Casinos Bet Big on the Cloud
There are significant uncertainties in launching a new game compared to creating a business or a personal-use software product. In non-gaming applications, you are fairly clear about the demand for your product and its features, meaning less overall risk. Of course you still have to do a great job and market your software, but at least you know what works in the market.
Cutting-edge game producers, when writing a new game, are never so certain. Will the game go viral and recoup every investment a hundred times over? Or will it completely bomb? You will never really know until at least the beta is released and enough hard core gamers have had a chance to play.
Games have gradually become more complex, network-oriented and multi-player in outlook, meaning gaming companies have to make significant investment in back-end hardware to support the game. Thus, as the last section of this article will show, even casinos are betting big on cloud based games to attract clients.
Fortunately, using the cloud to develop and host the game offers a very practical method of reducing developmental risk, making it more affordable to produce new games and offer them to users. This also benefits players by bringing down costs, making massive multi-player games possible and improving the overall experience.
Here are some specifics –
Reducing Development Cost
You can rent access to a cloud service for little cost without making long-term commitments. You get access to the very best computing resources without making any kind of fixed investment in servers, databases and processing power. These low costs allow you to experiment without worry, making approvals to experiment far easier to obtain. Who can argue over starting with a $35 downpayment as opposed to thousands of dollars spent on servers and operating systems?
Games are no longer confined to a single operating system or a single hardware platform. No one in their right mind would restrict himself so severely. Therefore you need to provide your development team with different target operating systems in varying hardware configurations to test output and ensure consistent user experience. Previously, serious gaming companies would maintain servers running different OS’s and test their games on them.
Naturally this led to higher cost. If you had limited computing resources, you ended up installing and uninstalling multiple operating systems, which was pretty frustrating. Using cloud computing, however, you can hire multiple instances and run different OS’s across them. Testing has now become easy and you can integrate it tightly into your development process, saving time, money and keeping your developers smiling.
Testing is also extended to real users at the lowest cost possible. You just need to make a small and controlled expenditure to deploy your game fully. The production version can be deployed rapidly and scaled up in near real time as traffic picks up. This ensures that costs only increase as revenue picks up and do not eat into company resources upfront.
For some time there was a genuine concern about quality. Would cloud based games be able to deliver the same video experience that a top-of-the-line graphics card is able to provide on a local host? This worry has been laid to rest with the coming of age of extremely powerful graphics processing capability in the cloud. As a result, you can shift the processing to the cloud rather than rely on the user-end device. This ensures that all users, regardless of end user device, will get the same video experience. On the cloud you can hire increasingly powerful processors to ensure that your users get an amazing experience and the “wow!” factor.
From Individual Players to Casinos
Many casinos are shifting to cloud for their games. Imagine the benefits: no coins to manage, instant credit of accounts, and much easier handling of cash. And all of this with a secure and amazing user experience with frequently upgraded games and previews provided to clients even before they set foot in the casino.
Cloud computing has changed the gaming industry beyond recognition. Everything now looks real and possible in the virtual world.
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About the Guest Author:
Sanjay Srivastava has been active in computing infrastructure and has participated in major projects on cloud computing, networking, VoIP and creation of applications running over distributed databases. Due to a military background, his focus has always been on stability and availability of infrastructure. Sanjay was the Director of Information Technology in a major enterprise and managed the transition from legacy software to fully networked operations using private cloud infrastructure. He now writes extensively on cloud computing and networking and is about to move to his farm in Central India, where he plans to use cloud computing and modern technology to improve the lives of local rural folk.