20 years of minimizing latency for gamers

i3D.net global network map
2 September 2022
The i3D.net story began in the early 2000s with a simple idea: to make online gaming better. From that modest beginning, we've grown into a global company that is leading the way in game hosting, real-time communications (RTC), and more. In this blog, we look back at some key moments that brought us here and give you a sneak peek into what our future holds.

Table of Contents

Humble beginnings 

It all started in the Netherlands in 2002, when our Managing Director, Stijn Koster, started renting out servers to his gaming friends from his attic. This drew the attention of other avid gamers, and the servers continued to gain popularity in the community. It snowballed when major publishers such as EA Games came knocking. Stijn and the team translated the growing need into a fully-fledged start-up in Rotterdam, with the goal of providing quality game servers and hosting services to gamers worldwide. 

From the very beginning, the team realized the importance of owning and building holistic services — that performance could only come from having ownership of all aspects of the infrastructure, from compute services to connectivity, and even building software on top to add value for our customers. Therefore, it is easy to chart the growth of the company from a provider of servers, to one which operates its own backbone network and controls the complete infrastructure stack in addition to software solutions such as an effective server-side anti-cheat solution and managed hosting services.  

But this was only the beginning. From delivering consumer game servers to individual gamers, Stijn and the team quickly realized that the real value for the gaming community and industry lay in working directly with publishing studios and gaming developers to integrate high-quality servers within their games. This was already happening in the industry at large, with publishers and developers approaching us to provide a stable and fair online ecosystem and run hosting from the publisher’s side. 

Over the last two decades, i3D.net has been privileged to work with some of the most prolific game developers, RTC clients and enterprises. We have truly become a leading infrastructure provider in the technology sphere in the process. Key moments on this journey were the founding of Smartdc in 2009 to make inroads into the ownership and control of our own data centers and the acquisition of i3D.net by Ubisoft in 2019 to solidify our position as a top game server provider.  

i3D.net milestones in the last 20 years
The timeline above indicates some significant milestones through the years.

Growth through clear values

Infrastructure geared for low latency, reliability and performance

i3D.net’s own backbone infrastructure is set up to give you the best performance for use cases that require low-latency services. Our own network infrastructure, with full ownership of the routes and Points of Presence (PoPs), is a major reason for two decades of success. This gives us the ability to guarantee speed and resilience to all our customers! With over 90 connections to internet exchanges globally, i3D.net is ranked number 17 in the Internet Exchange Report in the Exchange Participants section. We aim to keep improving on this through growing our network and improving upon these numbers.

Network expansion geared for customers

We have continued to increase connections and lines across the network for greater speed, access and resilience across the entire network. Take a look at our updated PoP world map for more insight into how you can use this to get the best out of the network for your use case. Our 23+ Tbps network capacity, with over 9000+ direct peering partners and 60+ PoPs on six continents, will continue to accelerate its growth.

Cloud bursting, no-impact patching and more unified in our ONE platform

Our ONE Platform is a multifunctional solution for instant scaling between bare-metal or flex-metal with one click. The platform provides a host of options including Anti-DDoS protection, no-impact patching and a holistic overview for all real-time monitoring needs.

Responsible and dynamic company scale up

i3D.net’s growth in the past year has been documented by independent observers and experts in the field. From being placed in the Top 250 scale-ups in the Netherlands in 2022, to placing first in the FD Gazelle Awards for consecutive years in 2020 and 2021, the past year truly had some highlights worth celebrating! 

What the future holds 

Further network improvements

2022 has been a year of amazing growth and innovation for us. We are currently ranked number 17th in terms of connections to internet exchanges across the world, and we aim to keep growing the number of connections and PoPs over the rest of the year and beyond! Keep an eye on our socials and website or sign up for our newsletter to get acquainted with new PoPs, connections and other updates. 

Phasing out consumer game servers

We have aligned the company to refocus on our goals for the coming years and work with the best game publishing houses and indie game developers by phasing out consumer game servers completely by the end of October. The changing market and the growing demand for server-side solutions from game developers have led us to this prioritization and we trust that you will see the benefit of this positioning in the months to come. 

Sustainability and innovation at the forefront

We are also really excited to share some groundbreaking progress in reducing the carbon footprint of our data center in Rotterdam by installing heat pumps and repurposing residual heat to be used instead of gas to heat up the offices during the winter months. i3D.net will continue to chart new paths in the tech industry while remaining committed to our objective of providing the lowest-latency services possible.  

Looking back, we’re proud of all that we’ve accomplished, and we’re excited for what the future holds. Thank you for being part of our journey!

Main Take-Aways

i3D.net celebrates its 20th anniversary and we take a look at some key moments in our journey. We also cast an eye forward on the exciting things in store for our clients in the future.

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