eSports & Gaming Cloud Infrastructure

  • Service Cloud Infrastructure Support
  • Customer Developer and publisher of market-leading eSports video games
  • Year of implementation 2021 – ongoing

Case

Loovatech engineering team started cooperation with a world-famous eSports video game developer and publisher in early 2021. The American company's HQ decided that cloud infrastructure support and development must be carried out by third-party contractors. According to the same internal rules, our customer must review agreements concluded with contractors every year.

Work results of the previous cloud infrastructure contractor did not satisfy the customer. The cost of the former contractor's services was high, despite regular technical issues experienced by the game publisher.

Customer

Regional office of an American developer and publisher of market-leading eSports video games. The company's portfolio comprises several actively developing projects in various genres, including Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, Auto Chess, Collectible Card Game, and First-person Shooter.

On top of development, the company handles the competitive life of its own franchises. The publisher actively develops the eSports community by organizing World Championships and professional leagues in Europe, North America and EMEA, as well as coordinating  filming and broadcasting of these events. The company provides support for eSports leagues in its own games, organized by third parties around the world.

Business problems

  • #1 Regular gaming services crashes during peak load times.
  • #2 High dependence on the current infrastructure contractor.
  • #3 Low speed of implementation of changes due to a number of unsuccessful architectural decisions.
  • #4 Unreasonably high cost of cloud infrastructure resources.

#1

Our approach

Loovatech experts conducted a thorough analysis of the customer's existing infrastructure and the tasks that the game publisher's services and applications should perform. Engineers developed a new infrastructure model.

Following example of other projects by Loovatech, the decicion was made to build cloud infrastructure for high-load applications using practices and approaches well-proven in IT community. This approach facilitates operation of the infrastructure and does not subjugate the customer by using proven architectural decisions, automation and Infrastructure-as-a-Code methodology. Use of such tools allows customer's management team to fully control infrastructure support project and enjoy ownership of it without depending on a particular contractor.

Before the start of actual works, Loovatech engineers drew up a plan for deploying IT infrastructure to handle applications in use. Customer's requirement to deploy infrastructure based on Amazon Web Services ready-made cloud products, such as managed database or Kubernetes services was met. All applications, as well as the services they used, were carefully migrated.

Instead of using self-developed solutions by the previous contractor, which introduced vendor lock-in and could not be supported by 3rd-party, Managed services by AWS and common Open-source tools were employed. All databases, including business data, were transferred without a single event of data loss or any application downtime.

Technicians set up application test benches and carried out a general upgrade of infrastructure environments. Loovatech engineers included cluster orchestration and CI/CD tools in the updated infrastructure model. The process of delivering updates to operated services was built from scratch and automated, including delivery of code to test and production environments. This in turn allowed to push new application versions to end-users quickly and reliably.

Automated deep monitoring of application performance and of the gaming services infrastructure was set up. Automation of DevOps processes was carried out using the Infrastructure As Code (IAC) approach. IAC is implemented using AWS CloudFormation. Loovatech engineers set up the launch of applications inside the Kubernetes cluster (AWS EKS). Applications were managed using the Helm toolkit. Helm templates were developed and optimized. This solution has significantly accelerated the preparation and launch of new applications.

#2

Supported applications

The developer and publisher of eSports games operates a set of services and applications that perform a variety of marketing tasks, including user authentication, recording in-game achievements, issuing in-game items and other bonuses, returning inactive players, holding tournaments, etc. The list of applications used may vary depending on the challenges faced by the company and eSports competition seasons.

Transactions and in-game items

The service aggregates transactions for all applications developed and operated by the local representative office. The app supports sending and syncing in-game items with the publisher's central store using API.

Game data

An online match history aggregation service retrieves player subscriptions from in-game events, sends them to the local RAPI Service, receives responses, and sends them back to the in-game event service.

Daily rewards

An application responsible for issuing in-game rewards and items to complete seasonal and other challenges, such as logging into the game daily, successful game sessions, obtaining specific achievements, and so on.

Social network module

Service for integration with social networks. Allows players to log in using their social network profile, as well as receive reminders about getting in-game rewards and other achievements.

Player retention

Service for monitoring activity of players and bringing inactive gamers back to the customer's projects. The application uses different communication channels and is connected to in-game loyalty programs via API.

Friends Finder

Helps search for players within the customer's regional ecosystem. The application is integrated with similar ones from other regions using the game publisher's shared API.

#3

Result

Delivery of application and customer service updates to test and production environments was optimized. Quick delivery of updates to the produstion environment or rollback to a more stable version of the application if necessary were introduced. The launch of new applications and changes to applications already in use was automated through generated delivery templates.

Work speed and infrastructure reliability have increased. Applications now work correctly and without hiccups, as evidenced by the absence of critical incidents over more than 12 months. Availability and quality of services and applications is being monitored automatically. In case of incidents, errors are eliminated instantly thanks to the monitoring and automation of DevOps processes.

Loovatech engineers implemented Infrastructure-As-a-Code approach everywhere. The project's toolkit is now fully available to the customer for independent development by an in-house team or for delegation to another third-party contractor. Infrastructural processes are extremely clear, manageable and reproducible, designed according to the best industry practices. Anyone with knowledge of Amazon Web Services and Kubernetes technologies can take over maintaining the project. The customer fully owns the results of the work and is not tied to Loovatech, in contrast to the previous contractor.

Yearly cost of cloud resources and Amazon infrastructure has decreased. Use of best practices and common tools helped decrease labor costs. Infrastructure cost in this region is now 50% less than in other regional offices around the world.

#4

Future

The result of the work performed by Loovatech engineers exceeded the expectations of the gaming company's representative office. Negotiations are underway to connect Loovatech resources to solving similar infrastructural tasks for the HQ.

The agreement to support the marketing application infrastructure for the eSports game developer and publisher has been extended until the end of 2022.

Business result

  • 283 updates of marketing applications were delivered to the customer's infrastructure during the first year of cooperation.
  • 50% reduction in operating costs for cloud infrastructure.
  • 19% of inactive players in this region returned to the customer's projects within 6 months.
  • 0 critical incidents registered during the first year of cooperation.

Technology stack

  • Backend Python (Django), Elixir, Golang
  • Middleware nginx, AWS ALB
  • Interface Node.js
  • Storage PostgreSQL, Redis
  • Hosting AWS
  • DevOps AWS CodeBuild / CodePipeline, Kubernetes, Helm, Ansible
  • Monitoring Amazon CloudWatch
  • Logs New Relic
  • Tools JIRA, Google Docs, CodeCommit, Slack
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