(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – iPhone apps aren’t the only pieces of code that often emanate from a garage and, with good fortune, enable developers to buy estates with six-car garages and a fleet of Ferraris to fill them. Life isn’t too shabby for independent game developers, either.
Indeed, according to Gamasutra, “independent development is one of the hottest trends right now within the game industry.” Echoes Game Academy, “indie studios are going mainstream with multi-million recurring revenues and billion dollar valuations.”
But in a hits-driven world, how does a savvy independent developer prepare – technology-wise –for a game suddenly going viral?
“Indie game developers rightly fret about hitting the wall – about lacking the infrastructure to properly support a wildly popular new title,” says Adam Stern, founder and CEO of cloud hosting provider Infinitely Virtual. Among the company’s early clients was Boom Music, a forerunner of Spotify, whose technology enabled users to add soundtracks to videogames. “Without question, smaller game developers building massive multiplayer games need infrastructure and often have to ramp up quickly,” he says. “They can’t spend much in advance, since they need to marshal their resources for the title itself.”
With GDC and SXSW having just wrapped up, and with LA Games Conference set for May and E3 in June, here’s Stern’s counsel:
- Face reality but prepare optimistically. Embrace Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – and do it early. Puns aside, rapid scalability is the name of the game. If your title catches on, you’ll need to add substantial horsepower overnight. IaaS enables you to start small but quickly increase compute power with essentially no upfront costs. You can literally boost your capabilities within days or even hours.
- Pay only for what you use. Whether you need to expand storage, compute power, security protocols, whatever – the pay-as-you-go rental model enables you to calibrate your growth and keep your focus on product development and delivery.
- Have your specs in a row. Just as you don’t want to underestimate your needs, neither do you want or need to get in too deep, too fast. Itemize your anticipated requirements: high speed storage? 10 gigabit connectivity? Fast interfaces between servers? What else?
- Get personal. Find a provider who answers the phone (literally) and can get to know your name. Do business with an organization as steeped in the architecture as you are in game design. Will Amazon offer you an engineering team?
- Eschew hardware. Keep your focus on using and consuming, not buying. You won’t merely be avoiding the money pit of depreciating iron, you’ll be sparing yourself the need to add headcount in IT. And you’ll still have compute power in reserve.
These pointers are just a start, Stern advises, but adds, “this is how you play to win.”
About Infinitely Virtual
Infinitely Virtual is a leading provider of high quality and affordable Cloud Server technology, capable of delivering services to any type of business, via terminal servers, SharePoint servers and SQL servers – all based on Cloud Servers. TouchCloud™, the company’s latest offering, combines Windows 2012 Server and Windows 8 or 8.1 touch-screen capabilities, automatically touch-enabling all Windows 8/8.1 applications in the cloud. The company was established as a subsidiary of Altay Corporation, and through this partnership, Infinitely Virtual provides customers with expert 24×7 technical support. More information about Infinitely Virtual can be found at: http://www.infinitelyvirtual.com