Vinod Krishnan, the Head of the Middle East and North Africa at Amazon Web Services (AWS), speaks about how their technology powers some of the biggest gaming titles out there on the market
How does AWS power some of the biggest games out there?
AWS works with game developers of all sizes, from some of the industry’s most successful developers to up-and-coming indie studios, and gives them access to more services, and more features within those services, than any other cloud provider. AWS has more than 200 fully-featured services including compute, storage, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and many more.
This immediately gives developers access to a wealth of cloud tools that will allow them to innovate faster by letting them focus valuable IT resources on creating great games and customer experiences instead of the heavy lifting of managing infrastructures and data centers.
Through AWS, game developers benefit from the elasticity of the cloud, having the ability to scale up at moments when they need to keep up with high demand in players joining online games for example or to add extra compute power during times when they need additional resources that their existing on-premises infrastructure can’t meet. Developers also have the ability to deploy globally in minutes, creating game servers and instances in the cloud that reach customers worldwide.
Game developers can use cloud technology like compute, allowing them to create cloud-based multiplayer game servers around the earth in minutes. Their players can be ensured a smooth online game experience, no matter what country or continent they live in. AWS also gives developers access to a breadth of analytics tools, allowing them to stay on top of data from their players in real-time so they always have visibility into what their customers like or don’t like, and what needs to be adjusted to fit their needs.
Developers also have access to machine learning tools that can help them to analyze trends in player data to help make key business decisions, or they can automate some of the more mundane tasks like quality assurance so their employees can focus on things like providing qualitative feedback on game content.
How do you work with game developers to ensure their games are optimised for a latency-free gaming experience?
Cloud technology has helped level the playing field for developers of all sizes, giving even small development teams access to the same tools and resources that were once reserved for the industry’s largest players. Through this, it has made developers more agile and given them the ability to scale up and deploy globally in minutes so that when an opportunity presents itself, they can capitalize on it.
You can look at some of our largest customers, like Epic Games, who have been able to grow their flagship title Fortnite due in part to the elasticity of the cloud and the ability to scale up to meet massive opportunities, like the Ariana Grande concert which took place this past summer and held millions of concurrent players.
In the region, Babil Games, the leading game publisher in the Middle East, relies on a number of AWS services to support their massively popular multiplayer games, such as Moghamarat Al-Abtal. The company also leverages AWS to scale to millions of users and optimize performance to give players the best gaming experience.
You can also look at smaller customers as an example of this as well, such as indie developer AI Dungeon whose game AI Dungeon 2 became an overnight success hitting more than a million players in its first month. They were able to seamlessly scale and test their game through the cloud, making sure they didn’t falter when the opportunity to explode in popularity arose.
Games are also changing in that they are becoming living experiences with frequent content updates over time. Since developers are counting on players to stick around and stay engaged with their games, they need to stay on top of what their players like and what keeps them playing.
This is where the cloud can help immensely with data storage and analytics, making sure that developers are receiving a steady influx of player data along with the tools necessary to analyze that data in real-time to make key decisions that affect the ongoing health of their games and their communities. Machine learning can help here as well in providing developers with tools to automate processes like sorting through massive amounts of data and pulling out relevant points and trends worth watching and evaluating.
All of this gives developers resources that would have been otherwise unattainable, allowing them to put out higher-quality content for their games. It allows them to have a global presence instantly, which would have also been impossible for smaller developers without the resources to establish a presence around the world. It allows teams to focus their attention on things like creating top-quality games and experiences for their players instead of managing an on-premises data center.
It also gives them the ability to stay on top of player trends and playing habits, learning what they like and don’t like, and helping to ensure that each content update that the dev team puts out is closer to what their players actually want to play. For gamers, it results in much higher-quality content, which ultimately means games that are more fun to play.
They will most often enjoy a smoother overall experience including multiplayer games with less lag and fewer interruptions. If game developers are able to focus more attention on making fun games and have the best tools to make them, then players get to reap the benefit of those efforts in having better quality games to enjoy.
What are your plans for the regional gaming industry for the rest of the year?
AWS has been expanding its presence across the Middle East to bring cloud computing benefits even closer to customers across all industries. We’ve been investing in infrastructure and have launched the first AWS Middle East data centers in Bahrain in 2019, and we will be launching new data centers in the UAE in the first half of 2022.
We see a lot of potential in the Middle East gaming industry and are excited by the opportunities the regional data centers provide to the gaming community across the region. These benefits include:
- Low latency – Having an AWS Middle East infrastructure means game developers can run their workloads in the region and benefit from very low latency which means better player experiences.
- Global infrastructure – Game developers can benefit from the global AWS infrastructure and quickly launch tests in Brazil, Japan, Australia, the US, and Germany all at the same time with a single API call. Test for minutes, hours, or days, you only pay for what you use, down to the second.
- Scalability and elasticity –Scale from 20 players to 20 million without constraints and only pay for the compute power that you use.
- Agility – Quickly build and launch your game. If it fails, simply throw away the infrastructure, repurpose the elements that worked, and start working on the next one – fail fast and learn fast. Game developers can use AWS to ensure their players are up and running.
- The breadth of technology – AWS provides a wide range of services and tools that help game developers innovate and build for large-scale ambition.