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Game Server Providers

There are four main types of game server providers available to gamers via the internet. Though the servers are run through an internet connection, they serve more than multi-player games run on the World Wide Web. Gamers using gaming devices like Play Station and Wii, which are hooked up to a television, may also connect to any number of game servers. Dedicated, listen, Ventrilo, and private, are four common game servers.

A dedicated game server is used by players playing multi-player games. The dedicated game server collects, stores, and releases information from each player through the server. The information is provided to other players and can include player statistics, whether or not they are online, and which game room they are in.

A dedicated game server uses an individual computer to store the information in a data center. The individual computer hosts the server application. Data centers are located throughout the country, primarily in large cities. A certain amount of bandwidth is needed in order for the server to collect and distribute player information. The more players connected to a server, the more bandwidth is needed.

Listen servers are used by players who want to host and play the game. Typically, when a player stops hosting, the particular listen game server they were using is terminated. A listen server uses less bandwidth because, for the most part, they are run by individuals, not through data centers.

This type of server is best used when there are a limited number of players. It is common for the client to use the same computer to play multi-player games that the listen server is being run on. Listen servers are mostly run through a LAN party rather than over the internet. A LAN party is a group of people who have set up a local area network (LAN). LAN parties can be both large and small.

A Ventrilo game server is used by a wide number of players. Ventrilo servers, commonly referred to as vent, let players communicate amongst themselves through voice rather than typing. This is popular because it frees up the players hands, allowing them to speak and play the game at the same time. A microphone attached to a headset allows the players to speak to one another. Though not all players may be using a vent server, they can normally hear what other players on the vent server are saying.

Private game server providers allow individual clients to control the server. Not all private game servers are legal. Private game servers often copy other legal game servers and are used by an individual instead of a group of players, called a clan or guild. Some private servers are considered illegal because, “they emulate copyrighted material.”

Subscribing to, or leasing a game server costs money depending on the game server provider. Some are free, and the rest vary on price. A client pays to lease the server and other players using the server can make a donation to chip in on the cost. Again, depending on the game server provider, benefits range among each server.

Benefits include clan/guild websites which include a donation link, support, and forums. Other benefits include, 24/7 support, clan sponsorship (not typical), dedicated forums, low pings, uninterrupted gaming, communication between players, and connection to a large network of other players.

The old adage, you get what you pay for, is true when it comes to free game server providers. Free providers offer limited bandwidth and fewer benefits. Most free providers can only be utilized by clients for a few hours at a time as opposed to leasing a game server, paid on a monthly basis, with unlimited usage. Free game servers do not host all games, further limiting their use.

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