1492 Studio: Acquiring 19 million readers in just 3 years

About 1492 Studio

1492 Studio publishes interactive romances under the series title: Is it love?. Readers are able to influence the development of the story through the choices they make among various options. The stories are told through text and images influenced by the aesthetic of Japanese manga comics. Currently, the stories all take place either in the world of business or in a fantasy world.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: France

With Google Cloud Platform, 1492 Studio’s infrastructure adapts in real time to tens of millions of daily user requests. Running costs are scaled according to commercial activity, without investment risk.

Google Cloud Results

  • Since the creation of 1492 Studio, the company’s entire IT infrastructure has been powered by Google Cloud Platform
  • Google App Engine powers a rules engine that determines the evolution of stories, the verification of additional purchases, and the text and configuration of stories
  • Google Cloud SQL stores data, the progress of players, and the information link to them

19M downloads in 3 years

Founded in 2014 by two entrepreneurs specializing in free-to-play gaming 1492 Studio’s principal target audience is women aged 16 to 50. Its stories are available in six languages on Google Play and in the Apple Store, with a free-to-play commercial model. Every day, players are given a certain number of credits with which they can make the story unfold. If they want the plot to move faster, they can purchase additional credits.

“From the very beginning with 1492 Studio, we chose Google Cloud Platform so as to avoid slow periods, a real problem for mobile publishers.”

Thibaud Zamora, Co-founder, 1492 Studio

1492 Studio is by no means a first attempt for Claire and Thibaud Zamora. Partners in both life and work, this entrepreneurial couple previously founded a business dedicated to internet and mobile gaming. Over a number of years, the company found itself in a recurring double bind: either the hosted infrastructure lacked sufficient power when faced with an influx of users, or it was overly large, leading to unnecessary expenditure.

“From the very beginning with 1492 Studio, we chose Google Cloud Platform so as to avoid slow periods, a real problem for mobile publishers,” explains Thibaud Zamora.

“With Google Cloud Platform, we no longer suffer issues with peaks and troughs in connections. Without any intervention on our part, the infrastructure autoscales in real time to deal with downloads by new users or reader requests.”

Thibaud Zamora, Co-founder, 1492 Studio

All the computing power of the architecture is contained in Google virtual servers and databases, with mobiles serving only as interfaces for the various user requests: downloading apps, choosing scenarios, buying credits.

“With Google Cloud Platform, we no longer suffer issues with peaks and troughs in connections. Without any intervention on our part, the infrastructure autoscales in real time to deal with downloads by new users or reader requests, with practically zero latency, no matter where they are in the world,” says Thibaud. “We are able to concentrate on our job as publishers with an infrastructure cost that is reasonable, clear, and under our control.”

The proof is in the facts

The concrete benefits of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) for 1492 Studio have been evident from the very beginning. The company saw the advantages it offers when, one Sunday, an influential reader made a video about Is it love? and posted it on YouTube. Within three minutes, traffic had tripled! In a single day, the number of subscribers increased 250%. “Under our previous hosting system, a fluctuation like that would have been impossible to absorb. Our reputation would have been damaged and our sales would have suffered,” explains Thibaud.

From working on the beta version of the first application, the co-founder appreciated the clarity of the interface and the resources of Google App Engine and Google Cloud SQL.

Supporting innovation

In mid-2015, 1492 Studio was selected by Google as part of an outreach programme for growing businesses. Google Cloud Platform services were offered at practically no cost during this test period. A model of the first interactive story was constructed using PHP/MySQL and given to beta users to test.

“During that time, I was in direct contact with Google engineers in order to better structure and optimise the virtual server instances, to configure the databases and the memory. I am still in contact with them, and have access to the best possible technical support, from the source, as soon as we need it,” says Thibaud. In addition to these points of contact, the company had access to technical conferences, free access to knowledge databases, and a subscription to high level technical support.

“One of our previous apps needed to switch urgently from version 1.0 to version 2.0 of Google Cloud SQL, and it happened with no issues, and very quickly.”

Thibaud Zamora, Co-founder, 1492 Studio

One engine for several apps

While each romance corresponds to a particular app, the evolution of the stories depends on the same rules and interactions engine. 1492 Studio has custom built a configuration for its virtual servers, as well as a level of service specially adapted to its suite of apps, which grows by several titles every year.

The cycle of development is considerably shortened by integrated services such as load balancing, status verifications, and the logging of applications in Google App Engine. Without the need for software installation, Google Cloud SQL automates all the safeguards, replications, corrections, and updates.

Since moving to version 2.0 of Google Cloud SQL, adjustments to the database take place automatically. This means instant reactivity when it is needed: “One of our previous apps needed to switch urgently from version 1.0 to version 2.0 of Google Cloud SQL, and it happened with no issues, and very quickly,” says Thibaud.

“In three years of constantly using Google Cloud Platform, we have only encountered four minor technical problems and enjoy a rate of availability of over 99.5%.”

Thibaud Zamora, Co-founder, 1492 Studio

Peace of mind

In terms of improved security and safeguarding against the risk of piracy, 1492 Studio uses the Google App Engine service Google Cloud Security Scanner, which analyses and automatically detects flaws in the applications, as well as the integrated systems on the Google Play and Apple Store platforms.

“In three years of constantly using Google Cloud Platform, we have only encountered four minor technical problems and enjoy a rate of availability of over 99.5%,” says Thibaud.

Growing the company at its own pace, 1492 Studio plans, eventually, to begin using Google BigQuery analytics services, and to speed up data access by storing it in Memcache data memory caches.

About 1492 Studio

1492 Studio publishes interactive romances under the series title: Is it love?. Readers are able to influence the development of the story through the choices they make among various options. The stories are told through text and images influenced by the aesthetic of Japanese manga comics. Currently, the stories all take place either in the world of business or in a fantasy world.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: France
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