i3D.net year review: Looking back at 2023 and plans for 2024

i3d.net year in review 2023
9 January 2024

The end of the holiday season marks a return to work with new plans and ambitions for the coming year. But to fully anticipate what comes next, we must also take stock of 2023, and there is certainly a lot to take pride in. 2023 was an eventful year for i3D.net, where we saw all our teams explore new and unchartered waters, with continuous improvements to the (network) backbone and fostering connections, in both the digital and real worlds.  

Starting from i3D.net’s visual update to an important convergence between two teams of network and multiplayer gaming experts, this year truly had it all. With many new and exciting games launched on our platform, new data centers added to our global footprint, additional tools released for customers and fresh ideas with changes in the leadership team, there is a lot to go over, not least of which concerns the many milestones crossed and the awards picked up along the way.

Each significant moment in 2023 has helped us move ever closer to our goal of connecting 1 billion users — by reaching the 840 million mark in 2023 — on our platform and stay true to our core purpose:

Creating a digital future and connecting global audiences.

Table of Contents

Exploring new, unchartered waters

i3D.net's new look

One of the most important changes came at the beginning of the year, in March when the i3D.net brand went through a visual refresh. There are always upgrades to the identity of brands and companies throughout their growth cycle, and i3D.net’s 21st year brought a new logo, and changes to the brand colors, more in line with i3D.net’s evolving goals and ambition. The new logo pays homage to i3D.net’s gaming roots and the fact that our products have been designed to keep gaming communities and real-time audiences online. Much like a rocket ship — the new logo’s inspiration — i3D.net has consistently looked to explore unchartered spaces at the highest possible speeds. The new logo and visual upgrade do not mean that our approach to high performance and customer excellence has changed: in fact, it better reflects all we are looking to achieve with our customers and users on the platform.

Strategic expansions and collaboration

A major pivotal moment of 2023 saw i3D.net add over 40 infrastructure specialists to its growing team in August, leading to new offices in Montreal, Canada and Paris, France, alongside establishing two new data centers for Smartdc, i3D.net’s sister company, which offers colocation services in four countries. This was the result of a convergence with Ubisoft Hosting Services (UHS), now a part of i3D.net’s global operations. The new team members bring decades of game hosting and infrastructure and network operations to i3D.net, with additional features such as build machines and other tools added to its platform, improving game online services and the larger network as well.

i3D.net's new supervisory board and changes to the director’s team

Our founder and former Managing Director Stijn Koster announced his transition to the role of Chairman of the newly-formed supervisory board at i3D.net in October. i3D.net has always looked to make transparent and effective decisions, and the supervisory board will ensure that the management and leadership team continue to keep these principles front and center moving forward as well.

Bart Kemps becomes the new Managing Director

Stijn’s transition to the new role meant that there was a vacancy for the position of Managing Director, and our former Chief Commercial Officer Bart Kemps took over the helm of affairs as a result. Bart has been a core part of the i3D.net team since he joined in 2015. During that time, he has performed functions in most commercial aspects of i3D.net, ranging from sales to product and marketing roles. He has been a core member of the director’s team for many years and deeply understands the values of the company. He is excited to continue what Stijn started so many years ago in his dorm room—the result of which is today’s i3D.net. Congratulations on the new role, Bart!

It has been a year of remarkable change and growth, and I am immensely proud of all that we have achieved together in 2023. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead such an exceptional team and look forward to another year of shared success in 2024.

Bart Kemps

Jeroen de Koning takes over as Chief Commercial Officer

The director’s team was also happy for Jeroen de Koning to join them as the new Chief Commercial Officer as a result of Bart taking over the role of MD. For the past five years, Jeroen has been wearing many hats on the commercial side of things at i3D.net. As VP of Product and Marketing, Jeroen (or JdK as our teams and customers know him) has helped us reach the next level in the market and plan for commercial success in the future. Congratulations Jeroen, we wish you the best of luck and success with your new responsibilities!

Continuous improvements to our network backbone

i3D.net was proud to be ranked second in the global ranking for networks with most AS adjacencies in 2023, quickly surpassing the 9000 mark. The ranking is based on data gathered by independent route collector projects, and it indicates that i3D.net’s backbone network is second in the world in terms of routing, with benefits for latency and reduced data transmission speeds.

The network team also crossed the landmark of 100 IXPs connected on the network, which is indicative of the many qualitative relationships formed directly with internet providers across the globe. This is only possible due to the special efforts of the network team, which has consistently looked to make i3D.net’s network faster, more reliable, more resilient and more efficient.

All of this work in growing the network led to over 840 million monthly average users (MAU) connected in 2023. This milestone is in keeping with i3D.net’s ambition to connect 1 billion users on its platform by 2025.

Improving customers' experience

The ping tracker for more accurate latency analysis

The development team was also happy to release its internal ping tracker for public use. The ping tracker helps measure latency between two points of connection, and now users of the i3D.net platform, its customers and any visitors to the website can immediately find out the most recent number for ping between two locations. This makes the whole network transparent for all users on the network and helps them understand how to leverage the network between regions and locations.

Transition to 400G routers

i3D.net has always looked to improve the performance and speed of its network, and this requires consistent investment in upgrades across the board. In December, the network team began the process of upgrading to 400G capable routers in over 60 Points of Presence (PoPs) across the i3D.net network. The upgrade will help bring scalability and programmability to the network, help us use i3D.net’s proprietary low-latency anti-DDoS solution more effectively and improve the performance and speeds of data transfer across the globe.

Fostering connections in the digital and real world

Awards and recognition for hard work

Stijn Koster at FD Gazelle 2023

2023 was a great year of growth for i3D.net, and this was also reflected in the many awards received throughout 2023. In March, i3D.net came in first place for the FD Gazelle International award, which recognizes the fastest-growing Dutch companies that have achieved sustainable growth on the international level.  

Later in the year in November, i3D.net was nominated once more for the FD Gazelle Award for companies in the Netherlands that have achieved remarkable growth throughout the year. This was the tenth time i3D.net was nominated for the prestigious award in the company’s two-decade history, which indicates how far i3D.net has come since its inception in 2002. 

In November, i3D.net’s subsidiary company Smartdc was also awarded the Sustainability Award by Computable due to its ground-breaking residual heat project. This project recycles residual heat from Smartdc’s Rotterdam data center and uses it to heat up offices in the Van Nelle Factory next door. The positive environmental impact this has had cannot be overstated: as of now, the project has saved 504 tons of natural gas, with more expected during these winter months still to come. This is in line with i3D.net’s mission to keep sustainability front and center of all operations, which does not come easily of course due to the industry we operate in. However, the company and all of its teams are committed to looking for new and innovative approaches for decreasing our carbon footprint, and the residual heat project is a focal point in that strategy.

Connecting the gaming community: Drinks, the Dutch Game Awards and speaking opportunities in 2023

2023 was a great year for i3D.net to reconnect with its gaming roots and foster gaming communities in both the digital and real world. We hosted the inaugural Rotterdam Game Drinks in partnership with the Rotterdam municipality to help gaming developers and industry experts network and forge new partnerships and relationships to help in the years to come. After seeing the positive response to this, we are making the Rotterdam Game Drinks a yearly tradition for all our friends in the Dutch gaming industry. We hope to continue supporting the industry and its stakeholders in both the Netherlands and beyond.

We are also sponsoring the Dutch Game Awards to help support the industry and continue engaging with all games, big and small, that are continuing to break new ground and find innovative ways to engage players and build new communities through these projects.

Beyond this, there were plenty of speaking engagements and conversations across the globe at some of the biggest stages, from the Playcon Summit in Malta, to the NLNOG in the Netherlands.

2024: Looking at what’s to come

2024 will see us continue working toward our vision to serve the gaming and real-time industries and provide them with the best possible solutions to keep latency low and uptime at its highest. This means more multiplayer games from both AAA studios and indie developers will be launched on our platform. 2024 will also keep us close to the action through dedicated game hosting assistance such as setting up war rooms on launch day to ensure that players get seamless experiences when they join in. We will continue to battle-test our products in some of the most highly anticipated titles and projects in the gaming and real-time application industries. All of this will ensure i3D.net continues to head towards its goal of connecting 1 billion users on its platform by 2025. With only one year to go, we are excited to achieve this and more in 2024.  

Sustainability, scalability and growth of the network will continue to remain high priorities in 2024. We have exciting plans to improve sustainability efforts using the new Paris and Montreal data centers, and more will be announced as projects come to fruition. 

2024 will also see more investment and upgrades to the network, with our network team looking to improve upon existing locations and add additional ones where needed. All of this will be done with scalability in mind, allowing customers and users on our platform to get the best out of any expansions in the most qualitative ways possible. We are excited for 2024, and as always, we ask you to stay tuned to our socials and the website, because there will be a lot to go over in 2024 as well. Here is to another year of success and reaching the next level for us all!  

Main Take-Aways

This article takes a look back at 2023, with all milestones, achievements and updates to the network. It also previews what’s to come in 2024, as i3D.net continues towards its goal of 1 billion users by 2025. 

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