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In the Limelight Blog

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Today we went live with a new generation of our Self Service portal called Control 3.  This is the result of nearly two years (and counting) of research, design, and development focused on improving the user experience of the site.

Control3_Dashboard w border.png

New Control 3 Customer Dashboard

Here's a look at some of the benefits being delivered in this new portal:

  • Fresh new look and navigation — CONTROL 3 supports adaptable screen layout, new navigation tabs representing activities, and better search capabilities.
  • Full redesign of configuration — An improved layout and workflow makes it easier and faster to create configuration changes.
  • Full redesign of SmartPurge — Our best-in-class SmartPurge product has gotten even better with completely redesigned screens featuring easier definition of templates and clearer display of purge statistics.
  • Improved reports — Numerous improvements to existing reports make them easier to use. Later in 2016 you can expect a full reports redesign featuring even more substantial improvements.

If you are a customer with a Control user account you can go to control.llnw.com today and try out the new application.   If you don't yet have an account- simply ask your Limelight Account Manager to help you set one up.

Beneath the multiple topic tracks at the 2016 Game Developer’s Conference —which ranged from AI to Esports to community management—a silent competition was waging right in the center of the Expo floor. This year, game engine companies Epic, Unity and Crytek returned to the center of the exhibition space, only to have to share it with new arrival: Amazon’s Lumberyard.

 

In their effort to attract the best and brightest of the world’s game developers, the engine companies are borrowing from the phrase ‘If you build it they will come” by betting on a new version “if they build on it, they will stay”.  This year there is more at stake than ever before as two huge developments hit the gaming industry and developers need and want help with both of them.  The first development is virtual reality—developers need and want help integrating the best player technology with the best rendering and design technology to help them build high quality games that feature the best aspects of this rapidly growing phenomenon.  The second is player to player connectivity—developers want tools that enable their gamers to connect with each other even more seamlessly than before. Not only is connectivity key to the competition that drives Esports, but it’s key to integrating gaming with gamers’ social circles.

 

So let’s take a look at the turf staked out by each of these companies, as well as the economic model the companies have put in place to incentivize developers to 'build and stay'.

mCclaren.png

                                                                                                                                       Picture Source

Epic spent a morning session highlighting the advanced features of its Unreal 4 Engine and made it clear they see a future for their developers that spans beyond gaming into state-of-the art product design, virtual reality applications, and film creation. Their wide-ranging talk included several stunning demonstrations to prove their point. In one, an actress’ every movement and emotion were incorporated in real time into a game world, plus digitalized for future possible use. The result was a powerful fusion of live human action and the fantastic world of a 3D game. In another demonstration spilling over into real life, the Unreal Engine 4 was used to create realistic car designs, so detailed they could actually be used in custom building the McClaren automobile (one of which was on display at their booth). Epic is blurring the lines between cinematography and game making, as well as fully embracing virtual reality. Everything demonstrated in this talk showed they are serious about their intent to own the high end of visual production and design.

 

The revenue model for Epic reflects their confidence in the engine. Over a year ago they started giving away their engine for free, in return for a 5% percent cut of a developers’ product or game revenues once they hit a certain amount per month. By empowering high-end creativity, they position themselves to share in major successes, but also take on the challenge of providing a highly sophisticated solution that is extremely powerful.

crytek.png

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Crytek released its CRYENGINE V at GDC which will provide integration with an impressive range of virtual reality solutions and hardware, Playstation VR, OSVR, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Crytek also announced new partners in its VR initiative, aimed at supporting VR research and development at leading universities by providing hardware and funding. AMD, Leap Motion, OSVR, and Razer are now partners in this initiative. Crytek business development manager was quoted as saying “Now we are much closer to our goal of forming a global VR community.

 

The business model for Crytek’s engine is based on offering developers a community, not just for marketing and selling their games, but for actual IP as well. Crytek gives away their engine for “whatever developers want to pay” and includes with it, access to the CRYENGINE Marketplace. The Marketplace offers thousands of game assets created by CRYENGINE users, including those collected by the company over the years. Given the impressive set of games developed on CRYENGINE  no doubt this is a rich source of material for developers.

Unity.png

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Unity, which physically dominated the entrance to the Expo announced its release of Unity 5.3.4 and 5.4 public beta. It’s response to the AR/VR phenomenon has been extensive and year-long. As part of the show they announced support for Nvidia’s VR Works. VR Works includes API’s, sample code, and libraries for VR developers that speed up and improve device integration and graphic rendering.  In addition, they have made manipulating VR scenes even easier with a “Chessboard” system that puts a miniature version of the VR scene into the larger screen, making the scene easier to manipulate as a whole. Like Crytek, Unity has a “Made for Unity” asset store where developers can download free assets to enhance their game.

 

The monthly user base for Unity is huge (over 1M) and adding significant new features while maintaining stability is not trivial. At the show they emphasized the many accomplishments of the past year, including adding AR/VR plugin optimization. As far as connectivity goes, they announced that Unity Multi-Player is out of beta and available. This new offering allows developers to create multiplayer games using Unity’s servers, makes it easy for gamers to connect with each other, and is extremely scalable.

 

Unity’s economic model is based on a monthly charge of $75 for the “Professional” version of its engine, plus a charge for using its servers for concurrent game players. The concurrent player charge scales up depending on how many gamers there are how much messaging is taking place. Unity has a global infrastructure of servers in the US, Europe, and Asia that support its multi-player games.

Lumberyard.png

                                                                                                                                       Picture Source

Amazon’s Lumberyard game engine was the newcomer to the party and they too showed up with a game engine they are giving away for free. Lumberyard is described as  a “free, cross-platform, 3D game engine for you to create the highest-quality games, connect your games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch.” Many game developers and publishers are already familiar with Amazon’s infrastructure offerings, including its storage, S3, and compute instances, EC2. Providing an engine that links seamlessly to this infrastructure (and generates revenue while doing so) is another way to tie developers in so they will stay. Lumberyard also provides two solutions for connecting with players: ChatPlay and JoinIn. ChatPlay allows Twitch viewers to directly influence and comment on game play, and “JoinIn” provides one- click ability to have a gamer play against a broadcaster.

 

The revenue model for Lumberyard seems to be aimed at building usage of Amazon’s prodigious infrastructure, as well as the user-base for Twitch.  The engine is free, but developers pay for their use of servers, storage, and other infrastructure.

 

In their race to be the platform of choice, each engine has had to decide where it will optimize the developer’s experience. And for mature engines, the challenge to keep innovating while serving a huge installed base is tremendous. Putting themselves at the center of the GDC floor showed all four of these companies know what is at stake as a whole new era of opportunity hits the gaming world.

Today we released findings of our second annual ‘State of Digital Downloads’ report. This study is part of Limelight’s series of annual surveys exploring consumer perceptions and behavior around digital content. Key findings may surprise you.  They include:

  • The mobile phone is the most dominant device for downloading content
  • Beyond OS updates, Movies/TV Shows, Music, and Apps are the most popular downloads
  • Consumers tend to download most often at night
  • Download speed is critical to providing a great experience
  • When things go wrong with downloading, typically ISPs are blamed
  • Google is winning the content war but Apple isn’t far behind
  • Android is the most dominant smartphone for downloading content but comes in second with tablets

 

The survey was conducted by a third-party organization with access to U.S. and international consumer panels. In all, 1,136 consumers ranging in age, gender and education completed the survey.  A copy of the press release is posted to our website, and can be found here and the complete report is available here.

Would you like the opportunity to help your peers learn from your experiences?  We’re seeking Limelight customers to profile how you’re leveraging our technology to innovate, grow your business and improve your customers’ experience.  Join Arsenal Football Club, OTT company Dailymotion, retailer Costume Supercenter and many more diverse organizations from the established to start-up around the world and tell your story.  Simply leave me a message here or email me at dhohler@llnw.com and I’ll contact you to discuss how you could be featured here.

Access control is more than a passing fancy for many Limelight customers. In April, 2016, we will have many features in the Orchestrate Platform to help control who can access what, from where. We recently merged two access control features: ACL  (Access Control Lists) and  Geo-Fencing. For quite a while, we have had support for Geo-Fencing and ACLs. Geo-Fencing enables customers to allow/deny access based on an end-user's geographic location. ACLs enable customers to allow/deny access based on end-user IP address or HTTP Method. In the original implementation, Geo-Fencing and ACLs were separate processes and were difficult to use in concert. The new White/Black Listing IP and Geo-Fencing is greater than the sum of its parts.

 

In the new implementation, Geo-Fencing and IP ACL are combined into a set of access control rules. The new service allows IPs to be organized into "Groups". IP Groups and IP geo-location data are treated in the same manner. Access control rules are processed in the order in which they are written. The first time and IP address is found in a rule determines how that IP will be treated. Mixing and matching IP Groups and geo-location  rules is considerably more flexible than the disparate legacy systems were.

 

  Feature of the new system include:

Rule

Description

HTTP Method

Allow/deny access based on HTTP method. Option: get/head/options/post/put/delete

Geo-Fence

Allow/deny access based on geographic location of  end-users IP address

IP Groups

Allow/deny access to a group of IP address.   IP ranges in a group can be defined by: get/head/options/post/put/delete

Anonymous  Proxy

Allow/deny access to end-users who are routing their requests through an anonymous proxie

All

Allow/deny access to all

 

Example:

Sportsball_Live.com  has licensed distribution of the World Championship of CalvinBall (WCCB).  Their license limits them to European distribution. Advertising partners paid big bucks to bring WCCB to Europe. The partner offices are spread around the globe and must have access to the WCCB content. The licence agreement is strict and requires the blocking access from anonymous proxies.

 

An ordered set of access control rules can be constructed to enable Sportsball_Live.com  to meet their licence agreement and bring WCCB to Europe.

Calvin Ball.gif

Rule Order

Name

Action

Description

1

HTTP Method

Allow get/head/options

Because WCCB  is a live video event  HTTP methods will be restricted to  get/head/options

2

Whitelist

Allow Advertising_Partners_List

Explicitly allows any IP found in the Advertising_Partners_List access to the WCCB Event

3

Geo-fence

Deny Anonymous Proxies

Explicitly denies access to WCCB to any know anonymous proxies

4

Geo-fence

Allow Europe

Explicitly allows access to WCCB event to any IP in Europe

5

ALL

Deny All

Denies access to any end-user who has not been given access by the above rules. ALL should always be the last rule.

One of the largest Esports events in the world just took place this weekend - the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) World Championships in Katowice, Poland.  IEM Katowice featured three games - CounterStrike, League of Legends, and Starcraft II.  Qualifying tournaments have been running all over the world for the Finals in Katowice, and each game’s championship match offered € 500,000. And lots of people were watching the action—live and online. In fact, online viewership for this 3-part tournament likely exceeded last year’s 2.3 million peak concurrent viewers and 4 million Youtube views.

Crowd.jpg

 

What a lot of people don’t know, though, is what goes on behind the scenes of these events. From player preparation to live-stream logistics, there’s a ton of activities happening. In a recent webinar (full disclosure: Limelight Networks hosted the webinar) with Fnatic’s CEO Wouter Sleijffle, we took attendees behind the scenes to look at how professional sports agencies, like Fnatic, prepare their teams for this intense competition and what’s required to host a world-class live streaming event. Here are a few highlights:

  • Player preparation happens on multiple levels. Players have to be prepared physically and mentally to hold up to the hours of intense live action on stage. Wouter shared that part of this preparation is being able to rely on teammates, and spending time together away from the game, even occasionally living together in training venues as a way to build trust and connection between teammates.
  • Developers have a role to play in preparation. Wouter had some advice for game developers—create training tools that let coaches and analysts improve game play.  Don’t hold back exciting game play for the top levels - make all levels exciting.
  • It’s not all about just playing the game. Are you a couch potato convinced hours of game playing will make you the best?  Not so, it appears. Fnatic puts a surprising amount of work into the physical fitness of their players, including healthy eating and sleeping habits. It’s all designed to keep the mind as sharp as possible.  And flexible too.
  • The competition is never over. Think that a professional gamer’s work is done after the event? Not according to Wouter who feels that data analytics (post-match analysis) plays a crucial role in future success. In fact, Fnatic now employs not one but two analysts to dig into game play data, competitors and match data.

 

Does all this preparation work?  Turns out it does - really well.  The results from Katowice are in:

Winners.jpg

 

 

Limelight and Cedexis were both on hand during the webinar to explain how live event gets transmitted to millions of fans around the world who are watching from their PC’s, phones and tablets. Delivering broadcast quality coverage to this audience, especially when they are watching from all around the globe, on hundreds of different devices, is a huge challenge.  Luckily many of these challenges have solutions that have been tested and proven successful by other industries that deliver live events:

  • Planning is key. Preparing for a live event actually requires careful planning and an experienced team. For an online audience to receive broadcast quality requires that a broadcaster’s entire workflow, from the stage cameras to the encoding and transcoding to the content delivery, is architected to eliminate latency and handle sudden spikes in viewership.
  • The public Internet is not the right solution. If you want to create a high quality experience for your audience relying on the public internet is a poor choice.   Some of the  the reasons for this are that Esports audiences are truly global and  the size of these audiences can be large and unpredictable.  Congestion from other events on the public internet can interfere with a smooth broadcast, or ruin the quality of a broadcast for an entire region.
  • Build in redundancy. By choosing between 2 or more CDN’s for your broadcast, you ensure capacity for every log-on. Two or more CDN’s also allows traffic optimization between the CDN’s for each CDN investment you get the most out of that investment.

For more on how to satisfy Esports live event viewers, and how the pro’s prepare for these amazing contests, you can listen to the whole webinar  here.

 

 

Photos Courtesy of Edwin Kuss, March 2016.

Though it's early in the year, there are already 11 events on the docket for 2016 that promise large viewing audiences and huge prize pools.  The guerrilla among viewing events of course is Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) which is working with ESL to put on the IEM finals in Katowice, Poland in March. Featuring three extremely popular games from three distinct publishers, League of Legends, Starcraft II, and CounterStrike, this three-day tournament attracts a huge crowd and creates tremendous cross-mingling of Esports enthusiasts from different game camps. Not only did 100,000 people attend the live event all three days, but the League of Legends World Championship portion garnered over 35 million online views on Twitch and over 4M video watches on Youtube.

 

For prize pools, the current leader is Activision's Call of Duty World Championship which has already promised a $3M prize pool for its year long tournament ending in the fall. However a newcomer, Turner Broadcasting has grabbed second place as of today with its promise of $2.4M for ELeague.  ELeague will feature live TV play of  CounterStrike "Eleague"  for 2, 10-week periods this summer.

 

Tournament schedules can be complicated but it's for good reason.  Esports is seeing aggressive growth at both the amateur and professional levels. A look at the schedules shows publishers and organizers working hard to bring these two competitive streams together.  Most schedules feature lengthy amateur qualifying periods, second chances, and selective merging of professional and amateur competition.  The result?  An extended build up of tension and uncertainty around the final line up that makes for great finales, and hopefully well-earned prizes.

 

So here's what's on the calendar, and the prize pools that have been announced to get you in the game:

 

Game

Tournament

Publisher

Organizer

Dates; City

Prize Pool

World of Tanks

Wargaming North America Finals

Wargaming

Wargaming, Intel

April 8,9; Warsaw

$300,000

VainGlory

Winter Series Live Championships

SuperEvil

SuperEvil

March 18; March 25; Online

$70,000

Halo

World Championship Finals

Microsoft

MLG;ESL

March 19,20

$2M

LoL;   Starcraft II; CS:GO

Intel Extreme Masters

Riot; Blizzard; Valve

ESL, Intel

March 4-6; Katowice

$500,000

Dota 2

ESL One

Valve

ESL

April 23; Manila

$250,000

CS:GO

ELeague (CS: GO)

Valve

Turner, IMG, WME

May 27 (10 weeks); Summer (10weeks)

$2.4M

Dota 2

ESL One

Valve

ESL

June 18; Frankfurt

$250,000

CS:GO

ESL One

Valve

ESL

July 8; Cologne

$250,000

FIFA

Interactive World Cup

EA

EA Sports FIFA

Summer, 2016

$20,000

COD

World Championship

Activision

Activision

Fall 2016; TBA

$3M

Hearthstone

World Championship

Blizzard

Blizzard

Fall 2016; Blizzcon

$1M

 

And we can expect pretty high viewer numbers for these tournaments as well. Last year online tournament watching repeatedly broke its  own records.  For example, the ESL One CounterStrike tournament last year attracted a record 27 million online viewers online. ( Compare this with the recent USA Super Bowl which broke its own record this year with 3.6 million people watching it online).   2016 is likely to bring new records, even as the sport gets crowded with new tournaments.

 

So turn off the TV and power up your laptop/tablet/mobile phone for these major online events.  And if we've missed one that should be on here, let us know. Additionally, to learn more about what it takes to produce a major sporting event online, see Jason Thibault’s excellent blog:  Super Bowl 2016: What Might We Expect from the Technology?

The global audience for Esports is on track to rival the size of the American football audience by 2017. Dedicated American-style football fans number about 151 M, and the equally dedicated Esports audience is projected to reach 145 M[1] by 2017.  Though impressive on a global scale, to date North American audience size has lagged behind Asia’s Esports audience size at just under 15 M while Asian audiences have reached three times that size (49 M as of 2014) [2] .

2014 and 2015, however, saw major North American publishers and broadcasters make definitive moves to committing to the success of Esports. In December, Electronic Arts announced it was forming a Competitive Gaming Division and putting its longtime FIFA Interactive advocate, Peter Moore, in charge.  Not only did it recommit to its current competitive leagues, but it promised to develop new events “as well as the infrastructure” in order to deliver a “best in class program”.   With this announcement one of the largest, most profitable North American game publishers not only recognized the brand development potential of Esports, but moved to consolidate its franchise.

EAEsports.jpg                              CODWL.jpg                     http://http://www.ea.com/news/announcing-the-ea-competitive-gaming-division-led-by-peter-mooremlg.jpg

Not to be outdone, Activision announced early in 2016 that it had bought Major League Gaming (MLG), and that MLG’s senior leaders would come aboard with the acquisition.  In doing so it acquired significant tournament production and promotion capabilities with strong North American market presence.  The new venture is goaled on being the “ESPN” of Esports, meaning it will work with all games, not just Activision’s.  In fact, Valve’s CounterStrike game has been steadily building Esports audiences, and in 2016 will be the centerpiece of a tournament produced in North America with MLG.  The final will play to a live audience at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus OH. Earlier in 2015 Activision announced its Call of Duty World League - a self-contained competitive structure designed to take regular players all the way up to national competitions.  With skilled production and promotion, this incredibly popular game could fuel a sizeable Esports audience.

 

Equally significant for 2016 is the new arrival of two broadcast networks to Esports.  In the fall of 2015, Turner Broadcasting Studio announced it would broadcast 20 weeks of Esports competition in 2016, featuring above-named Valve CounterStrike competitions.  While it’s not clear yet when during the  summer TBS will broadcast, the timing may allow for it to overlap with major Esporting events going on Europe and North America.

 

TBSEsports.jpg

 

And… just as 2015 came to a close, ESPN made its announcement it was setting up a separate vertical to handle Esports.  Now the ESPN.com/Esports website features experienced industry writers who provide full coverage of Esports teams and industry developments all over the world.  In a silent nod to the newness of Esports for American audiences, the site provides expert summaries of the of the leading games involved in Esports.

ESPNEsports.png

There are also indications that the business model will begin to evolve beyond free and public platforms like Twitch and Youtube.  Ashttp://http//www.nytimes.com/2016/01/05/technology/activision-buys-major-league-gaming-to-broaden-role-in-e-sports.html?ref=technologyRobert Kotick, CEO of Activision commented about the purchase of MLG,

 

We think user-generated-content networks are great and widely available,” he said. “This is really focused on premium content.”

 

Under a premium content model, the audience experience and viewer loyalty will take on greater importance.  It’s clear that North America will be treated to a whole new wave of Esports and brand-building events that could greatly increase the Esports audience.

 


[1] The Global Growth of Esports. Research Report. 1.0st ed. Vol. 1.0. Amsterdam: Newzoo, 2015. Print. Esports.

[2] ibid.

HortusTV is a small startup whose mission is to create a website focused on gardening. They needed a video solution that would be easy to learn and had detailed regional analytics. Since Limelight had a great relationship with their developer (also a Limelight customer), and our Video Premier package had everything they needed (and more!), it was the perfect fit for HortusTV to grow.

 

“I needed a robust platform that could handle the capacity that I anticipate, with the best features and security, and Limelight is the service that my developer recommended. We researched several options and chose Limelight.”

– LIZA DROZDOV, President-HortusTV

 

Check out the full Case Study!

 

Interested in gardening videos? Go to HortusTV.com! (Coming soon to the U.S.)

Online video consumption continues to rise while consumers’ tolerance of interruptions and ads declines according to our second “State of Online Video” research report released today.  The report reveals a rapid shift in online video viewing, especially amongst MillennialsKey findings include:

  • More than 83 percent of consumers watch on-demand video, an increase of four percent since April.
  • Consumers want to cut the cord, but they may not want to pay for Over-the-Top (OTT) content either.
  • Millennials are far more likely to subscribe to over-the-top (OTT) services.
  • Apps on Smart TVs are the go-to source for viewing video on the television. 
  • When it comes to OTT devices, Xbox is leading the market with Sony close behind.
  • When videos get interrupted, viewers abandon.
  • Fewer people are sharing their videos online but when they do, it’s on Facebook with YouTube a distant second.
  • There is a growing anti-advertising sentiment among online video viewers.

 

“The world of online video is anything but predictable,” said Jason Thibeault, senior director of marketing at Limelight. “Even in the few months between our April and December studies, we have seen a significant shift in how people choose to consume content. Organizations trying to take advantage of this changing landscape—from traditional broadcast to online video—must keep in mind how easily things shift as operational and business flexibility is paramount to achieving success.”

 

A copy of the press release can be found here and the full report here.

egalioglu

Going (Limelight) Green

Posted by egalioglu Dec 10, 2015

At Limelight, we pride ourselves on being green--if you’ve seen our logo, you know we have an affinity for the color green: “Limelight” green, to be precise.

 

But you may not know that we also pride ourselves on our “green” commitment to reducing our carbon footprint. In my role as Vice President of Planning and Logistics here at Limelight Networks, I’m responsible for ensuring that we have enough physical infrastructure capacity to fulfill customer needs while finding ways to drive greater efficiency across our many locations. Combined with my passion for going green, we have what we think is a winning strategy for fulfilling our corporate responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint and achieving great customer satisfaction. How are we doing this?

 

We’ve spent time looking at our data centers across the world to determine how we can use our servers more efficiently while providing reliability and capacity. Some results that you may find of interest are:

  • Increasing capacity so that our customers’ delivery requirements are met. We’re doing this by having faster network speeds, more POPs closer to where customers are.
  • Ensuring reliability for our customers. We’ve seen record-breaking traffic and have achieved a new record for both peak bandwidth and petabytes delivered.
  • Refreshing our technology by acquiring new servers, lowering fan speeds, consolidating server locations, providing internal efficiency and lessening of the impact on the environment

 

Thus far, through actions such as those listed above, we have been able to reduce our carbon footprint by over 20% at the sites where we have completed our work. And we’re not done yet! Stay tuned for more updates as I will be blogging quarterly to share with you more of the progress we’ve been making.

 

Best,

 

Ersin

Are you interested it what it takes to build a new over-the-top (OTT) service?  Here are insights from CuriosityStream, an on-demand, subscription-based non-fiction streaming service, launched by John Hendricks, the Founder of the Discovery Channel and former Chairman of Discovery Communications.

With more than 1,000 programs on science, technology, civilization and the human spirit accessible on-demand and ad-free  – and additional titles added every day – CuriosityStream features documentary shows and series from the world’s leading nonfiction producers. The service is available worldwide in standard and HD resolution streaming, with 4K slated for spring 2016.

“We built a new OTT service from the ground up, so we turned to Limelight as a single solution to manage, secure and deliver our videos so we could focus our resources on building our streaming business. Our customers expect us to support a variety of devices such as Roku and Apple TV, native smart TV applications, tablets and smartphones. Limelight enables us to deliver video in the ideal format to each of these competing but inherently different streaming platforms.”

– Peter North, chief digital officer for CuriosityStream.

 

A detailed case study can be found here and a press release is posted to our website, and can be found here.

Here we go.  The master calendar for games that will be available this holiday season has finally sorted itself out.  What’s in and what’s out for 2015 is finally clear, the first of an A+ list of releases is already here.  This is a big season for game downloading, and gamers are getting their first real data about how big these games will actually be.  While non-gamers may be teeing up “It’s a Wonderful Life”, gamers will be expecting their 10, 20, 30, and 50 GB game to download flawlessly.

 

So how much downloading is actually going to take place?  A rough guess is fairly easy to make - take the game size, multiply by sales, and apply the percentage of digital distribution that the publisher is expected to reach. For example, if Electronic Arts sells 1M copies of Need for Speed, releasing November 3, we know approximately 52% of these games, or 520000 copies will be digital (EA now earns 52% of its revenues through digital distribution, according to its financials).  Multiply this by the size of the game, and we get a rough estimate of the download traffic from this one game.

 

Since this promises to be a very active release season, I’ve decided to create a game download tracker which I’ll update with reliable data as it’s released.  First off - here’s the schedule and size of some major games coming out in the remainder of 2015:

 

                                                                                    

   Holiday Game Download Tracker

 

Publisher

Game

Date

GB's

Initial Sales

Retail Price

  1. Est. Unit Sales

Total GB's

Digital%

Exabytes of Download Traffic

Microsoft

Halo 5

27-Oct-15

46.19

400M

$59

6,779,661

313,152,542

60% Est

.18789153

Electronic Arts

Need for Speed

3-Nov-15

36

 

$59

 

 

52%

 

Activision/  Treyarch

Call of Duty: Black Ops III

6-Nov-15

15

550M

$50

12,708,852

190,632,780

30%

.0571898

Bethesda

Fallout4

10-Nov-15

28

750M

$59

15,471,090

433,190,531

18%

.0779743

Microsoft

Rise of the Tomb Raider

10-Nov-15

20.47

 

$59

330,000

6,755,100

60% Est

.00405

Electronic Arts

Starwars Battlefront

17-Nov-15

19

 

$60

4,210,526

80,000,000

52%

.0416

Ubisoft

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six

1-Dec-15

50

 

$59

269,444

1,3472,200

100%

.002531

Square Enix/Avalanche

Just Cause 3

1-Dec-15

42.49

 

$59

1,550,000

83,700,000

NA

.027621

Blizzard

Starcraft II

31-Dec-15

30

 

 

1,000,000

30,000,000

51%

.0153

TOTAL.41416103

       

By all accounts, Halo 5 is off to a strong start, with some estimates being as high as 3M copies sold. I’ve taken the conservative route with a 1M estimate, but still - this is more than a quarter of an Exabyte in download traffic alone. Digital downloading relies on the speed and capacity of the world’s content delivery networks to fuel its growing dominance as a game distribution model. 

 

Follow this blog over the next 8 weeks as we follow the real demands this is placing on worldwide network traffic.

November 4 Update: Microsoft announces sales of $400M for Halo 5 in the first week!  We've updated the calculator to show download traffic from this one game!

November 12 Update: Activision announces sales of $550M for Call of Duty, Black Ops III in its first weekend!!!  The race for blockbuster king is officially on. And what about the traffic impact?  Activision's official press release indicated digital downloads were up 100% from last year's percentage for COD.  Conservative industry estimates for last year's release were 15% digital, so we can confidently estimate this year 30% of COD's downloads will be digital.

November 18 Update: Wow - Not to be outdone, Bethesda Game Studios announced today it sold $750M worth of Fallout4 in its first 3 days.  This astounding figure is a function of year-long build-up and pre-orders for this popular game.  Super Data Research CEO, Joost Van Dreunen @_SuperData estimates digital sales at approximately 1.84M, or 14% of our estimated 12M copies sold.  Oh - regarding the headline for this blog- an astute reader commented on the use of "Torrent" and how it evokes piracy, so we changed it.  We're measuring legit downloads only!

November 24 Update: No word from EA yet on initial sales of Star Wars Battlefront.  Since the game will be releasing some DLC very soon (next week),perhaps EA is waiting for the total picture to develop.  It will certainly be hard for Battlefront to top Fallout4 which built up almost a year's worth of pre-orders, but being one of the millions of Star Wars fans myself, I'm rooting for SW all the way.  Same with Microsoft's TombRaider - a beautiful game that was previewed at E3.  The scenery is magnificent, and they've added new models of play that allow for more stealth and less direct combat (read 'violence") in this version.

December 3 Update:  Microsoft shares that 330,000 copies of Tomb Raider sold in its first week, which at 60% estimated digital distribution brings the the total game downloads closer to a third of an Exabyte!  Game director Brian Horton is happy with the game sales to date, even thought they may have been impacted by the launch of Fallout4 the same week.  Still no word on Star Wars downloads!!!

December 10 Update: Star Wars Battlefront executives are staying firm about projections of 10-13M units by March 31st.  Conservatively - this means the launch is 15.7% through its first sales period, hence our estimate of 1.5+M units sold.  At 52% digital, and using the smaller game size required for XBox One, this amounts to .015 exabyte of traffic just for this blockbuster alone.  Official sales figures for the game have not been released yet, and pricing is mixed with not all vendors following Game Stop's lead in reducing the price to $40.   Need for Speed has no plans to charge for DLC in its "always online" game released November 3rd and it will be interesting to see if this encourages game sales.  Rainbow 6 and Just Cause 3 are garnering many more positive reviews  than negative, but there are indications that Call of Duty and Star Wars may be outpacing them in holiday sales.

December 21 Update:  It's official - we've reached a third of an Exabyte.  Here's how we got to this point:  According to SteamSpy, at least 2.4M or 18% of estimated Fallout4 sales have been sold digitally for PC's, bumping download traffic for this title up 4% over previous estimates.  Forbes Magazine quotes VGChartz estimates for BlackOps III which show cumulative sales at week four hitting 12 million - 1 million higher than our estimate last week, again meaning download traffic has been significant for this title.  No update on Tomb Raider this week, but industry pundits continue to believe that its release day overlap with Fallout4 did not help sales.  We are now 5 weeks into the Star Wars Battlefront launch, with EA estimating (conservatively) that the game will sell 10M copies in 19 weeks, i.e. end of March.  So at 26% of the way, we can conservatively estimate sales have topped 2.5 million and download traffic from this game is fast and heavy.  Still no OFFICIAL word on Rainbow 6, but game is not only continuing to collect excellent reviews, but likely boosted sales this past weekend with a free referral version for Rainbow 6 Siege.

 

December 28 Update: It looks like download volume was heavy and so were complaints when Electronic Arts was likely hit by a DDoS attack on Christmas eve, according to VentureBeat. This brought Star Wars downloading to  a halt for a while.  So rather than assume a Christmas bump, we added another prorated week to the expected sales for Star Wars.  Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six for PS4 and PC also experienced difficulty and required patches. Coming this week the long awaited StarCraft II release.  Also, Steam announces that Tomb Raider's PC version will be available in January which will certainly bump our download chart.

Stay tuned for an early January update where we survey publishers official figures on holiday downloads!

 

January 8 Update: Just Cause 3, released in early December, according to one source has reached 1.55 million units, but nothing official yet from Square Enix.  Starcraft II Legends of the Void sold 1 M units in its first 24 hours, meaning that its co-launch date with blockbuster Fallout4 did little or no damage to this resilient favorite. Another week of Star Wars sales brings us to almost 40% of an Exabyte.  But that’s not all - both Just Cause 3 and Rainbow 6 have issued important patches - meaning even more downloading was needed to get the best performance out of those games.  Big story for another blog - both Sony and EA attacked by DDoS attacks during the holiday week and both attacks likely came from Phantom Squad imitating Lizard Squad’s attacks on Xbox One and PSN last year at the same time.  But both sites were back online after only a few hours. Take that Phantom - the downloads continue - go DDoS Protection Squad!!

 

Final Update February 1:
For this final chart we first updated Star Wars, using a weekly prorated amount based EA's claims that sales have been on track for 10M by March.  Fallout4 continues to be a juggernaut.  After initial sales of $750M, or approximately 12 million, the game went on to sell over 2.5M copies on Steam alone.  Special thanks to SteamSpy who provided this estimate in their annual summary charts.  Activision's Call  of Duty, Black Ops III had a strong PC release, and we added SteamSpy's estimated sales of more than 700000 copies for the PC to this title's estimate also.  As if to confirm this year's crossover from mostly physical to mostly digital, SuperData research just announced worldwide sales of digitally downloaded games topped $61B in 2015 with Activision, Tencent, and Supercell the dominant sellers of digitally downloaded games.  Sadly we've come across no credible reports regarding Need for Speed sales, digital or otherwise so this entry remains blank.  Admittedly, the Microsoft 60% digital estimate is aggressive, and there has been industry controversy regarding the proportion of digital to  in-store sales.  Overall, however, we're confident that digital downloading for these games during the 2015 Holidays totaled more than 40% of an Exabyte-an epic amount of traffic.

 

The next big month in downloads?  It looks to be April of 2016 following the release of many games announced last year at E3, but delayed until the early months of 2016.  Questions?  Comments? Challenges? Happy to hear from readers any time .  Meanwhile - Game on!

Total:  .41416103 Exabytes

Behind the scenes it takes constant innovation and dedication for Limelight to deliver video, software and games to the digital world. We are excited to share with you that Dan Carney, our vice president of operations, has been recognized for his work to make this happen.  He was chosen as one of IDG’s Computerworld 2016 Premier 100 Technology Leaders Awards.

 

Each year Computerworld selects technology and business leaders who display exceptional technology leadership, foster ideas and creative work environments, envision innovative approaches to business problems, and effectively manage IT strategies.

 

Since joining Limelight in 2013, Dan has played a significant role in driving the company’s most important strategic business initiatives. To maximize the potential of the constantly-evolving technology landscape, he has changed Limelight’s IT culture, putting in place processes that improve results, encourage creativity and provide a challenging and rewarding work environment.

 

“Dan Carney’s positive impact on Limelight includes improvements to our network that customers benefit from daily, as well as internal improvements to reduce costs and improve efficiency. He has restructured our IT department to better align with Limelight’s goals, created a greater understanding of IT’s business value, mentored and guided our IT team to reduce turnover, and streamlined our teams to reduce risk. He is very deserving of this distinction and we are very proud to have him on our team.” – Bob Lento, CEO

 

A copy of our press release is posted to our website, and can be found here.

A copy of IDG’s press release can be found here.

 

Congratulations Dan!

Online education continues to grow in popularity and delivering high quality video in a multitude of formats is a real challenge.  Limelight is helping Spear Education easily deliver high quality online video as part of its innovative educational programs for dentists and their staff around the globe. Spear currently has more than 5,000 customers and features over 1,300 research-driven educational videos that dentists and their staff can access in their own offices, on their own schedules.

 

“The move to Limelight has also ensured that videos play when and how they should, on all devices. Because Limelight does all the encoding on the back-end and provides all the formats for any device, we have had not a single complaint from a customer about not being able to play the video.” – Shane Walsh, Director of Video Production at Spear Education

 

If you’d like more insight into Spear’s challenges and solutions, a copy of the press release can be found here and a complete case study is located here.