Game design is like the virtual Wild West, where anyone with a dream and some courage has a chance to build something great. But you can’t grow an indie game studio on dreams alone; you need the right technology to turn your vision into reality.
Cloud computing offers game developers a means of quickly and easily spinning up or down, depending on their circumstances. The technology enables them to respond quickly to unexpected performance demand, which is critical to building a thriving user base.
Cloud computing becomes an even bigger asset when it’s paired with dedicated servers. A system built on these technologies working in tandem offers flexibility, customization, and raw performance power.
When it comes to gaming infrastructure, speed is everything. Gamers demand low latency and high reliability, and a hybrid approach delivers that. The best networks give you the ability to provide content to players around the world at lightning-fast speeds with data centers that have the redundancy to guarantee your service is always up.
Gaming studios that consistently provide fast, engaging experiences outperform their competitors. Here’s how to leverage cloud computing and dedicated servers to deliver on your gamers’ demands:
1. Build a resilient infrastructure.
Online gaming has exploded in recent years, straining studios’ scalability processes and back-end systems. A successful launch could attract millions of users, and all of them need to create characters, buy gear, and be onboarded to the game. Those processes place a huge demand on your infrastructure; you need to be ready for that volume. Not only that, but it’s important to have protocols for detecting cheating and facilitating a global playing arena. A lack of preparation could lead to an embarrassing crash that discourages people from purchasing the game.
This was the case with Psyonix’s 2015 beta launch of “Rocket League.” The company’s services were equipped to accommodate only 10,000 users playing simultaneously. When 180,000 logged on, the servers crashed, disrupting the customer experience. Cloud hosting, with or without the support of dedicated servers, allows you to adjust to unexpected demands without missing a beat.
2. Pay attention to business and tech concerns.
Given how quickly the industry is changing, game studios are often uncertain which business model they should pursue. Some take the freemium approach, enticing people to pay for upgrades by hooking them with a free basic version. Others use subscriptions to establish recurring revenue and, ideally, to keep customers playing the game.
The beauty of the cloud is that you can correct course as your business and gamer base evolve. Perhaps freemium works when you first launch, but a subscription model makes more sense after the concept has proven itself in the market. Cloud platforms are agile by design, allowing you to make adjustments as necessary.
3. Test your scalability before launch.
The appetite for new games is enormous, making this an excellent time to be a game developer. The flip side is that you need to be exceptional to stand out, and you can’t afford to have server crashes on launch day. It’s impossible to know exactly how many people will log on to your game, but you can safeguard against problems by running surge tests. Purchase a dedicated server, and then test how it handles massive numbers of players signing on at once. Not only will testing help you avoid upsetting your fans, but it will also reveal development issues that you’ll be able to quash before the game goes public.
Cloud and dedicated servers work well together because they offer both agility and autonomy. You want to give yourself breathing room if your game generates more interest than you’d expected. But you also have to be able to respond quickly if your servers struggle under the weight of a million gamers. Using a combination of these technologies enables you to do both.
You can download the “10 do’s and don’ts when migrating to the cloud” here.