Game Insight: Boosting multiplayer gaming performance

About Game Insight

With more than 300 million players, Game Insight is one of the largest game companies in the world. A leading innovator of mobile and social games such as Guns of Boom, Game Insight is pioneering cross-platform gaming on a global scale. Founded in 2009, the company is based in Vilnius, Lithuania and has development studios around the globe.

Industries: Gaming
Location: Lithuania

Game Insight migrated its global player versus player mobile FPS game Guns of Boom to Google Cloud Platform and gained improved performance, security configurations, and better cost efficiency.

Google Cloud Results

  • Offers a simple and transparent project billing structure on Compute Engine with cost benefits for sustained use
  • Supports fast gameplay with 5% to 10% latency improvements on the Google Cloud Platform Premium Tier global network
  • Simplifies data exchange security between regions without hassling over additional security measures thanks to Google Cloud VPC
  • Delivers cost-saving benefits of 15% to 20% right out of the gate

Cuts operation costs, boosts performance for players

The future of gaming is in connecting: people want to play together, no matter what device they're playing on or where they are in the world. By focusing on the most innovative gameplay experience and linking players around the globe, Game Insight has grown to become one of the largest game companies in the world. Its free-to-play mobile games portfolio includes a range of flagship titles, such as the village building game The Tribez, and the team-based first-person shooter Guns of Boom, which was released in 2017 and attracted 50 million players in its first year alone.

"To deliver the best online multiplayer experience, we need a global low-latency network for smooth gameplay and faster responses between client and server. This helps keep gameplay fair for everyone, wherever they are globally, and is vital for our esports initiative, which recently expanded to Latin America and Asia."

Ethan Clark, VP, Strategic Partnerships, Game Insight

"We have a diverse portfolio of games, with something for players from every demographic," explains Ethan Clark, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Game Insight. "A rich online multiplayer experience is a unifying theme for all our games going into the future, whether that be the new 'clans' feature in Tribez or player versus player battles in Guns of Boom." Connecting gamers from different regions to play together in matches of 8 to 16 players while maintaining a good gaming experience, even during peak times, requires a low-latency network that supports fast data exchange.

Game Insight was looking for a cloud provider with an excellent global network to support its millions of players worldwide, as well as a personal approach with tailored support. To achieve these aims, it migrated its infrastructure to Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

"To deliver the best online multiplayer experience, we need a global low-latency network for smooth gameplay and faster responses between client and server," says Ethan. "This helps keep gameplay fair for everyone, wherever they are globally, and is vital for our esports initiative, which recently expanded to Latin America and Asia."

Migrating Guns of Boom with zero downtime

Players can only appreciate cutting-edge content and graphics if these are successfully delivered without the distraction of lag and glitches. With its growing focus on synchronous multiplayer gaming and live streaming, Game Insight needed a cloud service that can handle data from millions of players across the globe while maintaining low latency. The company also wanted a maximally simple security scheme for data transfer across regions, as well as a predictable project-based pricing structure.

For the migration to GCP, it started by moving its flagship game, Guns of Boom. "We had a really interesting situation, because Guns of Boom was already up and running with millions of players, so our goal was to migrate without any downtime," explains Alex Shirov, CTO at Game Insight. To do that, the company first monitored performance between regions using ping tests and other metrics, and migrated a smaller game with fewer active daily users as a trial run.

"Google Compute Engine lets us split usage into projects, so it's easy to manage costs. We also love the fact that we don't have to commit to specific VM types. We can use the resource pool according to our needs. And of course, the super-fast start-up times are great."

Alex Shirov, CTO, Game Insight

"As soon as we were happy with the performance across the network, we began to spin up servers in various regions and move our Guns of Boom players over," says Alex. "We left our central node, which is responsible for metadata and matchmaking services, until last. It took a week to copy all our central data over. Everything went well and we managed to migrate with zero downtime."

Game Insight manages its VMs using infrastructure as code, deployed through Terraform using an out-of-the-box GCP plugin. Its servers are hosted on Compute Engine VMs, and it uses Cloud Storage and Persistent Disk for data storage, with Firebase services including Firebase Crashlytics and Firebase Cloud Messaging for its mobile apps. It also uses Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) for easy networking between regions where its nodes are located.

"Before, we had to spend time and be more attentive while setting up iptables to establish secure connections between nodes in different regions," says Alex. "GCP functions as one big network, so we no longer have to worry about additional setups for exchange data security. That means we can focus on optimizations."

Game Insight also appreciates the transparent and flexible billing structure on Compute Engine. "Google Compute Engine lets us split usage into projects, so it's easy to manage costs," says Alex. "We also love the fact that we don't have to commit to specific VM types. We can use the resource pool according to our needs. And of course, the super-fast start-up times are great."

Benefiting from a more client-focused service

Another reason Game Insight chose GCP is because it was looking for a more client-focused service. "The GCP team was able to offer us credits while we migrated, to help us meet the business goals of the project, and provide the technical support we needed to complete the migration without an implementation partner," says Alex. "For the minor issues we did encounter, they worked together with us to find a solution by implementing sole-tenant nodes, which are dedicated to our instances and give us control over their placement logic. It was great to have the GCP team at the end of the phone line."

"Thanks to the Google Cloud Platform Premium Tier network, we get the best possible latency all the way through. We've seen an improvement of between 5 percent and 10 percent, which goes a long way to deliver smoother gameplay, faster updates, and a better experience for our players."

Alex Shirov, CTO, Game Insight

"We use so many services from different areas of the Google ecosystem, including G Suite, AdMob, Firebase, Google Ads, Google Play, and YouTube for live streaming," says Ethan. "Google has been such an important strategic partner for us, so switching to GCP was a logical step."

Delivering fair gameplay for global gamers

Since moving to GCP, Game Insight has seen improvements in the performance of Guns of Boom. "Thanks to the Google Cloud Platform Premium Tier network, we get the best possible latency all the way through," says Alex. "We've seen an improvement of between 5 percent and 10 percent, which goes a long way to deliver smoother gameplay, faster updates, and a better experience for our players."

Game Insight also expects to see financial benefits from the migration. "We're still migrating services, but we have already seen savings of 15 percent to 20 percent thanks to sustained use discounts on Google Compute Engine," says Alex. "We anticipate overall savings of up to 20 percent once the migration is complete."

Following the benefits of migrating Guns of Boom, Game Insight plans to extend its use of GCP, as well as exploring Google Kubernetes Engine and expanding its use of machine learning beyond Firebase Predictions to include player behavior analysis using Cloud Machine Learning Engine. "We now have five titles hosted on GCP, as well as one in the process of migration, and one in development that will launch on GCP," says Alex. "We plan to use GCP for additional upcoming launches as well."

"GCP helps us handle a huge number of players, even during sudden spikes in usage, with low latency connections. This enables us to provide the modern gaming experience our users love," says Ethan. "It's really helped us push forward our esports initiative, which recently expanded to Latin America and Asia."

About Game Insight

With more than 300 million players, Game Insight is one of the largest game companies in the world. A leading innovator of mobile and social games such as Guns of Boom, Game Insight is pioneering cross-platform gaming on a global scale. Founded in 2009, the company is based in Vilnius, Lithuania and has development studios around the globe.

Industries: Gaming
Location: Lithuania