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Simplified global game management: Introducing Game Servers

By Scott Van Woudenberg, Google Product Manager

March 24, 2020

To deliver the multiplayer gaming experiences gamers expect, game developers are increasingly relying on dedicated game servers as the default option for connecting players. But hosting and scaling a game server fleet to support a global game can be challenging, and many game companies either end up building costly proprietary solutions, or turning to pre-packaged solutions that limit developer choice and control.

Agones, an open source game server hosting and scaling project built on Kubernetes, was cofounded by Google Cloud and Ubisoft to offer a simpler option. It provides a community-developed alternative to proprietary solutions that also gives developers the freedom to seamlessly host and scale game server clusters across multiple environments—in multiple clouds, on premises, or on local machines.

Alejandro Gonzalez, GM Jam City Bogota shared his experience using Agones for the real-time strategy mobile game World War Doh: "Agones was a key piece in our relay strategy as it allowed us to easily administrate the Kubernetes-based relays for World War Doh. Agones saved us precious time required for a custom inhouse counterpart and in addition, kept our implementation generic and available to run on top of multiple cloud providers."

Today, we’re announcing the availability of Game Servers beta, a managed service offering of Agones. Whereas Agones is ideal for managing regional game server clusters, Game Servers supercharges Agones to simplify managing global multi-cluster game server fleets. 

If you’re already running Agones in production workloads, you can opt into the managed service by simply registering Agones-managed game server clusters with the new Game Servers API. And you can opt out of the managed service at any time if you want to go back to manual management.

You can also group these clusters into a concept we call realms—logical groupings of Kubernetes clusters, designed around a game’s latency requirements. You can then define game server configurations and scaling policies to simplify fleet management across realms and the clusters within them, all while still maintaining control and visibility.

Game Servers can help you plan for a variety of scenarios. For example, you can choose to increase the reserved capacity of game servers for a planned game event, or for a specific date and time range. Additionally, you can automate scaling to account for daily peak and non-peak hours across different regions. Game Servers’ rollout flexibility also means that you can A/B test different game server configurations and canary test changes, rolling them back if necessary. 

In beta, Game Servers will initially support clusters running on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE)  only and we are diligently working on hybrid and multi-cloud support for later this year. The second half of 2020 will also bring more advanced scaling policies, and a deeper integration with our open source matchmaking framework, Open Match. Learn more about how to get started with Game Servers here.
 

Game Servers is the latest solution in Google Cloud’s ongoing effort to help game developers remove complexity from infrastructure management. Companies like Activision Blizzard are benefiting from our highly reliable global network, advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, and commitment to open source, to bring great gaming experiences to their players.

Join our Google for Games digital broadcast on Monday, March 23rd to hear from Google experts and leading gaming companies such as Improbable, Grenge, Colopl and Unity, who are using our technology to take their games to the next level. Learn more.

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