Mobile game maker Voodoo builds a global game with Google Cloud Platform
Voodoo, the publisher of a mobile game called Quiz Run, sustains a rapidly growing business on Google Cloud Platform components, including Google App Engine and Google Cloud Datastore.
Like many tech startups, Paris-based Voodoo needed a budget-friendly technology platform that let the company maximize developer productivity. But as a maker of mobile games, the company also needed a platform that could easily support the growth of its popular signature game, Quiz Run.
“Mobile is a hot spot for gaming, but there are a lot of competitors,” says Alexandre Yazdi, Voodoo CEO. “That means that our game has to be as perfect as possible, and game performance is very important. Having a good server is an absolute necessity.”
That platform also had to scale to support the introduction of Quiz Run in different languages, such as German and English, allowing Voodoo to expand the game’s reach to new countries. “We wanted to scale across a lot of countries and users, but we didn’t want to take on anything that would dilute our focus on our games,” says Yazdi.
Voodoo CTO Damien Dessagne found the answer in Google Cloud Platform, which Voodoo has used from its inception in 2013. The company uses Google App Engine as its main server, connecting to the game’s mobile apps via web services and to the back end via Objectify, an easy-to-use interface to the App Engine Datastore.
“’We knew we wanted to bundle everything you need to create an app on a platform that could easily scale,” says Dessagne. “It brought us to Google Cloud Platform from the start. There aren’t many companies with this kind of capability and high service.”
App Engine lets Voodoo’s developers fully focus on products while supporting rapid growth. “When we launched, we grew from 100 to 60,000 daily active users in less than a month without even caring about infrastructure,” he says. “App Engine just worked!”
Quiz Run is currently the most-played mobile quiz app in France, with about 3 million players in France, Germany and United States. Throughout that growth, Google Cloud Platform has proven extremely reliable, serving roughly two terabytes of data monthly.
“Our users currently play about one million turns daily,” says Dessagne. “App Engine handles millions of requests, with spikes of 200 requests per second, with no errors and low latency. We have had zero downtime in our three years on App Engine.”
Google Cloud Platform also helps boost customer satisfaction, as Voodoo can easily run several versions of its server code in parallel, with Objectify providing mediation code to reconcile code differences among the versions.
“This way, we can iterate fast, without forcing our users to update their app,” points out Dessagne. “I don’t know how we would do this if we weren’t on App Engine.”
AppStats for Java, a suite of App and API call profiling tools that measure app performance, has also helped Voodoo cut costs while boosting performance. “In just a few seconds you can see the exact cost of any request issued to your server, which helped us improve our performance and efficiency,” he says. For example, AppStats revealed early on that the company was not storing games efficiently, which slowed retrieval and refresh time for many users. “We now store data completely differently, and it’s because of something AppStats pointed out to us.”
Voodoo will take analytics a step further with Google BigQuery, which Dessagne hopes will help the company cut down on user churn. “We have a data scientist working on an algorithm that will predict when a user is about to abandon the app. We want to be able to know in (a short) time so we are able to give them reasons to stay,” he says.
With Google Cloud Platform, the company can concentrate on keeping those users, and adding more, without ever worrying that the app won’t perform.