Akamai Diversity

The Akamai Blog

Games Drive Christmas Web Traffic

If you turned on a new game console and/or downloaded video games over the holidays, you certainly weren't alone. New data from Akamai shows that game-related traffic delivered across our network was more than double the Q4 average on December 25, and up nearly 50% on December 26. During the same period, traffic for all other industries combined was relatively even compared to the rest of the quarter.

Percent Change From Average Hourly Bytes Delivered - 12_25 and 12_26 (1).pngGaming industry-related traffic compared to all other industries delivered by Akamai on December 25 and 26 compared to the overall Q4 average

In a year that, let's face it, was really hard in a lot of ways, people turned to video games more than ever. They did it for general entertainment, for a needed distraction, and increasingly, to fill the void in social interaction caused by COVID-19 lockdowns and distancing protocols. In fact, Twitter recently announced there were more than 2 billion tweets about gaming in 2020, up 75% from the previous year.

Akamai delivered 1 EB of traffic in just seven days for a single gaming customer. That's more than 10.5 million games delivered over the course of one week, as Mani Sundaram, Akamai's CIO and EVP of global services and support, wrote in a blog post

Suffice to say, that's an extraordinary amount of traffic to manage and deliver. So much so that, at the start of the pandemic, Akamai coordinated even more closely than normal with many of our gaming industry customers, including Microsoft and Sony, to help manage congestion during peak usage periods. Doing so helped us maintain continuity for those customers and their end users. Akamai's CEO and co-founder, Tom Leighton, highlighted those efforts back in March.

The role of gaming in uncertain and unprecedented times was a chord struck by both Microsoft and Sony in Tom's post. In light of the pandemic, Dave McCarthy, corporate vice president of Xbox Product Services, noted the "joy of games," while Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, lauded how "playing video games enables people all over the world to connect with friends and family."

Though we continue to face a lot of questions as we enter the new year, one thing we do know is that people are turning to video games for some semblance of normalcy and connection. To that end, Akamai remains as committed as ever to helping the gaming industry help deliver those experiences to their customers.