Saturday, September 25, 2010

Online Gaming and Gigaspaces

What’s under the hood? A good engine can make the gaming experience all the smoother. Just check out the power of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to see what their ‘under the hood’ action can bring gamers. But what about online gaming? No matter how powerful a PC gamer’s machine is, if the backend infrastructure and gaming cloud is not solid and able to withstand fluctuations in users, scale to meet the gamers needs, well then the gaming experience will suffer, the game will suffer and everyone loses. Recently we had the chance to chat with some of the folks in this business, the business of the backend, and they, Gigaspaces, were more than happy to shed light on how their product and the overall online gaming experience can be better from a solid backend that’s scalable and fast.

What is Gigaspaces? Without the nitty gritty Gigaspaces offers all the backend system tiers in one convenient package. Message tier, application tier and database tier all tied together. They pull all the pieces together so companies don’t need to shop around for separate pieces of the same desired environmental outcome. All transactions are done in memory as are updates to the system, it’s all seamless. What??? Ok, in simple terms they handle all the backend setup, support and updates so companies can focus on making great games and it runs smooth allowing for fluctuations in user rates with no slowdown in service. Scaling to meet larger numbers of gamers … so simple yet they pull it off where many fail.

They are global with offices everywhere and support everywhere. They utilize a cloud environment, using what systems are needed when needed (scaling folks, see a trend). Gigaspaces scales up while keeping latency down. Push out a Facebook game with promo, no issues with Gigaspaces supporting the backend. This is a simplification folks but the point is they handle it all under the hood. Let’s look at some real benefits and examples, check out the Gigaspaces site if you want geeky detail.

Benefit to game companies – Originally created to meet the needs of an Israeli Military Defense project, Gigaspaces knows how to upscale while keeping latency down. No small feat and one that, when applied online, can greatly enhance the cost and experience companies see. IPhone launches in US, demand is amazing and the site goes down due to traffic while in the UK demand is also great but thanks to Gigaspaces scalable backend the site runs with no issues. One example but the fact remains a gaming company can concentrate on gaming and not the backend issues, Gigaspaces takes care of updates, scaling … the whole kit and caboodle.

Benefit to gamers – First is the quality in gameplay experience. Don’t get caught with slowdown and latency that ruins the gaming experience. If the technology can support the UK iPhone launch with none of the issues the US faced, that’s something to take note of. There is also the face companies can spend more time working on their games and not worrying about the backend.

Overall this is one look at one company that handles the backend of the games we love. Know what’s under the hood; is it Gigaspaces or someone else? Seeing slowdown in your favorite game or online application? What’s under the hood? Just like knowing the engine of a car, knowing the engine of an online game can greatly enhance the experience of driving and gaming. Education is key and this is one gamer who’s doing more research.

About Gigaspaces:
“GigaSpaces Technologies is a leading provider of a new generation of application platforms for Java and .Net environments that offers an alternative to traditional application servers. Its flagship product, XAP, is an enterprise-grade application server for deploying and dynamically scaling distributed applications under any requirement.

GigaSpaces customers depending on our reliability and millisecond latency include dozens of Global Fortune 100/500 companies, including Société Générale and British American Tobacco; six of the world's top 10 investment banks and financial services companies like Dow Jones; leading telecommunications carriers and eCommerce companies like eBay; and five of the world's top online gaming companies and Internet media organizations.

GigaSpaces was founded in 2000 and has offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.”

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