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technology | IST

What does it take to architect a winning game in India in 2020?

Republic of Games by CNBCTV18.com and Akamai is back with another webinar, titled "Architecting a Winning Game", which focusses on what it takes to build a winning formula for games in India in 2020.
This session saw the CTOs from the top 10 gaming companies in India to discuss the various aspects of architecting a game in India in 2020.
The basics of game architecture
Mike Elissen, Developer Advocate and Gaming Enthusiast, Akamai Technologies, pointed out that games are hyperconnected, with people playing them from across the world.
Architecting, as he said, involves ensuring that the gaming infrastructure is scalable and can handle the increased traffic, along with taking care of bringing in the necessary security features.
In his own words, "India's gamers are the fastest growing gaming population in the world as of 2020. With a total population of 1.4 billion, currently, according to studies, over 330 million gamers are playing games today... primarily on mobile devices."
He classified the architecture into three levels:
  1. Level 1: The digital distribution of the games via the Play Store, the updates and the patches.
  2. Level 2: The microservices, such as the leaderboards and the other aspects of the gameplay. He also mentions APIs which are crucial to the architecture of a game and need to have a scalable and reliable infrastructure.
  3. Level 3: The security threats, which in themselves are of three types - griefers, cheaters and fraudsters.
  4. Speaking of security, Mike spoke about Akamai Edge, which apart from delivering content also acts as a defensive shield for sites, apps, APIs, users' devices and all their data. There are about 300,000 servers in 4,100 locations delivering and securing Akamai's clients and their customers. Additionally, Edge also helps live stream the games to audiences worldwide.
    How platforms are working towards attracting new users
    Given that every platform is different, each panellist had their own unique perspective and approach.
    Digvijay Ponia, CTO of Games 91, stated, "We have strengthened our distribution model where we have these distributors on the ground, and we have an on-site model which has helped us increase our customer acquisition. So it has come as a great blessing in disguise for the games that have recently been launched."
    Ashifa Sunar, SVP, Product Quality at Mobile Premier League, stated, "We are, on one hand, trying to build games with the latest technologies possible like AR video-based gaming, etc. to attract the global audience. On the other side, we are looking at opportunities to cater to new segments like women gamers and rural gamers, etc."
    Key challenges in the Architecture of Games
    Pratik Shah, CEO of Mastermind Sports, replied, "Essentially, we run a social sports-prediction platform, and the key challenges here are of course the seasonality... especially in the Indian market, the challenge has always been the revenue that you generate versus the cost of the infrastructure as well as the associated costs..."
    Amit Jain,  Head of Technology at Cympl Studios, also added, "In India, the paying customer is definitely what we want more of, but I surely think that the meta in the game plays a very important role in acquiring more and more customers towards the paying side of it..."
    Sagnik Nath, CTO of Rooter Sports Technologies, agreed, saying, "The target is to keep the tech costs manageable so that we scale up... we're able to get to a point where we can monetize, but until then the tech costs should be effective enough that you're not burning out too much at a very fast rate..."
    Competing with global gaming behemoths
    One of the most common questions always asked is whether or not it's a challenge to complete with global behemoths like EA games.
    Pawan Nanda, CO-Founder and CEO of QinZo, spoke of the various channels through with monetization is now increasing as more and more people play games on their mobiles.
    He went on to say, "I think that's the time when we'll be able to in invest these kinds of resources... building a terrific title requires time, you need to hire folks, you need to have enough time to build that game, and you also end up putting a lot of marketing bandwidth behind the product."
    Looming security concerns
    Security concerns are also a major challenge across the board. Vishal Jain, Senior Solutions Architect and Technical Manager at My Team 11, said, "We are taking some third-party support as well... The idea is to break the components and then you're able to find where the problem lies..."
    The importance of low latency and downtime
    Prakash Kumar, Co-Founder and CTO of RheoTV, stated that their live streaming platform captured the screens of players and streamed them live for people to watch. Low latency is thus crucial.
    He pointed out, "So we have tried multiple CDM providers in the past; at one time, we have three CDM providers working together... It was very difficult for us to try different things and settle with one CDM provider which works for us."
    Rajat Teotia, Former CTO of Junglee Games added, "When it comes to the real-time multiplayer games, latency plays a huge part. You don't want to create a service that is synchronous, and user action is being waited upon... in order to optimize all of that, you have to create multiple servers with edge-routing..."
    Amarjeet Nayak, Gaming Relationships at Akamai lastly added, "The next best content delivery network in India would have four or five points of presence in India. If you contrast that with Akamai, we have a few thousand servers. Whatever cricket you watch today online on your cell-phone or a living room device, it is coming from an Akamai server."
    Final thoughts
    Akamai has been providing genius solutions for the fast, forward-moving gaming industry in India, and the panel discussed some key issues that form the core of the gaming architecture.
    This comprehensive discussion touches upon these various aspects with real-life experiences of how they affect the various players in India, and more importantly, what it will take for us to be able to compete on a global level.
     This is a partnered post.