Gaming continues to explode in popularity with professional services firm Accenture calculating the direct and indirect value of the industry at $300 billion-plus and the estimated number of gamers globally at 2.7 billion. However, the sector’s influence extends well beyond dollars – it has shaped broader social, cultural and business trends and created an innovation pathway for companies to follow. For example, the term ‘gamification’ has entered the business lexicon as the application of game principles and design in non-game contexts to motivate and engage people. For individual gaming companies, providing a compelling experience is essential to gaining, retaining and generating revenue from gamers – and this means stability, reliability and speed as much as innovation and effective game design. Alibaba Cloud has worked with a wide range of gaming companies to help them meet their requirements.
Indofun Games is a leading mobile game provider in Indonesia and its customers expect a superior experience from the business – requiring a network that enables the delivery of high-quality imagery and audio, and the rapid loading and downloading of games. It became increasingly difficult to meet these demands as the number of gamers rose and the business had to maintain service quality to a user base distributed across the metropolitan, rural and remote areas of a mountainous country comprising thousands of islands. Indofun turned to Alibaba Cloud products that combined stable performance with reliable networks and service nodes close to its customers. This gave the business confidence that it could reach customers throughout the country – including those in remote locations – to provide a superior gaming experience with minimal lag and fast loading times, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As well as compute, storage, load balancing and database products and services, Indofun turned to Alibaba Cloud networking services Content Delivery Network (CDN) and Elastic IP Address (EIP) to improve the experience for gamers throughout Indonesia. In particular, through more than 11 local CDN nodes, Alibaba Cloud ensures Indofun games are delivered with superior graphics quality and rapid download speeds, regardless of location. The EIP service package also delivers high network quality by leveraging local ISP service packages based on local cloud network infrastructure.
Indofun’s Alibaba Cloud infrastructure also features core computing and storage products such as Elastic Compute Service, Server Load Balancer, Block Storage and Object Storage Service (OSS) and ApsaraDB RDS for MySQL, as well as Data Transmission Service, help automate data backups and synchronization, streamlining the Indofun technical support team’s maintenance and operations work.
Databases are the core component of gaming business architectures and need to support a range of scenarios, while helping gaming companies meet requirements for high performance, low cost, high availability and ease of maintenance. XD.com – a China-based business with operations that include game R&D, animation production and live-action entertainment – needed an architecture that could support 1 million plus concurrent online game players, with services online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To support rapid overseas expansion, XD. com required a reliable, well-established cloud provider that could deliver low-latency and stable services worldwide, supporting densely populated markets such as China, South East Asia, the United States and Europe. Alibaba Cloud’s superior database management systems – in particular Alibaba Cloud PolarDB, which is designed for business-critical database applications – could deliver the fast performance, high concurrency and automatic scaling required by XD.com. PolarDB helps XD.com achieve read/write capabilities three times higher than MySQL, while shortening the maintenance time during game upgrades and server restart scenarios. In addition, PolarDB’s high availability design allows XD.com to switch instances in 30-60 seconds, ensuring data integrity, while its full compatibility with MySQL enables XD.com to perform data migrations seamlessly. Implementing Alibaba Cloud PolarDB gives the business the ability to easily support 1 million plus users playing concurrently.
In Japan, enish – a leading mobile game development and publishing company that has published titles such as RPG VGAME and Keyaki no Kiseki – needed to implement infrastructure for the game app De:Lithe – The King of Oblivion and the Angel of the Covenant. The business chose Alibaba Cloud for a range of reasons, including the fact PolarDB and ApsaraDB for Redis could reduce the time required to process data by 50%. PolarDB enabled the business to scale its databases as required while features such as automated monitoring, backup and disaster recovery could reduce the database management load on team members. In addition, PolarDB enabled a selection of engines due to its compatibility with MySQL, PostgreSQL and Oracle databases. Meanwhile ApsaraDB for Redis delivered ease of deployment and management, with high-performance read-write through memory and hard disk.
In China, G-bits – a publicly-listed R&D-oriented Xiamen-based development studio that has delivered games embraced by 45 million gamers – needed an infrastructure that could power its latest product, Yi Nian Xiao Yao, a beautifully rendered mobile game that uses traditional Chinese ink-and-wash style imagery and classic themes, such as cultivating immortality. The business had traditionally relied on an on-premises relational MySQL database to build and run games, but needed fast failover and recovery and a sub-microsecond service response time; efficient scaling and high performance; and flexibility to accommodate changes to game logic and data structures as well as the addition of new data types. ApsaraDB for MongoDB – a managed database service provided by Alibaba Cloud – enabled changes and the easy addition of new features, delivered scalability and high quality user experience, provided high availability, stability and rapid query response times. It also eliminated resource contention that could impact performance.
Keeping costs under control is a critical priority for gaming businesses, particularly when launching new games. The 50% reduction in costs achieved by enish with PolarDB and ApsaraDB helped ease the concerns of its operations team about the costs of managing and using cloud products to run De:Lithe – The King of Oblivion and the Angel of the Covenant, while Container Service for Kubernetes with Log Service and Object Storage Service enabled the business to take advantage of server costs 30% lower than those of alternative cloud companies.
In India, Playerzpot – a fantasy gaming platform that enables users to participate in online games such as cricket, football and kabaddi – needed an agile and scalable cloud to support its fast growth. Alibaba Cloud’s engagement through the evaluation process, combined with the range, scalability and cost-effectiveness of its products, convinced the business the China-headquartered cloud provider was its best option. “Playerzpot found the overall Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to be far more competitive with Alibaba Cloud, helping the company to keep the overall operational costs in check," says Mitesh Gangar, Co-Founder & Director at Playerzpot Media Pvt. Ltd. A range of Alibaba Cloud products and features enabled cost control, including a combination of Alibaba Cloud ApsaraDB for Redis and Alibaba Cloud PolarDB for MySQL to manage scalability based on load and Server Load Balancer’s configuration and billing capabilities.
In Japan, BIGBANG was also concerned about the cost of using and managing cloud services from another provider to run its game Lost Crusade 2, and turned to Alibaba Cloud for a more cost-effective option that could also meet its technical requirements. The business migrated seamlessly to Alibaba Cloud and achieved a 40% reduction in costs while running its game in a high-performance, efficient environment.
3D rendering – translating information from a 3D model into a two-dimensional image – is now integral to game development. Alibaba Cloud Remote Rendering enables gaming businesses to connect to and complete complex rendering jobs on powerful cloud computing clusters, featuring super-fast connections and high elasticity – taking advantage of improvements in computing throughput of up to 24M packets per second and 600K input/output operations per second to enhance overall rendering performance by 40%. They can also integrate Alibaba Cloud rendering services with toolkits such as Deadline and PipelineFX Qube and applications such as Houdini, Arnold and RedShift.
With Alibaba Cloud, gaming companies can focus on innovation and user experience while working with a cloud provider that can help them meet business-critical requirements for performance, stability and cost.
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