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Subspace will launch its parallel and real-time Internet service for games and meta universe on November 18. Today I discussed this issue with Ron Williams, the company's chief operating officer, at our GamesBeat Summit Next online event.
In the past few years, Subspace has built a parallel network using its own network and hardware, as well as partnerships with dark fiber or Internet suppliers of excess capacity. Now it is launching its self-service network as a service. The network allows developers—such as manufacturers of real-time games—to provide real-time connections to their users.
Founder Bayan Towfiq began to study this problem because the public Internet cannot satisfy key applications that require real-time communication, such as games. The Internet has never been built for real-time interaction. It is plagued by problems such as delay, jitter, and packet loss, which ultimately hurt participation.
Above: Dean Takahashi of GamesBeat talking with Ron Williams of Subspace.
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"Subspace is really working hard to bring what we call private network Internet quality to everyone around the world," Williams said. "This is an Internet service that is actually only available to companies that pay thousands of dollars a month, sometimes tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, to connect their offices or main employee centers to each other to ensure that they Have amazing service. High-quality and secure Internet."
Williams said that the founder of Subspace came up with an elegant solution that now allows the company to provide this premium Internet quality to everyone in the world through any client software device.
"It changed the rules of the game. I'm very excited to dive into it," Williams said. "The history of the Internet has indeed been struggling, mainly to connect more and more people and different types of devices around the world."
Subspace has deployed global private networks in hundreds of cities, including dedicated fiber optic backbone networks, patented Internet weather maps, and customized hardware. This network pulls game traffic off the Internet close to users and ensures the fastest and most stable path.
The company said that for the first time, Subspace allows existing games and Internet applications to bring a private network to every device connected to the Internet, without the need to change the code, VPN client or internal hardware.
Bandwidth provides more throughput, such as adding more lanes on a highway to push more data through the Internet. Latency is the time it takes for a data signal to travel from one point on the Internet to another and back. This is measured in milliseconds (thousandths of a second). If the delay is poor, then the fast action game will not run well. Your frame rate may slow down to a crawl, or you can try to shoot someone and miss it because when you aim at a place, the person is no longer there. Subspace believes that it can reduce latency by 80% for players in 60 countries.
Applications that require low-latency two-way Internet services include games and real-time communications. As developers place 100 or more players in Battle Royale games, the game becomes more and more complex, and they will try to put more than 1,000 players in such games in the future.
Williams said: "No one wants to fight and let another person shoot first because they have better delays."
You can think of what Subspace is building as a ghost Internet, or a network of private servers that can be used by multiplayer gamers to bypass Internet bottlenecks. Subspace solves these bottlenecks, a bit like how Waze helped you—or at least once helped you—find a solution to car traffic congestion. To this end, the company raised $26 million in April 2020. It's a bit like a content delivery network (CDN) for games.
The question it deals with is why the redundant Internet, which was originally designed for use in nuclear war situations, was messed up. Internet packets must jump from one type of infrastructure owned by one company to another type of infrastructure owned by another company. These handovers take time, and routing is not as efficient as expected.
The people who need this kind of dredging traffic most are multiplayer gamers, because the coronavirus has forced us to stay at home and doomed many of us to entertain ourselves through multiplayer games, such as "Call of Duty: War Zone" ( I am particularly obsessed with), League of Legends, or FIFA. Subspace must come up with a combination of software and hardware to create a parallel Internet, or bypass problematic traffic and create a fast track for game companies that pay for Subspace speed.
Above: All the challenges that slow down the game.
Subspace's network platform provides the highest performance agent service for real-time application deployment, operation, and AI optimization and expansion. It does not require end-user hardware or configuration changes, because it is achieved through simple configuration, proxying game traffic to Subspace. It also provides continuous protection against hacker attacks, known as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
In the short term, Subspace has increased the number of players who can play ping, thereby increasing the total addressable market and player engagement.
If Subspace can improve the satisfaction of playing online games, then it can increase the time people spend in games. A 2020 report stated that gamers around the world play an average of 6.3 hours a week, and players between the ages of 18 and 45 play an average of more than 7 hours. This does not include the extra 3.5 hours and 4.6 hours spent by women and men each week watching other people play video games, while the younger group devotes more time.
Companies such as Epic Games and Roblox are adding concerts and by adding a new form of entertainment to the game, giving people more reasons to come back and spend more time in their world. This is how the Metaverse ultimately happens, when we have enough reason to spend a whole day in it.
Above: Subspace is expanding its reach through its network as a service.
It just so happens that making the Internet be beneficial to games and meta-universes. The universes of the virtual world are all interconnected, just like in novels such as "Avalanche" and "Player One".
Epyllion’s meta-futurist and CEO Matthew Ball invested in Subspace. Ball wrote in an article about Metaverse thinking: "In video games, humans have very low latency thresholds, especially when compared to other media. For example, consider traditional video and video games."
He said that ordinary people will not even notice if the audio is out of sync with the video unless it is advanced by more than 45 milliseconds or delayed by more than 125 milliseconds (170 milliseconds in total). The acceptability threshold is even wider, 90 milliseconds early and 185 milliseconds late (275 milliseconds). For digital buttons, such as the YouTube pause button, if we don’t see a response after 200-250 milliseconds, we will only consider our click to fail.
"In 3A games, avid gamers will feel frustrated at 50 milliseconds, and even non-game players will feel blocked at 110 milliseconds," Bauer wrote. "The game cannot be played within 150 milliseconds. Subspace found that, on average, an increase or decrease in latency by 10 milliseconds will reduce or increase the weekly game time by 6%. This is an extraordinary exposure-something other companies do not have. of."
Subspace found that about three-quarters of Internet connections in the Middle East exceed the playable latency of dynamic multiplayer games, while in the United States and Europe, one-quarter is bad. Ball writes that this mainly reflects the limitations of broadband infrastructure, not server placement.
For example, Subspace deploys hardware in hundreds of cities to develop a "weather map" for low-latency network pathfinding, runs a network stack, and then coordinates the needs of low-latency applications with the many third parties that make up the path, Ball wrote , And even established a fiber optic network, which can connect various fiber optic networks to further shorten the distance between servers and minimize the use of non-fiber cabling.
Above: Subspace hopes to provide games without delay.
The functions of the private network used by corporate companies can now be accessed through self-service through any Internet application. Although gaming companies have created large-scale multiplayer online experiences-such as Amazon's New World-they have not considered the interconnection services normally provided by other companies running Internet backbones. This is why game companies have to switch to Subspace.
Brendan Greene, creator of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), proposed the creation of a planet-sized world called Artemis that requires real-time access to extremely detailed worlds. He realized that he needed the latest multiplayer technology to realize this huge world in the next five years or so. Towfiq said that it is the ambition of the game company that will lead to the creation of the metaverse.
Subspace said that in the long run, as the end user experience improves, more consumers will experience the durable, synchronized quality of Metaverse, and it can be accessed by an unlimited number of concurrent users. But today's Internet hinders the vision of metaverse because it requires 100% uptime and ultra-low latency, as we saw in Steven Spielberg's movie Ready Player One.
However, we often see the impact of network latency on real-time interactions, and this impact is exacerbated by the pandemic and the increasing demand for the Internet (remote work). If your Zoom call drops during an important meeting, you don't care who is at fault. You want to fix it. Towfiq said, this is where Subspace comes in. When the application is no longer constrained by the network, the metaverse becomes possible.
Subspace's plan is to reduce game delays and delays on a large scale. It will use its infrastructure to help the massively multiplayer online gaming experience flourish, and it will build more infrastructure to handle more real-time applications to provide real-time connections from anywhere to any place. In the long term, Towfiq's goal is to make the world online.
Williams said that this issue has become urgent because it has been growing in the past decade. For COVID-19, this is like adding fuel to the demand for Internet traffic.
"We all see the need for real-time communication and real-time interaction, and all new applications that may appear in the next 5 or 10 years, such as telemedicine," Williams said.
Capital expenditure is not the real answer to this question.
"In the final analysis, it would be great if we could travel the world, lay millions of miles of new fiber optic cables, and spend billions of dollars on equipment. No one would do that," Williams said. "Therefore, Subspace uses technology that overlaps and intersects with all key points of the Internet, allowing us to correctly obtain the traffic that actually needs to be obtained from the place closest to the consumer. Then we will route the traffic as soon as possible."
Despite this, Subspace has already made a lot of investment. Currently, the company has deployed its equipment in more than 100 cities around the world.
"We recently surpassed Netflix to become the 10th best peer-to-peer network in the world," Williams said. "Amazon is above us. And where we sit. We are building this huge hyperscale network that can reach consumer ISPs and commercial ISPs. We can fully control everything from the end user all the way to the cloud server or private data center. ."
Williams said that Subspace had to raise a lot of money, but did not specify the amount. May need more. But Subspace is working hard to improve efficiency, so it does not have to rebuild the entire Internet.
The company has about 90 people. In the past few years, it has been cooperating with some of the biggest games in the world. Now it makes it easier for small companies to implement it themselves.
"Subspace is working hard to make it easy for developers of any type to access our network," he said.
Above: Subspace's network covers 60 countries.
The meta universe may be the ultimate challenge. Many large games are creating independent meta-universes that people hope to be interoperable. Players want to be able to quickly see each other and teleport around to find interesting things to interact with.
"Games are the biggest challenge we are trying to solve," Williams said. "In a competitive e-sports game, you may win or lose millions of dollars. By solving problems for the game, we let ourselves solve everyone's problems."
Large technology companies have established very large private networks. But Subspace can make real-time Internet available to more companies that cannot afford it.
Metaverse will require a new security model and the need to authenticate users and traffic across multiple companies. You may need some kind of syndicated metaverse password instead of a Google password, and companies need some way to communicate with each other. This means that companies will have to cooperate rather than compete on this level.
"Almost my entire career has been in the field of Internet infrastructure," Williams said. "I was an early pioneer in introducing the Internet to local dial-up, so people didn't have to pay for long distances in the early 1990s."
He worked at Earthlink and Sun Microsystems, and eventually joined Riot Games, where he was responsible for infrastructure and security for nearly six years. After working for several cybersecurity unicorn companies, Williams joined Subspace in Los Angeles.
"I personally think that Metaverse will be just a big company," Williams said. "We saw the large walled garden approach of AOL and CompuServe in the early 1980s. They are super restrictive. With them, the Internet will never become what we have today."
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