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By David Delony
Video games have become a multiplayer phenomenon now that every device has an internet connection, even consoles. While video games have been big business for a long time, the player base has gotten more professionalized. Not only do players connect to each other within games like Minecraft, but also form teams where they compete for very real offline prizes. This means that players need an online presence. Enjin is one hosting company trying to meet the growing demand with a web hosting offering tailored to gamers.
Enjin's website is attractively designed, with quick links to features and pricing. The site has an emphasis on Minecraft.
Enjin specializes in offering hosting services to gamers. The company has a speciality even within a niche, gearing its services to the very popular Minecraft. The company offers servers for the game as well as a web page to advertise it.
Enjin, like many other modern web hosting companies, offers its own site builder. Many serious gamers are technically adept, but they might not want to spend hours hand-coding HTML. Enjin also offers a web forum. Forums are a primary way gamers communicate with each other online, so it's an essential feature for a gaming-focused site.
One feature that Enjin adds to its forums that a lot of other forum platforms don't have is
gamification. Forum users can gain experience levels and earn points by interacting with other users. These rewards are customizable. A user might want to award users for reaching thresholds for number of posts made, or they might get points on their birthday.
The site's forums host numbers of users into the thousands. The largest, Mineplex, has over one million members. The company has a list of communities, which is viewable by the largest number of members. The most popular forums are Minecraft-related.
Site owners can also hold a stick as well as a carrot. The settings allow them to define warnings and punishments for actions like spamming. The punishments can include banning users completely. Users can accumulate a certain number of warning points before a punishment kicks in.
In addition to the forums, users also have social and chat profiles on the website.
Enjin also offers native mobile apps for Android and iOS that allow users to access the same content over their mobile devices as on the website.
Further demonstrating the company's commitment to gaming, Enjin offers integration with several popular games, including World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Final Fantasy XIV, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. The focus is on multiplayer games, as these types of games foster the kinds of communities that can benefit from a web presence.
Other functionality is available through modules. Enjin says that it offers more than 50 of them, adding things like blogs, wikis and ticket support systems, as well as the aforementioned chat and social options. This gives customers a chance to customize their websites.
Enjin has the ability to integrate game features into the website. Customers can sell Minecraft items, rankings and other things using DonationCraft. Users can subscribe to packages and redeem coupons. There's also an option to prevent chargebacks.
A site that traffics in user-based content will often need multiple admins. Customers can define admins and pseudo-admins for a site. A pseudo admin has access to specific control panels, but not all of them.
Many games take advantage of the powerful graphics chips available to create a stylized look, and the gaming community takes design seriously as well. Fortunately, it's possible to create custom themes with the site builder.
The company is also launching its own cryptocurrency dubbed Enjin Coin, similar to BitCoin, in October of 2017. Enjin said that it will allow users to trade and sell virtual goods.
Enjin offers several options for technical support. Given that gaming is an online affair these days, it's not surprising that most of the support comes through Enjin's own website. The company offers a traditional ticket-based system as well as a forum. The forum is based on the same forum software that it uses for its clients, so it's clear that Enjin eats its own dog food. A company using its own product is a vote of confidence.
While customers can post questions in the support forum, they're encouraged to check Enjin's help center first. The help center contains a lot of answers to common user issues. Enjin also use the forum to announce updates to its services. The company uses the same gamification system that it uses for its customers, meaning that users are encouraged to participate in the forum. Enjin uses this reward system to enlist users in projects like translation.
The company also maintains a Slack channel for support.
Enjin doesn't seem to offer any ability to migrate from other hosts. Given the niche that Enjin appeals to, that's not surprising. There just aren't as many gaming-focused hosts to migrate from yet.
Enjin maintains three service tiers.
The higher tiers include more storage space, warnings, punishments, and DDoS protection. These tiers seem to appeal to more professional gaming hosts. With the growing professionalization of video gaming, clans and competitive gaming teams will be interested in enterprise-level hosting for their servers and gaming communities.
Payments are done through PayPal and by credit card through TrialPay.
While Enjin promised enterprise-level hosting, the company is tight-lipped about its infrastructure on its website. The website doesn't mention where its datacenters are located or what operating systems are available for the servers. That omission is deliberate as an apparent "security through obscurity" move; an email from Enjin said that the company keeps that information confidential.
There are also no guarantees of uptime visible on the site. It seems that Enjin has chosen to compete on its features rather than uptime, although an SLA could be very important for many gamers as well as businesses.
Enjin is a unique offering in the web hosting world — appealing to the niche of gamers. People looking to run game-based servers or communities should give Enjin their serious consideration.
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Enjin is a website hosting platform for gamers, made to easilly host a community site. The platform is very easy and simple to use, and is provided with premade "Modules" to add forums, widgets, or even a blog. After using the platform for almost four years now, I never encountered a downtime or critical issues.
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