Biggest gaming ISP in SA revealed
Over 550TB of data consumed by SA gamers each month – but which provider serves the bulk?
South Africa’s gaming service providers (GSPs), including Afrihost, iGame Online, IS Gaming, MWEB Gaming, and Web Africa, handle over 550TB of gaming traffic combined for their users each month.
We asked the GSPs to break down their gaming traffic usage patterns, and it turns out that on average MWEB Gaming handles the most traffic each month. MWEB Online Gaming Manager Desmond Kurz said that they have a monthly average of about 53,500 Gigabytes (53.5TB).
An Afrihost spokesperson revealed that the service provider has transferred just over 200GB of gaming traffic in the past 3 months. In one month during that period, 130GB of data was transferred.
“We’ve seen a dramatic rise in gaming traffic recently,” especially on our Minecraft server. Gamers moved just over 80GB last month on our Minecraft server, which is becoming more and more popular as new fans join the community. Our Valve games server moved just short of 50GB in the same period.”
“We’re pretty satisfied, based on overall usage rise, that all our gamers are getting good service from our servers,” said Afrihost.
iGame head of product, Zahir Khan said that they track around 7TB of gaming traffic across their network over the course of an average month. On top of game traffic, this includes beta and patch file servers which generate around 1TB – 2TB per month. iGame said that their Johannesburg POP sees more traffic that their Cape Town POP.
“The largest amounts of data used are normally during the months in which big new releases are made,” said Khan. “The single biggest month of data usage we have seen to date was the launch month of the Battlefield 3 Beta. We saw around 50 Terabytes of Data being used to and from our servers over the course of the Beta period.”
“The largest single user we have on record used an incredible 12GB of pure gaming server traffic over the course of a single month, putting in an average of 8 hours a day over the course of a calendar month,” said Khan.
Mweb Online Gaming Manager Desmond Kurz said that in the last 6 months, the MWEB gaming server network served just over 320,000 Gigabytes (320TB) of data traffic, with a monthly average of about 53,500 Gigabytes (53.5TB).
Over the last six months, the MWEB Cape Town gaming servers saw 114,120 Gigabytes of data traffic, whereas MWEB Johannesburg saw 205,940 Gigabytes of data traffic.
“Our record month so far has been in December 2012, where the MWEB gaming servers had over 65,000 Gigabytes of data traffic,” said Kurz.
“All gaming-related servers are counted in this data traffic, which includes content servers (Steam and GamersGate), the MWEB GameZone FTP site, as well as all of our gaming servers for the 50+ titles we host,” explained Kurz.
“The MWEB Steam servers generated 205,400GB of data traffic over the period 1 August 2012 to 31 January 2013 and MWEB GamersGate over the same period generated 51,525GB of data traffic. That’s a combined total of 256,925GB of data traffic from the MWEB content servers over that period, which tells us that digital distribution of gaming content is alive and well,” said Kurz.
“At MWEB, we’re very pleased to be able to provide local access to content of this quality for the South African gamers, who can now enjoy a wealth of digital gaming content at local download speeds. The MWEB GameZone team are always on the lookout for more opportunities to localise additional content for our gamers, thereby improving their gaming experience. We’d especially like to offer more localised content for our console gamers, which is an ongoing drive for our MWEB GameZone team,” said Kurz.
Davin “Kradenko” Hansen, gaming services manager at Internet Solutions, said that Internet Solutions only started measuring gaming-specific traffic in January. Hansen provided the following breakdown for January 2013:
- Gaming servers – 2TB per month.
- Content server – 8TB per month.
Hansen points out that although data has only been measured recently, they have observed “seasonal” spikes in gaming traffic. Noteworthy are school holidays and big online gaming sales/game releases.
Internet Solutions hosts all its gaming servers in Johannesburg, Hansen explained. “The IS connectivity between major metropolitan areas is extremely robust, and latency is not a problem. At this point, it has not been necessary to host POPs in CT,” said Hansen.
“We’ve been engaging with new suppliers, and have recently invested in new servers. As we work to improve the network as a whole, we feel the overall gaming experience on the IS network will be markedly improved,” said Hansen.
Web Africa said they do not log traffic details on the level of game files and gaming traffic. “Although we prioritise gaming traffic separately on our network to optimise performance we don’t separate it on our usage logs so don’t have this level of insight,” the company said.
Web Africa was able to tell us that their Steam servers shift on average 15TB of data per month.
SAIX Gaming did not respond by the time of publication