spend money. It’s an incredible scenario that’s fuelling the bandwidth bottleneck, and we’re in too deep. Many hundreds of meters deep to be more specific.
The repair and expansion of the world’s data pipes are critical to ensuring growth online. But these data pipes lie far underground and beneath the sea. Protected yes, but that means laborious, timely and hugely expensive work when it comes to maintenance/upgrades etc. So if the cost goes up, do operators take the bill or will service providers own the responsibility? What about players, will they feel the future strain on global bandwidth? It could be the final episode of game of thrones, an extremely potent viral music video or that live casino dealer who begins to flicker as the connection feels the load.
Of course, this is all just something to think about.
About the author:
James Isherwood is a games analyst and technology fan at Slotsquad.co.uk, a UK based iGaming product review company.