Scalability and Consistency in Server Based Network Gaming Essay

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2 Background
2.1 Industry
The online games market - whilst known by the industry as in its infancy [4] - should surpass $15 Billion this year and sales of virtual goods likely to exceed $1 Billion [1]. This very profitable young market can be debated as the future of gaming [2]. With the cost of Broadband technology going down and online services offering a larger amount of micro-transactions and subscription based games – not to mention virtual goods – it would be hard to resist by any gamer. For example it was reported within 5 days of MODERN WARFARE 2 (MW2) being released it had made $550 million in revenue and an online player base of 8 million, an “army” bigger than real world countries [5]. Not to mention the “Behemoth “of the
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With such high initial start up costs it can be understandable why there is little growth in small scale Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games. You can argue that if making said games weren’t as expensive there would be a more diverse market, for this to happen advances must be made in server based technologies to lessen the cost of development whilst offering high scalability and consistency[4][10]. 2.3 Security – needs referencing
With such high initial costs network games should plan security from the start of the game designing process, finding out late in development that certain areas of the game are vulnerable to cheating - which in this article I’ll define cheating as unintended and unauthorised game interaction which gives a player an unfair advantage - can prove very costly. If the network game isn’t secure it can greatly hinder the many players experience. For this article I won’t talk about social engineering (which is a big threat to player accounts in online games regardless of platform [7]) however concentrate more on the technical aspect of Client-Server architecture.
When dealing with cheating in Network games it is crucial that the whole state of the game is consistent and fair to all players. However this can be jeopardised if the player manages to get a biased game state in their favour e.g. blocking/modifying game states for their

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