Operate - Games Industry Lens


GAMEOPS04 - How do you monitor the health of the game?

GAMEOPS_BP08: Instrument the game to detect and monitor player-impacting issues.

In addition to responding to social media and player reports of issues, you should instrument your game with monitoring solutions to you detect when there are player-impacting issues that need to be investigated.

No amount of testing is sufficient enough to identify all issues in a game. Games are usually launched with known issues that are planned to be gradually fixed with the next release of the game. Known and reproducible issues are easier to address and fix. It is difficult to preempt all issues or bugs that a player may experience. To assist with identifying such issues, it is recommended that game clients implement logging and reporting in the app at various strategic locations to help the backend team identify any client-side issues. The ability to find such issues early allows the game developers to troubleshoot and fix the issue before it becomes widespread. The data and logs reported by the tracking code should never include any player identifiable information (PII), and they should only contain game specific metadata that help with debugging.

Implement an observability solution for detecting and responding to issues such as game crashes or bugs. You can use Amazon CloudWatch Synthetics to create canaries that can monitor the health of your player-facing backend game services. You can instrument your backend services with X-Ray to trace requests across distributed services, and send your custom logs and metrics to Amazon CloudWatch. Third-party solutions, such as Backtrace.io and Sentry, are popular solutions for error reporting in games. Application performance monitoring (APM) solutions from partners such as New Relic, Splunk, Datadog, and Honeycomb.io are also popular.

The game’s Live Operations’ team and community managers should also monitor various social networks and channels to check for player feedback, complaints, and bug reports in addition to the official support channels. Every game specific complaint received should be reviewed and attempted to be reproduced, or sent to the QA team for their review. If reproducible, the issue should be escalated to the game developers for their troubleshooting and a fix before it impacts the larger player base.