Infernum Productions AG is an international online games publisher and developer, with its head office in Berlin. Founded in the summer of 2011, the company specialises in high-quality free-to-play titles, as well as in the areas of social and mobile entertainment. Infernum’s experienced industry specialists have already developed and successfully marketed numerous international fantasy MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role playing games).
The fantasy MMORPG “Dragon’s Prophet” is the young company’s second licensed game. It represents another chapter in the success story that began in mid-2012 with the Infernum game “Brick-Force”, a browser-based fun shooter that was a hit with over 2.5 million players worldwide.
“Dragon’s Prophet” again remains true to Infernum’s successful business model: the basic version of the game is free, but it can be expanded to include chargeable additional services such as special costumes or weapons.
Infernum’s role-play game “Dragon’s Prophet” combines classic fantasy MMORPG features and consequently develops them in the context of a fascinating story in a modern fantasy world. Due to its high degree of innovation and many next-generation features such as action-based combat, deep character development and a cross-server Frontier-PvP system, would-be “Dragon’s Prophet” gamers must download and install an approximately 10 GB data packet prior to playing.
Even where users have relatively fast data connections, download times have often reached up to 4 hours. This waiting period has tested the patience of many users and therefore often resulted not only in the interruption of the download, but also in accordingly negative comments in the Gamer forums. The transfer speed and conversion rate (the ratio between downloads and actual game registrations) therefore required significant optimisation in order to further expand the gaming community, especially in the key geographical regions of Germany, France, Great Britain and Poland.
While Infernum had opted for the content delivery network of one of CDNetworks’ competitors for its previous game distribution, the demanding project specifications meant that its performance would be put to the test again.
In September 2013, therefore, they initiated a performance comparison with a total of five potential CDN partners, in October, followed by another round with the three best performers. At predefined times, users were linked to different servers of the participating CDN providers for their downloads and the results obtained were compared with each other.
CDNetworks emerged as the clear winner in both trial runs. The judges were won over not only by the lowest average download time and the highest conversion rate between downloads and game applications. The responsive and pragmatic support also proved to be one of the great strengths of CDNetworks and thus as an important argument when placing the order. In case of technical problems with the download, it could be overcome partly in direct support contact with the user, without the active involvement of Infernum itself
A content acceleration solution was used that automatically distributed the data via the fastest route to users across the world, transferring the data from a powerful edge server, rather than reacquiring it from the original server.
It combines fast response times with better performance and smooth data delivery and provides high user satisfaction, even under heavy loads. In addition, CDNetworks provides a whole site add-on feature that enables the use of only a single domain, both for cacheable (static) and non-cacheable (dynamic) content. Requests for non-cacheable content are transmitted from the edge servers to the original server, while cacheable content is only delivered by the edge servers.
Advanced content management tools such as self-provisioning or analytics tailored to each customer complete the service portfolio of CDNetworks solution for Infernum’s “Dragon’s Prophet”. Customer-specific adaptations of the IT structure have therefore not had to be made.
Thanks to CDNetworks Content Acceleration the average download time for the 10 GB game file dropped from an average 3.5 to 2 hours – an improvement of around 57%. In addition, the completion rate, i.e. the proportion of players that completed the download, significantly improved: previously around 40%, it has increased by 15% to nearly 46% since the use of CDNetworks.
The performance of CDNetworks by far exceeded expectations, not least on account of the fast and direct support. The company was even able to score points in terms of the total duration of the project: it took just three months from the first test run, still with five potential project partners to the final go-live of the CDNetworks solution.
Although the solution proposed by CDNetworks was not the cheapest out of all competitors, based on the higher number of customers who were satisfied and therefore more likely to purchase, Infernum settled on a collaboration that will pay for itself financially in the long run and provide a solid basis for growth.