Social Gaming in the Cloud: A Technical White Paper
As social networks and Internet-connected handheld devices have continued their meteoric rise, they have spawned numerous unique and previously unexplored methods of user interaction as well as exposed new potential sources of revenue. The applications that have established a new niche within these online networks are those involving social games. These games are typically run within the framework of social networking sites, thus exposing them to a captive audience of millions of potential players.
With their built-in user bases, these social networks and platforms have facilitated substantial growth of social gaming applications as the platforms have evolved rich and robust feature sets. This evolution has driven the rapid growth of the daily and monthly active user (DAU and MAU) populations of these applications. With this growth has come the need for flexible and scalable resources as the demands on these social games fluctuate throughout their lifecycles. Newly released features can drive viral growth of a game, resulting in an immediate need for additional resources, while the gradual decline in popularity as the “newness” of these features wanes results in a relax in the demand for resources. Additionally, the rate at which events increase can far exceed any prior planning, with environments growing exponentially in just a few days.
The discussion to follow will describe the arc of a social game lifecycle, and how the cloud infrastructure can be leveraged to provide the types and quantities of resources required at each point of the game’s progression. Additionally, experiences gathered from RightScale’s unique position within the social gaming management realm will be detailed, including unique tools that RightScale has developed to enable quick and efficient mechanisms to launch social gaming applications in the cloud.