Definition - Games Industry Lens

Definition

There are four best practice areas for cost optimization in the cloud:

  • Cost-effective resources

  • Matching supply and demand

  • Expenditure awareness

  • Optimizing over time

Prior to launch, game developers typically do not have a clear understanding of how popular, successful, or long-lasting their game will become after launch. Some games are highly anticipated but are unable to retain players for a long period of time, while other games may immediately or gradually increase their player base and develop into sustainable and profitable businesses. Depending on the game's monetization strategy, business priorities, and where the game is in its lifecycle, a game developer will need to make trade-offs to evaluate cost optimization decisions. For example, a game developer may be preparing to release a highly anticipated new game that has media publicity and widespread industry awareness.

During this pre-launch phase, a developer will likely be prioritizing their focus on time-to-market, feature development, and game performance rather than cost optimization. When a new game launches, game developers want to be sure that their infrastructure can scale to meet their peak player demand. This typically leads to the over-provisioning of resources to account for peak player forecast projections, or best-case sales scenarios. Alternatively, if a game is not successful, or if it's in a stage where development on the game is beginning to slow down, a developer may want to prioritize reducing costs as much as possible so that they can continue to operate the game for existing players for years to come.

A game developer may operate multiple games simultaneously, which requires additional considerations to be factored in. For example, a game developer may reuse resources including technical infrastructure, software, and staff for multiple live games, where the operating costs are shared between the games.

Games are unique workloads due to their business models, scale, and unpredictability. The following questions can help you make cost-optimization decisions for your game.