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2016

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.

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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'.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.