IMC '05, 2005 Internet Measurement Conference Abstract
Pp. 114 of the Proceedings
Awarded Best Student Paper!
Measurement-based Characterization of a Collection of On-line Games
Chris Chambers and Wu-chang Feng, Portland State University; Sambit Sahu and Debanjan Saha, IBM Research
On-line games are a rapidly growing Internet application. Because of the cost in supporting on-line games and the unpredictable load on servers, companies are moving toward sharing infrastructure for game hosting. To efficiently provision on-line games, it is important to understand game workloads and the behavior of game players. In this paper, we present a comprehensive analysis of a collection of on-line game players and game workloads using data from several sources including: a 13-month trace of an extremely busy game server containing over 2.8 million connections, a two-year trace of the aggregate game populations of over 500 on-line games, and a 4-month trace of a content-distribution network used to deliver games. The key findings from our measurement study are: (1) these gamers are an extremely difficult set of users to satisfy and unless game servers are properly set up and provisioned, gamers quickly choose to go elsewhere, (2) the popularity of these games follows a power law making games difficult to provision at launch time, (3) game workloads are predictable only over short-term intervals, (4) there are significant challenges in hosting games on shared infrastructure due to temporal and geographic synchronization across different games and other interactive applications, and (5) game software updates are a significent burden on game hosting that must be planned for. Our results have implications for both game publishers as well as infrastructure providers.
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