Launching your game globally is key to increased revenue, but it can be an expensive, resource-intensive risk that can sink you when performance doesn’t stand up to users’ expectations. Watch this VB Live event to learn how to reach new players in new regions — and keep them happy and playing.
Gamers worldwide will generate a total of $99.6 billion in revenues in 2016 — and publishers are starting to sit up and take notice. But then come the questions, the first and probably most important of which is, where exactly do you start, without hamstringing yourself right out of the gate. And given the challenges of launching your game on a global scale, that’s a real and present risk.
There are three options when it comes to launching globally. “It’s totally economics,” says Vincent Low, director of business development for gaming at Akamai Technologies. “When a publisher goes into the market, it’s deciding whether or not it goes direct to consumers, or really just pairing up with a local publisher, given the fact that local publishers just have the scale and scope to help you manage that server.”
Local deployment — building out a dedicated datacenter — is fairly common, Rodriguez says. “The reason that some publishers do it is because of the control they have over performance, security, data, privacy,” he explains. “It could be tuning. I need to be able to tune the server setup so that it works really well with the way that we built this game. That’s the kind of thing that drives decisions for folks.”
However, the risks are myriad and varied.
“That decision really comes with dollars and cents,” says Low. “And it’s a lot of work in terms of liaising about capacity. At Viacom, we literally had to go out to every region and check with ISPs, the different download capabilities they had, and different subscriptions users would be using in that particular region.”
Rodriguez agrees, and adds, “You’re committing yourself to hardware. Even if you’re on a lease, there’s still a commitment to a physical setup,” he says. “There are a lot of people involved, which I think is not often addressed when you think about technology expansion. And your costs will not scale.”
Not to mention the tremendous cost of power, the potential unreliability of new networks, and government policies that may interfere with the operation of your local datacenter.
The second option is the cloud, which seems like a no-risk, low-cost solution to pair scale with tremendous global efficiency. And yet.
“Cloud has for sure gotten to a point where the hype around it has started to exceed some of the practical realities of it,” Rodriguez warns. A lot of people don’t realize that in some ways, the cloud can be a lot more expensive than they think it is. Cloud providers sometimes have hidden costs in the way data is moved between networks and from the cloud to other networks, and those hidden costs can start to add up.
Perhaps more importantly is the time it takes to get integration right — it can be anywhere from 12 to 24 months, whether it’s moving to a new database structure, dealing with new software, or dealing with new technology requirements.
“When you have the game state that’s centralized, when you’re working within a region, and then you start expanding outside that region, being able to seamlessly clone it identically is unheard of,” Low says. “That’s where the resource drain comes in, where you’re pretty much putting the same amount of resources you’d have building out the infrastructure for a brand new launch instead of just a seamless migration.”
The third option is acceleration.
“The internet is very poorly built,” Rodriguez says. “It’s amazing, it’s miraculous. But in terms of getting data around quickly, it’s really not built for that. It’s designed to get packets around cheaply, and it’s designed to get packets around in the proper business configuration — in other words, there are contracts between ISPs that determine how packets are routed.”
There’s an opportunity in that inefficiency to accelerate, he explains. “You can basically optimize the protocol in a way that’s not happening within the standard, and there are ways to find smarter routes,” he says. “There are ways to say ‘Look, we don’t care about how the ISPs want to route it.’”
Rodriguez is hoping it’s an option that more publishers become aware of. “Acceleration is something that we haven’t seen enough folks test,” he says. “And this is what’s exciting to me — seeing publishers experiment with this, because we’ve seen a couple of really interesting cases where folks are looking at acceleration as a potential solution.”
To learn more about how companies are leveraging acceleration, how to weigh the risks and rewards of any option, and more, catch up on this VB Live event.
Don’t miss out!
In this VB Live event you’ll learn:
- What game mechanics and protocol questions you need to ask when designing your global launch
- What risks to look out for in terms of network stability and reach in different parts of the world
- How to mitigate internet roadblocks from a centralized data center
- Nelson Rodriguez, Director, Games Industry Marketing, Akamai Technologies
- Vincent Low, Director of Business Development for Gaming, Akamai Technologies
- Wendy Schuchart, Moderator, VentureBeat
This VB Live event is sponsored by Akamai.