How our new Industry Partner AWS can help Finnish game studios to grow?

IGDA Finland has recently got fabulous new Studio Affiliates like Frogmind, Kuuasema and Housemarque. Also Amazon Web Services, G-Cluster and Lexia have joined as Industry Partners. Welcome! Amazon Web Services (AWS) has witnessed several game industry success stories. That's why we decided to have a chat with the AWS guys to learn what type of business growth tips they can give to Finnish game studios.

When it comes to cloud computing, there's no bigger name than Amazon Web Services (AWS). Most likely every relevant Facebook and mobile game developer knows and uses / has used AWS. How big AWS actually is?

AWS: We have hundreds of thousands of customers in over 190 countries and among those customers we have a significant number of gaming customers leveraging AWS. Customers like Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Supercell and Sega all take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of AWS technology. For game developers AWS offers a comprehensive set of development tools and services that make it faster and easier for developers to build, deploy, distribute, scale, analyze, and monetize successful games.

Why you decided to become an IGDA Finland's Industry Partner?

AWS: We want to support the Finnish game developer community to help them become more successful in their game development efforts. Leveraging AWS services has helped companies like Supercell, Rovio, and Grand Cru to focus on game development instead of setting up and managing the infrastructure.

More concretely, how can AWS help Finnish game development studios to grow? AWS: Game development is part science and part art. Developers strive to deliver compelling entertaining experiences for users but never really know how successful their game will be until they actually launch it. A big question that a game developer must address is how to prepare for game success or even failure? For a Social Game the number of players can be unpredictable; for some games the number increases rapidly and then drops again. To cope with the rapid growth anticipated with their most popular games Monster World, Diamond Dash and Bubble Island, Wooga turned to Amazon Web Services. With AWS Wooga (link to the case study) could scale easily to meet their peak demands. On the flip side, when the peak was met and the game dropped back to a steady state they were able to scale back the number of servers they were using just as easily and all without the headache of acquiring and managing their own physical infrastructure.

Amazon focuses on five things:

1) Pricing - always looking for ways to drive down costs for customers. When Sega’s Online Operation team was looking for a new home for their public websites, AWS was the obvious answer. Once migration on to AWS was complete, Sega noted a cost reduction in server costs of 50%.

2) Flexibility – Game developers are innovators. They are always looking for new ways to bring compelling entertainment in the form of games to users and as such need the flexibility to stitch together infrastructure as they see fit. Sony’s Naughty Dog Game Studio (link to the case study), maker of the popular Uncharted Series, looked to AWS to support them with Uncharted 3’s online multiplayer features and noted that the ability to have low level access to AWS’ powerful services meant that they are never in a position where there is something they can’t do.

3) Rapid Provisioning – With AWS Auto Scaling game developers know that they can programmatically increase the number of servers they use to meet user demand. This means that they can provision only as much as they need to get started and as the game grows in popularity they can scale to meet demand. In addition, they can scale back down when the demand decreases to a steady state.

4) Focus on the game – AWS enables game developers to focus on what they love, building great games, while AWS handles the undifferentiated heavy lifting of core infrastructure.

5) Rapid Growth and Scale – game developers can be confident that there are always resources available to support the rapid growth when a game becomes a hit. Take for example the Finnish-based game developer, Supercell, that successfully launched Hay Day and Clash of Clans in 2012. Since then Supercell's player base has reached over 8.5 million daily players and to manage their infrastructure they use AWS. The AWS services are important for Supercell to manage the rapid growth of their server usage and keep their players happy.

Amazon has done lots of case studies, including many Finnish game industry super stars: take a look at the Amazon case studies to learn more. Just to highlight some, check out Rovio and Supercell case study.

Join IGDA Finland November 12th Gathering to meet with Amazon guys in person.