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Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Darkfall: New Dawn will be released on 26th of January 2018.
The server will remain on the current hosting platform located in Paris.

Introduction:
First off, the main intent was to focus on potential growth with updated population estimates.
We approached the topic with the goal of finding the "center of gravity" that will let most of our potential population get a playable ping.
New York and Paris were the two contenders considered.

Dispelling some of the possible misconceptions that came up since the announcement:
- Server costs were NOT a factor. Server costs are marginal compared to the cost of employees.
- Time was NOT a factor. Moving was expected and prepared. With 2 months remaining, including a free period, we would have had plenty of time to test/fine tune a new infrastrucure.
- InDev in-game activity was NOT taken into account, and sales are just a part of the equation. We looked at outside sources and marketing metrics to make the decision.

Now on to the meat of the subject, NUMBERS:

Our stats:
    - General Sales observations:
        - USA's West coast vs East coast: 17.85% vs 24.65%
        - USA + Canada: From 55% of overall sales in January down to 48.21% now. NA sales remained stable, the rest are simply catching up.


    - Sales per regions:
        - North/South Americas + Oceania: 50.6%
        - West/East/Nordic Europe: 46.93%
        - Asia: 0.85%
        - Others/unspecified: 1.62%
          
    - Detailed Sales percentages in this spoiler.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
       
    - Campaign/engagement analytics
        - Website user analytics from November 2016 to November 2017:
            - North/South Americas + Oceania: 37.45%
            - West/East/Nordic Europe: 58.86%
            - Asia: 3.32%
            - Others/unset: 0.37%


        - Geographical repartission of Newsletters clickthrough:
            - Average clickthrough: 7.11% (Industry at 3.33%)
            - North/South Americas + Oceania: 44.36%
                - USA 35.26%,
                - Canada 5.61%,
                - Australia 2.11%,
                - Others: 1.38%
            - West/East/Nordic Europe: 52.64%
                - Russia 8.42%,
                - UK 5.79%,
                - Germany 5.61%,
                - France 4.74%
                - Others: 28.08%
            - Asia: 1.47%
            - Others: 1.53%


        - Youtube views in the past year:
            - North/South Americas + Oceania: 42.6%
                - USA 34%,
                - Canada 6%,
                - Australia 1.8%
                - Others: 0.8%
            - West/East/Nordic Europe: 55.1%
                - France 7.3% (outlier data)
                - UK 5.7%,
                - Germany 5.6%,
                - Russia 4.8%,
                - Sweden 3.0%
                - Others: 28.7%
            - Others: 2.3%
               

Stats from around the industry:
In this section, please note that percentages will not add up to 100% as we discarded irrelevant data points:
The data has been compiled based on "Top 30 countries by percentage share of the population", which shows consistent data for the major countries, but lacks frequent data for smaller ones.
Unaccounted data ranges between 9 and 12% of the population, which generally discarded East European and South American countries in equal measures.
Overall Asia averaged at 3.676% of overall population and we did not take it into account in our analysis. China in some cases (PUBG) were an outlier and absent from a vast majority.

We took an approach of spreading over multiple games to smooth out innacuracies and see a general trend with as many datapoints as possible.


Which games we picked and why?
    - Old School and/or sandbox MMOs still being run today. Because graphics impact audiences. We need people that long for that path unexplored in the MMO genre or accept date graphics.
    - Closest in large scale capabilities, because we need to know who wants and enjoys the kind of large battles only Darkfall and a couple others can do.
    - MMOs close to Darkfall in design philosophy or heritage. This can be how they handle specialization, the economy, PvE or combat.
    - High population FPSes, because we're at the interection of MMOs and FPSes and Darkfall's aim requirements are very high.
    - Survival games because they have that notion of risk and losses. Their pace is often similar to what day to day Darkfall is like.
Game list:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

European Placement:
- Population with bad latency: 20.48%
    - Part of North America: 11.23%
        - 42% of USA: 9.91%
        - 30% of Canada: 1.32%
    - South America: 5.29%
        - Brazil: 3.63%
        - Argentina: 0.9%
        - Mexico: 0.76%
    - Oceania: 3.35%
        - Australia: 2.75%
        - new Zealand: 0.6%
- Population with playable latency: 16.73% + 42.45% = 59.18%
    - Part of North America: 16.73%
        - 58% of USA: 13.69%
        - 70% of Canada: 3.04%
- Population with good latency: 42.45%
    - Eastern Europe: 16.8%
    - West Europe and Nordic countries: 25.65%

NYC Placement:
- Population with bad latency: 20.15%
    - East Europe: 16.8%
    - oceania: 3.35%
    - We did not count it here, but Argentina and a portion of Brasil may be in this category.
- Population with playable latency:
    - West Europe and Nordic countries: 25.65% + 27.99% = 53.64%
    - South America: 5.29%
        - Brazil: 3.63%
        - Argentina: 0.9%
        - Mexico: 0.76%, though a portion of Mexico might be part of the good latency group.
- Population with good latency: 27.99%
    - USA and Canada: 27.99%


In conclusion:
It seems like early numbers have been skewed by the Darkfall survivors that were still following the game.
We expected the outcome to favor NYC as a location, given the results we shared this January. The spread in 2012 was in favor of NA, and given that, so our observed 55% in favor of NA made sense.
What we've seen is a strong trend of Europe rising in numbers without having less NA sales. It just seemed that more European players were convinced over time, while NA was a constant trickle.
It could also be that one of the bias we expected back in January, that NA culture was more tolerant of pre-orders/early accesses, might have played a role.

The Newsletters and videos we started posting provided one of the data points we were waiting on.
Since it was based around OUR users, it showed the real interest/potential growth for the game. It showed a gap with our past sales, which made us consider that the interest might be different than expected.

We looked for more information on games similar to, or shared specificities, with Darkfall.
In hindsight, our sales, website analytics, Youtube views and newsletter statistics were simply normalizing towards the industry's average spread.

Given how that spread is more favorable towards an European location, we can only conclude that this is where the game will have the most growth potential.
Out of the locations in Europe, we chose to remain in Paris as the other locations would have marginal differences latency wise.
It will give a good ping to a lot more players (+50% over NYC), and a playable ping to more players (+10% over NYC).

Silver lining about remaining in Europe and Paris:
    - Business wise, it hedges the risks of having a wider amount of countries reached by a service. We will not rely on a single economy.
    - We have a great trust relationship with our hosting provider, with team members having worked with them for over a decade.
    - This will allow us to scale comfortably when the need arises, and even physically visit the datacenter anytime we wish.
    - The latest FCC story is something that will not be a risk to the game's hosting, and only serves to confirm our decision.

Of course, we will continue to work on reducing the latency's impact on gameplay.
We've had a few success on that front, specifically on the clunkiness, and we know how to do more.

   
   
Random notes:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

In this spoiler is the original post, with outdated stats but a valid description of what the deciding factors were.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
  • Last Edit: November 26, 2017, 12:46:16 pm by Ub3rgames
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.

Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #1
Wherever we would have placed the server, there would have been a bias.
Changing from one location to another has a cost, so we don't have the luxury to do experimentation as you suggested.
That said, you caused an internal discussion, and we'll be posting in a bit all the data we have, with our potential expected inaccuracies and our decision factors.
This way, the community will understand why we haven't taken a final decision yet.

On your latest comment, are we really that optimistic? Perhaps, but we do believe that there are more players out there.
At least those that were once interested in Darkfall for its potential, but were turned away by its implementation, and that group will not play until either we do enough changes or we make them aware of New Dawn's existence.
This is why we put so much stock into the results of a marketing campaign and the trends it will show afterwards. The spread could potentially be very different, with the old population being inaccurate in spread.

Let's leave this thread for roadmap discussions, for server location, the new thread will be more appropriate.

There would be a bias, but without the option for better latency, the bias wouldn't be as big.

You're right, there was a big group that was turned away by AV implementation of Darkfall, and that was 8 years ago, majority of that group was there with hopes to relive UO pre Ascension times, which dates them even more. At this point in time, only fraction of those people will have time to play another mmo.
Times are changing, your niche slowly dies off. Take EVE for example, they are now seeing decline in their subscriber base, a sign of aging population.

Furthermore, your lack of luxury to experiment with server location, confirms even more that it will remain as is. Unless by some miracle your marketing campaign is going to be even more successful than you think, and you're the one being exceedingly optimistic already.

Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #2
I think the numbers speak for themselves.  55% NA purchases for a EU game.  Just imagine.  /bias

Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #3
Regarding population in various prime-times: It's easier to play 6 hours earlier than prime time during the day, than it is to play 6 hour later past the prime-time. Hence the skewed numbers. You'll see that exact trend in virtually every game on steamcharts.com

Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #4
If you want to call it a World Server you can't have it in America. Turkey fits the location if you want one world server.

It hurts my brain for people trying to justify a world server being in America. Makes zero sense geographically.

I hope you get the funds to have server for the Americans (to stop them crying) then have a world server in a proper location.

Turkey could be great to attract Asian countries to play.

London based player

no turks pls

Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #5
If you want to call it a World Server you can't have it in America. Turkey fits the location if you want one world server.

It hurts my brain for people trying to justify a world server being in America. Makes zero sense geographically.

I hope you get the funds to have server for the Americans (to stop them crying) then have a world server in a proper location.

Turkey could be great to attract Asian countries to play.

London based player
There won't be an emphasis on a World server because the population most certainly won't be evenly distributed throughout the World.

  • Nuyur
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #6
Mega, please realise that the middle of a map is based on where you start drawing.
And that all maps show scales poorly the further from its center you get.

I put it in spoilers, because they are quite oversized...
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
On this map turkey would be in the middle...(sorta)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
And here's the same world with the America's in the middle...

But regardless of where you start drawing...the ammount of people playing from each region isnt equal.
And as such, thats a far better starting point to make any conclusion as to where to place a server.

Personally would love a server in EU (london?), but thats because of low ping desires.
The good of the game is more important than that though, so if a NA (newyork?) server turns out to not be enjoyable for me (i hate delays and timings i cant get right due to latency) ill simply have to give up on the game.
Which isnt a threat, or demand, or anything. If i were in Uber's shoes, id take 5 customers over having 1, no matter howmuch you might want to include all.
  • Last Edit: January 22, 2017, 09:57:36 pm by Nuyur

Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #7
If you want to call it a World Server you can't have it in America. Turkey fits the location if you want one world server.

It hurts my brain for people trying to justify a world server being in America. Makes zero sense geographically.

I hope you get the funds to have server for the Americans (to stop them crying) then have a world server in a proper location.

Turkey could be great to attract Asian countries to play.

London based player
There won't be an emphasis on a World server because the population most certainly won't be evenly distributed throughout the World.

So basically you want North America server, fuck everyone else
I will be playing no matter where the server is.  You've already said you won't play on an NA server.  You don't play because you love the game.  You just play because it's based in EU and you have a good ping. 
Quit your bullshit.
  • Last Edit: January 22, 2017, 10:07:58 pm by _SeeD_

Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #8
I think your metrics are very reasonable and feel whatever choice you come to will be the best for the game, though I admit self bias in saying this I do think server costs can be misleading and have to be looked at through an income lost/cost analysis in that cheaper rent doesnt always equal more profit if the location makes the game unplayable from an area that generates more income than the cost difference. If possible I would research where the end nodes are for each side of the pond and pick one of those points as close as possible, because the current ping is too high for the sw US and even less hardcore players will not play over 150 ping, which should be your ping thresh hold for highest acceptable for a high potential player region (like the sw).

Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #9
If you want to call it a World Server you can't have it in America. Turkey fits the location if you want one world server.

It hurts my brain for people trying to justify a world server being in America. Makes zero sense geographically.

I hope you get the funds to have server for the Americans (to stop them crying) then have a world server in a proper location.

Turkey could be great to attract Asian countries to play.

London based player
There won't be an emphasis on a World server because the population most certainly won't be evenly distributed throughout the World.

So basically you want North America server, fuck everyone else
I will be playing no matter where the server is.  You've already said you won't play on an NA server.  You don't play because you love the game.  You just play because it's based in EU and you have a good ping. 
Quit your bullshit.

Quit your editing.

Stop spamming your nonsense its neither persuasive nor self flattering in its content, you made your point  starting at flimsy and adding to its inanity with every further post.

Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #10
The goal is not to have a world server but a global server for our potential population.
As far as we know, Darkfall is not well conceived for an asian market, neither is the subscription model. Aside from that, we know next to nothing about that market.
It makes more sense to go after the players we know and understand.

The real determining factor will be how the growth continues in the coming few weeks.
The increased infrastructure costs could be negligible or detrimental depending on how much success we have.

No matter what, we will move closer to NA, be it London or NY.
The Darkfall: New Dawn Dev Team.

Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #11
Removed all my posts.
Good luck Ub3rgames.

You said you won't play DND if it is hosted in NA then what will you play? 

Here is the issue.  If server is hosted in Europe a large population from West Coast will play RoA.  If server is hosted in East Coast with a good provider, the EU player will still play DND in NA and West Coast player will also play DND.  

We want to believe DND is a different game and RoA is not relevant.  This is not true yet and it will take some time before RoA won't matter. 

Don't judge NA servers based on how RoA runs their servers. Not all hosting provider are crap or sinking from general traffic in NY area. I am not going to pretend like I am a expert network/infrastructure but I have played MMOs on server managed in East Coast with mostly European players and they got similar ping/reliability to what I am getting to the server in Paris. 
Reality Check - Rise of Agon : Community designed, Tedium free, Elite approved  but struggled to field 25 players for first grand anniversary event...now asking for donations.  Global banking,  Instant travel is not helping lol

  • MSWG
  • [*]
Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #12
First off LOL at all the EU nerds raging about losing there EU server. Secondly I don't understand how this is even a conversation? You just stated in your own numbers NA has 55% of all purchases that means the majority of your player base is NA. Lets look at DF History for a minute which server of DFO was running when it shut down? oh that's right it was NA. Well which DFUW server was way more populated and didn't die in a few months oh yea that's right it was the NA server. Third if you already have mostly NA players and you haven't even touched the west coast yet because most anyone on the west coast wont touch this server with 170-220 ping spiking constantly. I would know I live on the west coast. So I don't know how we don't already have an NA server everything shows that it will be the best and already has been the best in the past. So for all the EU's crying the best place for the server would likely be New York because it makes it playable for west coast NA while still being playable for EU.
aimbot doesnt stop you from getting zerged

Quick look at your post history is enough to not bother with you.

Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #13
So for all the EU's crying the best place for the server would likely be New York because it makes it playable for west coast NA while still being playable for EU.
Says the NA player.

  • nubnax
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
Re: Discussion: Population spread and server location factors
Reply #14
@Ub3rgames
can you roughly estimate where those american buyers are from in the US? i guess that's also an important metric to consider
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