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  1. #1
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    Game Servers? Profitable?

    Hello,
    I own a small hosting company currently. We only offer two services at the moment: Basic web hosting and reseller hosting.

    I was thinking about extending my services to include Game Server hosting... I have heard that this is a VERY profitable field, is this true?

    I'm not quite sure what Game Server hosting is about, can anyone really explain? I know it requires shell, but what do I need to have (preinstalled MUDs or what)?

    Also, does hosting game servers put you at a high risk of Dos attacks?

    Thanks,
    DivineHost

  2. #2
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    Well, they may open you up to DoS attacks and such due to hostile players, software bugs, etc, but generally, people get their own servers since the load is REALLY high -- not suitable for a shared environment..

  3. #3
    When you take things like Counter Strike into mind, the idea is costly at first, because you need a seperate server for each counter strike server that lease out. Counter Strike Servers usually run at about $50 to $150 USD depending on connection, max amount of allowed players, and so on. So it can take sometime before each server you buy even get paid off, and you start actually making money.

    Not saying it is not a good idea, it can just be harder to get off the ground then a regular hosting company. But if I might recommend, I would wait on going on with these plans of yours, especially if you are thinking Counter Strike Servers, because there is talk that Counter Strike might turn to Pay-To-Play.

  4. #4
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    Dual Xeon 2.4ghz with 2 gb of ram should be able to do around 9-10 cs servers.

    Course this all varies on your player count and overall usage.
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  5. #5
    'Dual Xeon 2.4ghz with 2 gb of ram should be able to do around 9-10 cs servers.'

    You also are not mentioning you need a EXCELLENT CONNECTION for that, You cant buy a dual xeon and run even ONE CS server very well from somewhere like rackshack, Which is somewhere that has horrible latency! You need excellent connections with no latancy to run any type of game server!

  6. #6
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    You could run 9-10 mostly empty servers on a dual setup like that or maybe 9-10 scrim servers.

    Im able to run about 90 Player slots (4-5 game servers) on a Dual 2400 MP (AMD) setup. But then again I focus more on smooth game play than packed to the brim laggy servers.


    Game hosting does make money. However if you do it for "real" you will find the profits are slim.

  7. #7
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    My current machine:

    Celeron 2.0 GhZ
    80 GIG HD
    512 MB RAM
    100mbps connection (1000GB transfer allowed)

  8. #8
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    The game server business is very hard. Unless you feel you can fullfil a nitche, I would recommend against it. I was involved with a known game server business. We were grossing around 4 grand a month. But, we werent profitting very much at all. Plus customers are very fickle.

    You are dealing with a lot of kids who will move to the next best thing in a heart beat, plus you will have to deal with the endless support tickets requesting sponsorship. Today, I still get randoms asking for sponsorship (1-3 a day) and I've been out for over 4 months now.

    On top of that, you will constantly have to work on persons game servers because they will "tweak" the mods just right, and they will break it, blame it on you and your server, and be a pain.

    The day I left the business - I decided to sponsor a known clan, gave them a nice private server for over 4 months, one day the server got a DDos attack and their match that night was going really slow. They pretty much ganged up, in my irc channel, and were saying how horrible the servers were, etc. I was using the Gamerz servers located at SM.

    Again, only if you feel that its something for yourself might I consider it, or if you feel that you can support your game server business with other revenues.

  9. #9
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    Humm, sounds like fun to me :-D I'm gonna look more into it, see what profits are possible, ect...

  10. #10
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    Oh, by the way, what games are a MUST when providing game servers?
    I know Counter-Strike is definately one, anything else?
    How many servers can your run on one machine before having to get another one?

  11. #11
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    Day of Defeat is another very popular Half-Life addon. Natural Selection is gaining popularity, though I'm not sure exactly how much recognition is there.

    One thing you may also want to try, is offering Ventrilo and Teamspeak servers to your customers. I've been thinking about just this myself, and looking at the Ventrilo licensing price, it would be a huge money maker, if you can find the right market and the right people to buy them. Ventrilo currently prices it's licensing at $.10 per slot on each server, and if you were charging just $1.00 per player slot, with 100 paid slots, it would leave you with a profit of $90.

    Though I'd recommend keeping communications software on a seperate server from the game servers, I've been looking at www.jvds.com and their unmetered streaming media VDS plans. With a $90 profit after licensing, and $35 for their FreeBSD or RedHat/Debian Unmetered plan, you'd make a profit of $55.

    Now I know it doesn't seem like much in the long run, but it could help offset game server costs, and would add up if you were to recieve a good amount of customers in the end.

  12. #12
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    Yep offsetting cost is important. True I didn't mention connection speed but thats a given for the industry anyway. And yes you can host 9-10 scrim cs servers without lag on a dual xeon if the rocket launcher is not enabled.
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  13. #13
    Rocketlauncher in CS eh

    Gotta get me one of those.
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  14. #14
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    Half-Life and its mods are nice.

    I would start looking into the HL2 movement, and be prepared to advertise heavily. Hopefully you can take a lead in that market, it will boom.

  15. #15
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    Im actually trying to get away for HL and its mods.

    Steam is a POS and updating the servers has become a large
    hassle and vey time consuming.

  16. #16
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    we all hate steam biggest mistake by valve in halflifes history.
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  17. #17
    I second that.

    The CPU usage is out of control. I feel as though their linux effort has gone south, and it doesnt inspire great hope for HL2.

    I may have to buy windows licenses just for halflife. Yuck.
    "The only difference between a poor person and a rich person is what they do in their spare time."
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  18. #18
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    I have it running on windows and it is still being a CPU Whore.

    Its starting to look like this game is going to 1 game per server in the end....... ouch.

  19. #19
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    CS server prices are going to sky rocket because of Steam. If I could only have 1 server per machine, I would be charging upwards of $5/slot.
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  20. #20
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    My son wants me to run a server for his Halo game.
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  21. #21
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    lol, Halo is a cpu sucker as well.
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  22. #22
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    Ya Halo is a bit rough on the CPU......... but at least you dont have to spend hours on it trying to get it to run.

    And HL2 I would bet money on is going to be one server per box.

    Oh well, time to forget about HL2 and rent out dedicated servers.

  23. #23
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    On a note MUD/MOO hosting takes very little processor ,bandwith , and memory :-)

  24. #24
    I still have a UT2K3 server going strong, I run 2 servers on one machine. I am not in the business of game hosting though I have thought about it. I run this one because I like having my own server to play on
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  25. #25
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    I'm considering getting into the game server market, but not as managed game servers.

    Where I co-locate, people get great connection times to my servers for CS and Battlefield. I'd basically lease out a dedicated server, and they could put whatever games they want on it to run. They of course would be billed for their bandwidth

    One of the community sites I run wants me to throw up a BF1942 Desert Combat server, and I just might for advertisement for my gamer community...

  26. #26
    Originally posted by pixel_fenix
    Dual Xeon 2.4ghz with 2 gb of ram should be able to do around 9-10 cs servers.

    Course this all varies on your player count and overall usage.
    I really would love to know how you managed to get 9-10 cs servers on a dual xeon 2.4ghz server. I have had a 24 player CS server take 80-90%. Ofcoarse that number seemed to have droped abit, after a few steam updates.

  27. #27
    Originally posted by 2Guns
    I have it running on windows and it is still being a CPU Whore.

    Its starting to look like this game is going to 1 game per server in the end....... ouch.
    I have just recently got a Dual Xeon 2.4ghz, 1GB ram, windows 2000 machine, and have seen upward to 20 players on one of my cs1.6 game servers with the task manager hardly ever going beyond 1%. Now I am thinking if I should be getting windows servers instead of linux. Since on one of my linux servers (dual xeon 2.0ghz 1gb ram) 20 players ends up taking 80% of one of 4 cpus (hyper threading 2 x 2 physical cpus = 4 cpus)

  28. #28
    In my experience, game server hosting can make alot of money, but at the beginning it can be a money sucking business. Dont expect to be breaking even for a while. Also, be prepared to have clients that will email me about any problems they might have, even problems that they might have caused, like tweaking a CS addon a certain way causing it to crash (steam made it all possible).

    Also, you will have to start worrying about ping times and locations. You will get some people signing up, ordering a server from location x, getting the server setup, only to find out he is located 5000kms from the server and starts blaming you for the ping time.

    You will also get clients that are not very fluent in computers, so you have to help them out a bit at the begining and push them in the right direction. You might also get some clients that like to write with caps lock on and like to emphisize everything they say.

    Now, if you are patient enough to go through all that, you have to start looking at the hardware/hosting and figures.

    Now, a dual Xeon 2.0ghz can handle about 4x 20 player CS servers. Lets say you rent a server out from ev1servers (rackshack), you will be paying about 265usd/month for the server.

    265/4 = $66.25USD/month cost per game server.

    So you will have to charge atleast that if you maintain the above model (4x20max for dual xeon 2.0).

    I charge $81.95 for a 20 player server, so if I take this approach, I am only making $15.70USD/month per 20player to support and maintain the server.

    It sure is a good thing I enjoy this business, otherwise I would have been out of it long ago. Then again, Im a fighter, not a quiter.

    Hope this helps!

  29. #29
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    windows for steam is the way to go..... you can easily get 6-8 CS servers (about 7 20 person servers) (well less than 6 if one or 2 are running mods such as warcraft 3 or superhero mods for CS) but anyways a 32 person server on a windows 2000 (2003 is better) will take about 5% of usage when it is FULL (with amxmod, metamod, and was on de_airstrip)

    thats my 2 cents for ya....


    games such as COD, MOHAA, BF1942; id say depending on the size, no more than 1 per CPU..... (so no more than 4 because of hyperthreading )

    *oh yeah the server was a dual 2.4 xeon with 1.5 gig ram

    also i know a person at SM that has theor supergamerz package (with a P4 3GHz with hyperthreading, 1.5 gig ram) and he has a 64 BF1942 server along with a 16 person ravensheild server on it, running fine....

  30. #30
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    Zero your numbers are misleading at best.

    There is no way a 32 person server could only take 5% of the CPU. And even if it was true that would suggest you could run 16 32 player servers (or 512 player Slots) at only 80% Server load.

    80 Player slots is a more real number.

    And 2 CPU's with hyperthreading will never be equal to 4 real CPU's.



    And a 64 player BF and a Raven on a 3 Gig HT machine............

    Maybe


    Thanks for your time.

    2Gunz

  31. #31
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    ahh the days before steam good luck guys.
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  32. #32
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    Why did they release steam in the first place .

  33. #33
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    Originally posted by TeKiZeRo
    Why did they release steam in the first place .
    For $$$. They wanted to explore new methods of selling games to gamers. Ways such as frustration, pain, and fear.

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