TL; DR: Social media has made gaming communities mainstream. Gamers from all over the world can now connect on Twitch, YouTube, and Discord and form groups to play together. This has also resulted in a higher demand for personal gamer servers. Southnode offers high-performance servers to enable gaming communities of any size to host smooth gameplay for even the most demanding video games. We spoke with Zac Arthur, Managing Director of Product and Architecture at Southnode, about the hosting platform and its unique benefits.
Streaming and social media have transformed the gaming industry in more ways than one. Gaming, which was once a niche hobby, has turned into a social platform for people to connect and play within a community environment. Meanwhile, Twitch and YouTube provide an outlet for viewers to follow their favorite gamers, watch gameplay, and interact with streamers in real time.
Much of this reshaping occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a time when all people could do was stay home, gaming made a resurgence like never before. It was an excellent way for people to entertain themselves while meeting up in a virtual setting with like-minded people when it wasn’t possible elsewhere. High-population video games, such as BattleBit Remastered, became super popular since multiple people could join a lobby and play at once.
But to host high-population games, you need high-performance servers to meet the needs of these demanding game environments. Entering the gaming arena in 2020, the team at Southnode saw this as the perfect opportunity to establish its game server hosting platform and provide users with gaming servers they need.
“Southnode started in 2020, in response to the problem that we’re here to solve, which is a lack of high-performance game servers. High-population game servers typically didn’t have that much support within the industry. It seemed to be something that was a bit untapped,” said Zac Arthur, Managing Director of Product and Architecture at Southnode.
Coming from the consumer side, Zac understood that a gap existed in the market for high-performance servers not only in his home country of Australia but also worldwide. Southnode fills this gap with its servers and affordable hosting plans. Southnode currently has datacenter locations in Sydney, Australia and Chicago.
Powering Resource-Intensive Games
As new technologies emerge, gaming has evolved. Video games have become more complex, visually appealing, and demanding from the server side. AI has introduced new challenges and requires additional resources to power its integration in the gaming landscape. With these changes, supplying high-performance servers has never been more important. And this is the mission that’s pushing Southnode forward.
“We were able to build our platform from the ground up to have the performance that we require. We take the desktop processor, which these games were designed for, put that in a server, and add on more enterprise features,” said Zac.
Zac said Southnode has the best of both worlds. It allows users to have the high performance they seek while giving them the reliability of enterprise services. Because its infrastructure is custom made, Southnode can ensure users receive the performance required to host smooth gaming experiences, whether for a small group of five friends or a large community with thousands of players.
“This is a platform that is specifically designed to ensure that you don’t even know that you’re playing on a server. You think you’re playing locally,” said Zac.
Southnode only includes the best game hosting specifications for its plans, with fast RAM, NVMe storage, and Intel CPUs. The team also partnered with a development studio called Offworld Industries that specializes in 100-player, first-person shooter games to establish its platform design and ensure customer needs will be met.
“As the density increases in terms of players being in the same server, the requirements for these more high-performance server platforms will increase. So the demand for our particular product will grow and grow,” said Zac.
Providing Specialized Services Unmatched by Competitors
As personal game servers become more popular, many hosting companies have expanded their offerings to capture their share of the market. But what sets Southnode apart from its competitors is that it specializes and only focuses on improving the game hosting experience.
“We’re here to be a more premier and specialized service – to come in and offer these services at a much more effective level. So we’re able to provide a level of service that is unmatched by others and expertise in making sure that these things do what they should do,” said Zac.
Zac already told us about how Southnode built its platform from the ground up to provide hosting environments tailored to the gaming experience. Southnode has also specialized plans for different gaming support. Some of its most popular game offerings include Squad, Path of Titans, Valheim, Post Scriptum, and of course Minecraft.
Southnode can easily power high-population gaming environments. But high-population games aren’t the only part of its wheelhouse. AI capabilities have been advanced in the gaming industry, and Southnode ensures that its plans can accommodate the most demanding of environments.
“When you have artificial intelligence in the mix, where you’re talking responsiveness and how natural the environment feels when navigating around it, that again is where we come back into the picture. Our high-performance servers can make your AI nice and snappy,” said Zac.
Zac told us Southnode reaches into the game development space as well. The team works with studios and indie developers during the startup phase of their projects, providing infrastructure such as official servers. “We work with partnered developers to ensure that when their project is released, or during the development process, they have the proper tools they need to succeed and have a stable launch for their players and backers,” said Zac.
Helping Customers With Simple Solutions and 24/7 Support
Southnode is here to be a simple solution to user problems. This is why the team set out to deliver top-notch customer support and easy-to-navigate hosting services. Zac told us Southnode has made a conscious effort to help customers through their journeys.
“Hosting is something that’s brand new to a vast majority of our customers. So we have the expertise in these particular games that we support and have figured out what works and what doesn’t to make sure the initial process is as easy as can be for customers,” said Zac.
Southnode has simplified everything from setup to user experience. Users can order a server plan and have it deployed within a minute. Southnode’s software platform has a graphical interface that helps make customization simple. Users can also access Southnode’s 24/7 expert support and ticketing system to get issues resolved.
“When a customer runs into an issue, particularly those experimenting with modifications, our customer service team comes in to ensure that they are supported in whatever they want to do,” said Zac.
Southnode prioritizes customers and its reviews are evident of it. Zac said Southnode’s primary marketing is word-of-mouth and most users are blown away by its support and experience. And the team continues to improve its platform to increase performance and meet customer needs.
“We’re always looking for the latest and greatest in terms of pushing the envelope on what performance is and the assumption of performance could be. We’re also looking at expanding out towards Europe, making sure that we have that complete coverage for wherever our customers may be,” said Zac.