14 March 2024

The Growing Challenges of Online Gaming Services: Performance, Scalability & Security

Don’t be fooled by the title, we know that online gaming is nothing new. However, we’ve noticed a staggering increase in the inclusion of online functions or some degree of online connectivity, even in fully singleplayer experiences.   

Whether it’s for a gameplay reason or for anti-piracy reasons, such as the controversial Always-on DRM, we’re seeing a transition where gaming is an almost exclusively online venture. The landscape of video games has changed. Where once singleplayer games stood alone and offline, with maybe an online component that could be activated, almost every game we’ve seen has some degree of online integration. Full multiplayer, cooperative elements, or a contributing to a global goal that all players can take part in, there are multiple integrations for the online multiplayer game.  

What does this mean for developers and for us as cybersecurity and game stability experts? Let’s take a look.  

New Challenges for Online Gaming

As the word gaming becomes almost homogenous with the concept of online entertainment and connectivity, we’re seeing the rising challenge of performance, scalability, and security. As a quick breakdown for online gaming services:  

Online Gaming Performance

Maintaining proper and stable performance is easy to do when the variables are known. As the connectivity increases, and we see a rise in those players constantly connected to one another, it becomes tougher and tougher to maintain performance. Both visually and technically, there are a lot of moving parts to keep balanced and operating smoothly for all players to have an equal experience. A stable server connection will help keep things running and operating as intended. Without it, players aren’t going to hang about while they watch your game turn into a slideshow.  


In both scaling up and down for player count and server load, scalability in your online multiplayer game service is absolutely integral to a smooth gaming experience. Already in 2024, we’ve seen several games struggle with server issues and keeping up with player demand. If you’re not prepared for the rush of players, you’ll find your potential players unhappy and might never come back when things are working properly.  


As our games go online, as more elements become completely immersed in the online gaming sphere, the potential security risks increase along with them. Malicious actors and hackers will always be looking to abuse or take advantage of any existing services. As we see online multiplayer games grow in both use and popularity, more players become exposed to the potential threat unless the developer is utilising proper penetration testing services. If left unaddressed, your honest players won’t stick around to be abused or lose out against those cheating and hacking.  

Online Gaming Expectations and Landscape

Over the last two years especially, we’re seeing these online gaming experiences becoming more common. Developers are looking more into deploying these live service titles, where updates and development are an almost constant to keep players engaged and involved with their game. Whether through regular updates, DLC, or world progression, the availability of online gaming services have changed how both players and developers are approaching the gaming world.  

This mentality is shared, however, amongst players. We believe that play expectations have grown right alongside the developer investment in player engagement for longer periods of time. Players are expecting bigger and better games. Unless they’re contained singleplayer experiences, players are usually looking for new content, growth, and new gameplay experiences. As a sidenote, singleplayer experiences are not the escape from these expectations. In those releases, players are expecting a flawless experience of gameplay and narrative. Even then, DLC for the story might be expected or hoped for.  

What do these changes mean for Online Multiplayer Gaming?

As games expand in scale and complexity, and in their constant size and service offering, we see the three challenges above growing significantly. These challenges are not going unnoticed by game developers and publishers either. The Cyrex team have begun to see some companies and organisations taking the stance of established criteria and tests for release. Minimum requirements such as thorough online games penetration testing and load testing.  

If developers are going to address these challenges, proper solutions need to be provided for launch and content drops.   

For security, comprehensive white box penetration testing. For stability and server performance, thorough load testing, with attention drawn to spike testing for those activity spikes around launch or new content releases. For stability, proper load testing services will help with. Lastly, player expectation is down to good research and looking at the gaming landscape. Success stories and titles fallen short are easily found online from big name developers and publishers and small indies alike.

To guarantee your game is prepared for launch through both security and stability, look no further than Cyrex. Our industry-leading penetration testing and load testing services have been honed and refined for gaming. There is no other team who can provide the service we can deliver to your game. Check out our portfolio of work and get in touch if you’d like to leverage the gold-standard of cybersecurity and load testing.