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Community Blog How to Expand Your Game on the Cloud

How to Expand Your Game on the Cloud

This short article lists five cloud-based solutions to combat challenges faced by gaming organizations today.

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Calling the gaming industry huge is an understatement.

The gaming industry generated $155 billion in revenue in 2020, and analysts predict it will generate over $260 billion by 2025. The gaming industry is bigger than the film and music industries combined, leading to some of the world's largest tech giants getting on board.

Alibaba Cloud knows gaming and innovation go hand in hand. It will be hard to compete without the right technology underpinning your gaming business.

Unpredictable traffic bursts, issues around server merges, and data rollbacks are some of the challenges faced by gaming organizations today.

The sections below list five cloud-based solutions to help you overcome these issues, retain your customer base, and get your game in front of new players.

Read-Only Nodes to ApsaraDB for PolarDB

Promotions, new server openings, and major events often lead to surges in page views, which can cause bottlenecks that act as a barrier to business growth. Fast configuration upgrades and scale-outs are key in these scenarios.

Fortunately, you don't need to purchase expensive high configuration databases in advance. It only takes a maximum of five minutes to add read-only nodes to ApsaraDB for PolarDB and no more than 15 minutes to change the node configurations.

You can upgrade your database's configurations when the player access traffic surpasses the capacity mark and downgrade them once traffic has declined.

Solutions to Facilitate Server Merges

Typically, a server merge is required to maintain the level of user experience gamers have come to expect and reduce application and database costs. Alibaba Cloud's solution for server merges supports migrating data between different popular database instances in the gaming industry, including MongoDB, MySQL, and Redis.

Data migration in the Alibaba Cloud Data Transmission Service (DTS) reduces the time required for business migration and uses high-configuration servers to ensure the transmission performance of each migration or synchronization channel.

It also runs on clusters. If a node in a cluster is down or faulty, the control center switches all tasks from the faulty node to another one in the cluster within seconds, resulting in high channel stability.

Meanwhile, Alibaba Cloud Data Lake Analytics (DLA) helps identify possible conflicts between player data after a server merge.

Leaderboard Database Reliability

Nearly every game has at least one leaderboard. Leaderboards create a sense of competition and satisfaction for players, motivating them to continue their gaming journey with you.

However, if you use a relational database for leaderboards, the RDS can become overloaded, the CPU can be fully used, and replication delays and inconsistencies in data can occur. Instead, you can use ApsaraDB for Redis to store data in sorted-sets.

This solution makes development easier by providing comprehensive APIs for adding, deleting, and updating players' bonus points. Since the data is stored in order, the query latency is much lower compared to RDS, and concurrent updates can occur.

What's more, ApsaraDB for Redis provides zone-disaster recovery architecture across two data centers. If one data center fails, service availability remains intact.

Database Backup Service (DBS)

Game rollbacks can result in their accumulated experience disappearing, which can be incredibly demotivating for gamers.

Yet, rollbacks are still valuable for game creators, particularly when some players exploit bugs to illegally replicate items and in-game currencies. Alibaba Cloud Database Backup Service (DBS) supports multiple types of environments and databases. Its real-time incremental data backup allows you to restore incremental data to any time point.

You can use DBS extreme for game rollback scenarios.

Maintaining Database Connectivity

UX can be significantly affected when transient disconnections occur as a result of a high-availability failover (or routine database switch or configuration). Since research and development schedules for games are often tight, disaster recovery mechanisms can fall down the list of priorities and end up lacking.

Your game's server needs to be resilient during disconnection activities.

PolarDB and RDS proxy layers can keep the connection with your database. If HA failover or configuration changes to the underlying layer occur, the middleware or proxy layer can resume the connection to the database. As a result, your game's application layer remains unaffected, helping you maintain a seamless experience for players.

If you're looking to expand your game on the cloud, click here to learn more about our gaming solutions today.

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