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Launching a New Game Studio and Planning for Growth

Jonathan Singer

Written by

Jonathan Singer

December 23, 2020

Jonathan Singer

So, you're starting your own game studio -- an incredible opportunity to build the game of your dreams! Though you may already have some technical know-how, many studio founders come from the creative side. Launching a studio means that you have to find the right technical leader to join your team, a major topic in a recent chat I had with three studio founders

Even after you find a technical leader for your organization, you'll need to be involved in some of the key decisions. This requires at least a surface-level understanding of what those decisions are, and how they affect the type of game you can build or the player experience that your team provides.

Let’s review some basics to consider.

Digital delivery

Obviously, the primary method of getting your game into the hands of players is digital distribution. For that, you need a content delivery network (CDN) partner. 

Ensuring that you have a scalable CDN that understands the traffic norms in the games industry is a must. Players all over the world will want easy access to your game, and a CDN with a global edge footprint provides that -- especially important for players in countries with limited internet access.

Digital delivery is an issue that your technical leader should recognize. But a less-understood challenge pops up when you're trying to deliver personalized dynamic experiences.

Dynamic content and microservices

Game data, matchmaking multiplayer connectivity, and leaderboards are typically bundled together under the umbrella of platform services. Your platform services require high scalability to support a successful game. 

Depending on how your game is architected, the failure of any of your key services can either kill a player's experience, or make your game inaccessible due to an overload of API traffic. To ensure the performance, security, and reliability of the APIs that power your game, work with a CDN that has servers at the edge of the internet to help scale your core origin infrastructure by offloading logic such as authentication, caching, and redirects.

Security threats

Once you publish a game, you are a target for online threats. It's that simple. I don't mean to scare you, but you need to prepare. I've written and spoken extensively about security threats to the gaming industry, and Akamai has published a State of the Internet / Security Report specifically on this topic. These are all great resources to help better understand the threat landscape.

The key for you as a top decision-maker is to understand the fine line between player experience and helpful security. You obviously want to get people interested in your game and playing as quickly as possible, but you also want to protect them and the value (money, time, in-game items, and reputation) they build in their accounts.

Akamai recently partnered with esports organizer DreamHack to survey their hardcore player base on their feelings about and experiences with security. We surveyed more than 1,250 players, and here are some of the findings:

  • 81% play games every day

  • 22% compete in esports

  • 52% have had their accounts hacked

  • 76% believe that the gaming studios and publishers are responsible for their security

The last point is important: your players are looking to you to protect them. So, the decisions that you and your technical team make about security are complex and nuanced. If you want to build a studio for the long term, you'll need to find that delicate balance between game play and security. Good partners, both in the technical lead you choose and the vendors you work with, can help you find the right security strategy for your company.

Bringing it all together

Building a new studio is a tremendous effort. Although there are many different competencies to juggle, it helps to understand how having a strong infrastructure can ensure that you build the game you're dreaming of -- and provide your players with the experience they demand.

Jonathan Singer

Written by

Jonathan Singer

December 23, 2020