← Return to Blog
 Outfox Game Support

Outfox Game Support - Next Level Games

By: Keegan Landolt, Outfox Product Manager 

Outfox is built with a focus on the current trends in the gaming industry. We aim to support a wide range of up-to-date popular games in an easy-to-use fashion, so you don't ever have to worry about missing out on the benefits of our optimized gaming network while playing your favorite games. Currently, Outfox supports 14 titles including PUBG, League of Legends and Overwatch.

For us, supporting a game is more than just slapping the game logo on our website or application. We define game support as a process of research, quality assurance, and results improvement. We also don't want our users to be burdened with complicated setup and so-so results like some other gaming network apps. For any given game, if we don't feel we can make a gaming connection faster or easier to use, then we won't claim to support it. Instead, we'll figure out what it takes to support a game and get to work on making it happen. While our current list might be in a pretty good spot for some, we are working hard behind the scenes to get a whole slew of new games into the fray.

How We Decide to Support a Game

When it comes to supporting games, there's no shortage of different types of inputs we could use to determine a list of games; from how many simultaneous players a game achieves, to the number of Twitch streams, or even direct user requests (the echoes of "CS:GO!" ring loudly throughout the halls of Outfox HQ). Some of the factors we use to determine our supported games are:

  • Game popularity (number of players, top selling games)
  • Streaming popularity (number of streams, hours streamed)
  • Esports popularity (active tournaments)
  • User feedback (requests in our forums and surveys)

Throughout development, we leaned on user feedback as a cornerstone of our supported games library. Hearing users jump on PUBG early helped us identify that as a big up-and-coming game. We also spoke directly with some esports pros, such as Gootecks in the Street Fighter scene, who highlighted the smaller community with a greater need for a solution such as Outfox.

Once we determine a high-priority game to target for support, we perform investigations into that game's online connectivity. These investigations tell us if that game has a direct server connection, if it is played over cloud services, if the game connects peer-to-peer, where the servers for that game are located, and the type and number of connections made during an online gaming session. As a fun benefit, this involves playing a lot of games at work. We use this information to determine if we are technically capable of supporting the game. For example, we don't currently have the capability to capture TCP traffic (the more strict and less common between the two most common Internet protocols), so if we can verify the game is UDP-traffic only, then it's highly likely we can support it.

But first, we have to determine if it makes sense from a user perspective for us to support the game. We do usability tests on the game to determine if capturing the game's traffic and sending it over our network actually has a good chance at improving that game's online connectivity. We also determine if the way we capture traffic is beneficial to the user. For example, in Rocket League we capture only the traffic made during a real-time match, and this is the most beneficial to the user. For some other games, the traffic that triggers the automated Outfox connection might not be at the right time, or might be likely to cause degraded performance over time. This is because once we connect to an Outfox server, we stick with connection so that it's less likely to cause disconnections or other unacceptable behavior in-game.

If we take a popular game, determine we are technically able to support it, and it proves to have a good chance at improvement without causing any disruption to a user's normal gaming behavior - that's when the magic happens and it becomes an Outfox Officially Supported Game (trademark pending). 

Benefits of Per-Game Support

Outfox uses per-game support because we believe it makes for the most powerful and easy-to-use optimized gaming network solution. There are many benefits for support at an individual game level.

Firstly, since Outfox only captures the traffic of specific games, we aim to be the easiest-to-use gaming network app while being the least intrusive. All you have to do is keep gaming normally with Outfox, and we will take care of your network needs in the background without impacting other applications or your computer's performance.

When we officially support a game, we believe:

  • Outfox can improve the network performance for a majority of people
  • We have done due-diligence in testing that game for an ideal, easy-to-use experience
  • We are able to further optimize that game after supporting it

For example, we can look at League of Legends and determine the regions where we are not performing well. In a recent case, we identified that we were not performing well in Southeast Asia regions, so we added a server in South Korea (Busan, KR) to the Outfox network to help performance in that area (and it did!).

We are also able to identify and plan around games that we are not able to support off-the-bat. When we were testing with CS:GO, we found it had a poor experience with Outfox and we chose not to release. That decision was not easy to make, but we built a plan to support CS:GO in the near future that will also allow us to support a number of other games that we felt weren't ready for prime-time, by further diving into how each individual game connects. Supporting games at a per-game basis gives us the opportunity to learn more about that game and directly impact the Outfox connection behavior to better support the game.

The Future of Game Support with Outfox

Currently, Outfox supports a number of popular online games across different genres, but we know that games are the cornerstone of any gaming network app worth its salt. We have a game roadmap that we are going to work on opening up more to the community. But you can rest assured, the next few games are big ones.

Firstly, we are developing new, more advanced logic for each game to better control the connection behavior and maximize the improvement that Outfox can offer. This will allow us to better control how and when Outfox captures the game's traffic, and will also open up new games which we previously determined were not viable. Next, we are going to be developing the capability to capture TCP traffic. This is pivotal to open Outfox up to MMOs, which have communities who are very familiar with optimized gaming network applications.

In the future, once we accomplish these next few steps, we'll see if we can provide a good user experience to allow for Outfox to be used with custom games (which would come in handy for games with small, tight-knit communities with great needs like Tibia). For now, we are focused on pushing the best performance with the games we have and introducing a few new big games along the way.

Conclusion

When it comes to game support, the number one concern for Outfox is quality. We won't sacrafice a good user experience or improvement potential for some "quick fix" games. We love hearing feedback on what games users would like to see next so drop by our forum and leave us a suggestion.