G2A's Journey to Global Growth, Part 1: Keeping Gamers and Geeks Playing During a Pandemic
G2A.COM is the world's largest marketplace for video games, with thousands of sellers, 24 million customers, and a million transactions a month. It's the first stop for gamers and geeks who are looking for low-priced game keys, activation codes, electronics, merchandise, and more. G2A has grown rapidly in the past several years, relying on Akamai for the speed, security, and global reach it needed to become one of the biggest names in gaming.
Near the end of March 2020, G2A.COM saw its traffic virtually double overnight. The pandemic had just begun, and people were looking for ways to stay entertained and connected under lockdown. Not surprisingly, a lot of people turned to video games, and G2A.COM was one of the first places they went to for affordable game keys and activation codes.
"Traffic rose even higher than what we see on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. We can plan for those events because we know they're coming, but the pandemic came without warning. It could have been a real problem without Akamai," says Marek Kuśmirczak, Networking Technology Leader and Senior IT Administrator at G2A. "However, everything kept running smoothly. We wouldn't have been so confident without Akamai."
G2A relies on Akamai products to keep its site fast and secure -- a big factor in managing the unexpected influx of traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic. But rewind five years, and that kind of spike might have led to a different outcome.
The start of the journey toward global growth
In 2015, G2A was on the verge of enormous growth, with an opportunity to build a global brand and win a substantial share of the multibillion-dollar gaming industry. Its goal, then and now, was to become "the world's biggest marketplace for gamers and geeks -- providing everything they need to survive," as Konrad Rudy, IT Lead, puts it.
But G2A had a roadblock: an overstretched infrastructure. Rising traffic was testing the limits of the origin servers. Slow page loads could start driving customers away. Add to that the growing threat of DDoS attacks at more than 100 gigabits. "We kept our focus on security and performance," says Konrad. "But it was a constant strain to keep the infrastructure scaled up and running smoothly."
With fast-paced growth and an infrastructure spread in multiple locations, Konrad and team knew it was decision time.
G2A enters challenge mode, levels up infrastructure
G2A was at a clear crossroads -- continue propping up an infrastructure that was past its expiration date or level up? The company chose the latter, and this is when G2A was first introduced to Akamai. "We didn't want to continue investing in only infrastructure and servers," says Konrad. "We needed a partner who would help us address our immediate needs and support our future plans as the company continued to grow."
G2A first adopted Akamai Kona Site Defender to protect against increasingly sophisticated DDoS attacks, which had begun to fly under the radar with a low and slow approach. Next, G2A adopted Akamai Dynamic Site Accelerator to extend its reach by moving content to the edge -- making sure pages load faster for customers and sellers, whether they're in Warsaw, Los Angeles, or Hong Kong.
The work paid off. G2A eliminated downtime and accelerated page loads, especially in critical markets such as the U.S. and Europe. That allowed for continued expansion around the world. Plus, the company spends less time working to prevent DDoS attacks, which means it has been able to focus on ... well, everything else.
"From a technology perspective, this transformation was a big step for G2A, and Akamai was a crucial piece of our success," says Konrad. "That was when we knew we could keep pace with rapid company growth and give our customers what they came to expect with G2A -- a great experience, every time."
Becoming the world's biggest marketplace for gamers and geeks
With an infrastructure you can count on, G2A has spent the past five years turning itself into a household name in gaming circles. It doesn't just offer game keys at low prices. The company has developed its own successful virtual reality (VR) applications. And it has entered the exciting arena of esports -- sponsoring tournaments and launching partnerships with well-known teams such as Cloud9, Natus Vincere, and Virtus.pro.
G2A isn't slowing down -- fast-paced innovation is a part of its DNA. The company has spent the past several years building one of Europe's top 10 largest cross-marketplaces with a growing lineup of online offerings, which now include gaming hardware and accessories. That makes for an exciting and dynamic workplace, where teamwork and trust bring ideas to life.
"Working here is an adventure -- there are constantly new projects and challenges for us to tackle," says Marek. "I've accomplished more at G2A in a few years than I have in my entire career previously."
And Konrad couldn't agree more. "The people and the culture of trust, teamwork, and hard work make G2A the best place I've ever worked," he says.
And the best company to work for picks only the best technology partners to work with. That's why Konrad and team chose Akamai. Konrad says, "Akamai's security is the best of the best for protecting our customers' websites, applications, APIs, and people. Blocking threats and attackers at the edge -- before they reach servers or users -- is like stopping the bad guys miles away rather than waiting until they're at the front door."
And we can expect a lot more from G2A in the future. Check back for our next blog post to find out how the marketplace has tackled the challenges of rising traffic volumes, DDoS attacks and bots, and the need for a richer, faster site experience.
Akamai secures and delivers digital experiences for the world's largest companies. Akamai's intelligent edge platform surrounds everything, from the enterprise to the cloud, so customers and their businesses can be fast, smart, and secure. Top brands globally rely on Akamai to help them realize competitive advantage through agile solutions that extend the power of their multi-cloud architectures. Akamai keeps decisions, apps, and experiences closer to users than anyone -- and attacks and threats far away. Akamai's portfolio of edge security, web and mobile performance, enterprise access, and video delivery solutions is supported by unmatched customer service, analytics, and 24/7/365 monitoring. To learn why the world's top brands trust Akamai, visit www.akamai.com, blogs.akamai.com, or @Akamai on Twitter. You can find our global contact information at www.akamai.com/locations.