Video gaming is going gangbusters. This as a new report reveals massive global gaming demand, with more than half of the global population—52%—now playing games and the majority of them—fully 77%—playing multiplayer games. Ancillary trends foretell sustained gaming growth, like the recently released $678.80 Billion Metaverse market forecast and separate finding that global Web 3.0 market size expected to reach $81 billion by 2030.
With the holidays approaching when gaming solutions are gifted and played extensively, I connected with gaming tech executive Max Podkidkin, Co-Founder & CEO of BisectHosting, for some insights and tips relating to one burgeoning trend in particular: gaming server hosting. While applicable to an array of games, one that’s overtly driving (and decidedly benefitting from) the private gaming server category is Minecraft, which is currently the world’s No. 1 game and industry’s best-seller to date.
MK: First, what’s the difference between a gaming server hosted by a company like yours and other kinds of servers?
MP: Instead of doing typical web hosting for website pages and other Internet-based content, we specialize in gaming servers, specifically. Gaming servers have their own technology and security considerations, so using a gaming-specific hosting company can significantly ease and expedite the consumer experience while also safeguarding the user’s custom-built content. Furthermore, our support staff is comprised of gamers who are familiar with the games we host and are trained to handle the challenges that can arise with game server hosting. This, especially in combination, is something you wouldn't be able to get at a typical hosting company.
MK: More and more gamers are seeking to have their own gaming server. In a nutshell, what would you say is the best reason to do so?
MP: With so much of the global population now playing video games, and nearly 80% of those people playing them online with others, having a gaming server is best for those gamers who want to play remotely with friends and family, or even join random servers to play with strangers and eventually become friends. Starting your own gaming server is a great way to build your own little community—one that is also private and entirely controlled by the user.
MK: Amid the privacy and closed loop benefits of having your own gaming server, why would someone then want to utilize a third party server hosting company?
MP: While it’s is possible to host a server at home on your computer, you’ll then have to worry about keeping your computer on 24/7. Not only does this have energy cost implications that could become quite expensive, but many internet providers are starting to limit how much bandwidth their customers can use per month and charge more for breaching usage benchmarks. And then there are technical considerations, like having to go into your router settings to change network configurations that runs the risk of completely breaking a home connection. With third party server hosting, gamers don't have to worry about any of that and can just enjoy a turnkey private community experience within seconds, allowing them to start playing almost immediately. And, back to the control aspect, you can then govern who joins what games are being hosted on the server.
MK: Any benefits of private hosting to the gaming experience, itself?
MP: Absolutely. For one, you, or others you authorize, can also install plugins or Mod packs, which are like different pieces of software that are made by members of the community that completely change the game for which it was created. So, rather than folks getting bored playing the old normal Minecraft, on your own server you can allow installation of these different features that completely change the game and make it very different than from the original. This keeps things fresh, fun and challenging.
When you have your own server with a reputable hosting company, you can have full peace-of-mind and control everything. You can add and remove elements from games, choose who joins what, set your own narrative and more. Overall, you can make your gaming worlds to be whatever you want them to be. With Minecraft, especially where the worlds are procedurally generated, you can build a world with friends and family that can last for many, many years. It’s a great way to build something together as a community with people you enjoy.
MK: What about making game server hosting not just fun and successful, but also safe?
MP: Yes, it’s best when third party servers are housed in professional data centers that have multiple layers of both physical, on-site and software-driven security. To even gain entry in these facilities usually requires an identification check and even fingerprinting, and phones and cameras are usually not allowed into the data center. Then there are layers of cybersecurity protocols in place. It’s important to do due diligence on a hosting provider to ensure they are reputable, and that management is accessible and experienced in the field. Unfortunately, in this space, I’ve seen many companies come and go that are sometimes run by very young, inexperienced kids without real business acumen. And, of course, it’s imperative to ensure your data on the server is safe, because you're giving these companies not just copious personal and financial information but also your server’s data. Sadly, I’ve seen companies just shut down with players losing all of their data and losing their gaming worlds. For those who have worked with their friends or family for a long time building their world together and then suddenly lose it all, it’s extremely upsetting.
MK: On that note, what about customer service. I understand you feel the game server hosting industry at large has been lacking in customer service standards. Can you elaborate a bit on that?
MP: Yes, before starting this company, I actually had my own Minecraft server hosted by a company and had numerous issues with customer service. So, I personally understand the consumer mentality and historical service shortcomings. Now as the owner and operator of my own gaming server company, we go over-and-above to satisfy our users. This includes bundling features that other gaming server hosting providers charge extra for. Instead, we offer packages that package everything together to making things easier and more cost effective. We have 24/7 support, and our customers get a reply to their support tickets with an average of 15 minutes—day or night, no matter what. Our support staff also never tells a customer “we don’t know” about an issue ... it either gets escalated, we look it up or figure it out some other way as quickly as possible so we don’t leaving an issue unresolved for too long.
Of course, keeping data safe and secure is mission critical, so back up all of our servers every single day. So, if you install a plugin or mod, mess up a configuration file, or if someone accidentally or maliciously deletes part or all of a world, that server owner can restore up to seven days of backups and save a ton of hardship and angst. We are also the only server company that stores files from of all the cancelled servers for about two years. So, a customer that used to have a server with us can come back fully two years later, and literally pick up where they left off, which can be very nostalgic and exciting—especially if it's an old group of friends that got back together and wants to restart their server.
In gaming, and especially with respect to Minecraft, the community aspect is huge. In fact, Minecraft—and certainly Max’s server hosting company—wouldn't be where it is today without the communal facet of the experience. This Max has taken to heart, prompting his company to give back to society at large and get involved with numerous charitable causes like Gamers Outreach—a charity that empowers hospitalized families through play.
Based on the ever-escalating statistics, today’s gamers are clearly craving connectivity more than ever before. Having achieved critical mass benchmarks, consumers can now level up their dedicated server hosting game and assuage their group engagement urge easily, expeditiously, safely, securely and cost effectively. It’s a win-win all around.
About the Author: Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand strategist and analyst who reports on cultural shifts and trends as well as noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the “Savvy Living” lifestyle TV show that airs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta and other major markets on CBS, FOX and other top networks; as well as the “Savvy Ventures” business TV show that airs nationally on FOX Business TV and Bloomberg TV. As a prolific lifestyle, travel, dining and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, Merilee keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv / Instagram www.Instagram.com/MerileeKern / Twitter www.Twitter.com/MerileeKern / Facebook www.Facebook.com/MerileeKernOfficial / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.