Summarizing The Building Better Games With Cloud Discussion: Lessons In Innovation From Gaming

June 22, 2021 5 min read

On June 10, 2021, Innovecs hosted the panel dedicated to the cloud as a key driver of the gaming transformation, setting standards for organizations from other industries. The event was broadcasted live online.

Will McKeon-White, Researcher at Forrester, Lauren Nelson, VP, Research Director at Forrester, Mathieu Duperre, CEO, Founder Edgegap and Billy Le Voir-Barry, recent CTO IBM Esports and Video Games participated in an insightful discussion about the value of cloud technologies for organizations and gaming industry in particular, the areas of application, capabilities and smooth transition.

The event was moderated by Doug Dyer, VP of Gaming & Entertainment at Innovecs. Being engaged in the gaming industry for more than 30 years, Doug touched upon real-life concerns and challenges game developers tend to have. The speakers complemented each other by sharing their views on the topic from different angles.

Let’s go more in-depth and outline the main points of the panel discussion.

Taking advantage of cloud

The conversation took off with Will McKeon-White defining the key benefits cloud technology provides for an enterprise. According to Will, three main ways or core processes cloud helps organizations with:

  • it can be used to help improve your hosting through geographic and resource scaling
  • to improve your development with development platforms and exclusive services integrations
  • it can help with game operations through real-time data feeds and data connections.

Also, Will pointed out that the cloud makes game hosting easier with easy global reach, rapid scalability, and automation. Cloud providers are now offering a game development platform as a service, platform services, emerging technology integrations, and even gaming-specific applications. Development platforms actually simplify the building of applications, allow to more rapidly, assemble solutions with containers and serverless capabilities, ensuring consistent environments that help support modern
application architectures.

One of the biggest changes over the past decade of games is the shift from large final game releases to something more along the lines of continuous updates. Even single-player games today actually rely on feeds of data, so developers can actually optimize experiences and add new content for players. Cloud providers are powering these creators with full analytics platforms ingesting real-time player performance and engagement data also available to providers.
Will McKeon-White,
Researcher at Forrester

Game world as a community

Doug gave the floor to Billy Le Voir-Barry, who has extensive experience in building cloud infrastructures for gaming companies and non-gaming companies.

I'm looking at technologies that allow us to move the game and the community closer to each other. For example, the cloud is very efficient, allowing us to move what we call to the final edge. The final edge for us techies means being able to produce and push a game as close to the community as possible, to enable that connectivity, to allow better interaction, to allow better gameplay as well as allow response time between myself, the gamer, as well as the provider whether it's a game developer or the publisher.
Billy Le Voir-Barry,
CTO IBM Esports and Video Games

As Billy put it, he is an advocate for a hybrid model allowing the providers to share resources with each other, depending on what resources are better. The cloud approach benefits the game environment as well as the esports environment because it allows you to share those benefits and resources of either AI or ML or development processes or DevOps for the actual studio, bringing everyone closer to each other.

The core business is the game

We are leveraging the cloud today in different ways. The first problem we were tackling when we started was around latency. As we evolved, we ended up figuring out that studios want to spend their effort and resources, and time on making fun games and making sure that you stay engaged as a player, that they keep generating revenue out of those games.
Mathieu Duperre,
CEO, Founder Edgegap

Mathieu added that a smaller studio wants to spend the resources on nice graphics, good storyline, and fluidity, make sure there are no bugs. Edgegap company ended up creating the overlay on top of the cloud — some sort of value-added services — which makes it very simple for studios to consume those resources and spend their time and effort where it makes more sense for them. The core business is the game, it’s not managing a lot of stuff behind the scene.

Cloud economy

Rendering is a process done in many studios, and it can be costly at times. So a cloud may be an efficient way to have the rendering done so you're actually deploying the economy of the cloud.
Billy Le Voir-Barry,
CTO IBM Esports and Video Games
We tend to see a lot of startups and folks just starting off with a cloud platform of choice and then from there looking to try, and figure out whether a more hybrid scenario is more appropriate for that game long term.
Lauren Nelson,
VP, Research Director at Forrester

Billy Le Voir-Barry suggested that the game world can be tied in very easily to different types of economies such as broadcasting, streaming, advertising. Companies engaged in esports want to understand what is going on in environments, whether they are marketing correctly to the right crowd, how they can boost their analytics — things that drive beyond just the walls of the game studio or the walls of the esports arena.

Cloud has been here for over a decade. You'll see significant adoption in manufacturing, in government — government cloud mandates migrate applications to public cloud platforms. The financial services domain is using the cloud heavily for things like fraud detection. So you'll see different use cases and scale of maturity and use cases across every industry. What's really unique about gaming and different types of video streaming is that they're pushing innovation and they're pushing the scale in which a lot of these services are being used. We look at the gaming industry as an inspiration to get the best practices from.
Lauren Nelson,
VP, Research Director at Forrester

Tips On Getting Started With Cloud

Our speakers provided some tips and recommendations for a seamless transition to the cloud.

  • Go through MVPs. Understand what the possible workload may be.
  • Feel free to reach out to various consulting groups. Get guidance on this journey. Look for a trusted partner to accompany you along the way.
  • Do your preliminary research of your potential partner in terms of available resources, cases. Find a helpful partner.
  • Consider сloud cost management. Cloud can be expensive if you don’t scale it properly, and if you are not effectively using your infrastructure resources.

If you want to get more detail on the experience of the speakers, their projects, and tips, watch the full video of the event. And don’t forget to tune into our next events.

October 22, 2021
Svetlana Rumyantseva, Project Manager: “I want to see happiness around. And it is usually in small things”
Who did you dream of becoming as a child? I dreamed of becoming a lawyer and defending people’s rights. The most challenging question for me has always been whether I could defend the guilty. I haven’t come up with an answer, even after graduation. Back in the day, I wanted to be a lawyer to uphold justice. How important is family support in becoming an individual and a professional? Were you supported in choosing a career path? Support is critical. Its impact is difficult to overestimate. I realized this, probably at the age of 27. Since I wanted to be a lawyer, I went to study at the law academy. At the end of the fifth year, I realized that I would not be a lawyer. Politics and public administration seemed more interesting to me. My family didn’t stop me; it was me who thought, “Why did I study at all?”. Then I continued my studies, and after graduate school, I did a degree in a completely different specialty — political science. Obviously, I am not a political scientist now. However, during my postgraduate studies, I began to study management not only in the state but also in the project type, which I really liked. Now I want to thank my family, who did not reproach me about the time spent, telling me something like: “You’ve wasted ten years, both specialties are no longer needed, and you are in the middle of nowhere.” Therefore, support is vital. And even if support is not active but passive — being able not to interfere with the development of others. What qualities do you think are most important in your profession? It’s sociability and everything that no one reads in the classic “proper” resume. Stress resistance, purposefulness — these are the qualities. On the one hand, this is a pun, but in fact, a lot is built on those features. Also, I would point out multitasking and the ability to react quickly to circumstances. If something is already out of control, you must first respond to the problem, and only then be afraid that something may not work out. I adore myself for being optimistic. I vote for giggling once more than falling into depression, which no one needs. Practice shows that it is difficult to get angry, despair, and give up when someone smiles and supports you. So is this your superpower that helps you, the team, and inspires other people? Maybe. It’s always good to have someone around who can say with a smile, “It’s no big deal. We’ll figure it out together.” If I can be this person for my surroundings, that’s great. What does your typical workday look like? Sometimes it seems that all working days are the same, but it is nothing like that in reality. Every day is about communicating with numerous people, solving problems, questions, planning for the future, and monitoring what went wrong. Of course, all this is mixed with letters, reports, processing and writing documentation, maintaining contact with all stakeholders. In other words, each of my days is very different and very similar to the previous ones at the same time. What challenges do you encounter in your daily work? As a rule, the most difficult is the challenge of the communication type: to agree, encourage, persuade, approve. Negotiation issues are the most difficult, as they often lie in different areas, for example, the team or the customers. It is imperative to understand everyone and reach a win-win condition. Generally speaking, what is the most difficult thing in your work? Having time and choosing a quality solution in specific conditions. The main task of the manager and me, in particular, is to create the most productive working conditions so that everything is done under the agreement. Sometimes it is necessary to do it before a specific time, on a certain date, or to ease the team’s workload, giving up everything and paying attention to a particular issue. In addition, I have to call everyone, discuss everything, help, and so on. Therefore, the most difficult thing is to squeeze in 24 hours. What helps you in this? It’s the priority system: first, we do the important thing, then comes another important thing, but the one that can wait a bit. Often, tasks that directly affect customers are automatically prioritized. Likewise, the same pertains to controversial issues within the team. I try to plan the day in a way that I deal with work blockages by noon and then do the rest. Therefore, prioritization is our everything. And what is most interesting in your work? Each challenge is exciting in its own way. The most remarkable people constantly surround me; thus, communication is the most complex and exciting. Daily contact with the team and stakeholders always encourages self-development because I learn a lot from them. I am driven by challenges, the process of solving them, and reaching the result. And how do you feel when you see the result? This is the feeling of Zen. We move toward it every day, solving some problems along the way. I rejoice when I see the results of my work and manage to help the team and clients; when the team flaunts its achievements, I see the clients’ positive emotions caused by us. Every little victory is very inspiring. How do you assess the cohesion of your team? How does this affect the result and quality of the task performed? We have a very friendly team, and I think that’s crucial. There are managers supporting work processes in the team purely, but I favor the atmosphere in the team that is family-like and friendly. When you work in cohesion, everyone has a common goal, vision, and one desired result. Unity means you understand each other right away. Everyone knows each other’s thoughts, who does what, what one enjoys and wants. And this motivates me to get things done, help instead of blocking or setting someone up. I like that we have such an atmosphere throughout the gaming division, regardless of the project. Is there a practice in your team where everyone can freely speak their minds? Sure, but certain filtering must be considered, of course — turning information into positive. If it is critical feedback, then it should be constructive. Everyone is mindful of politeness and diplomacy. We focus not only on the result and teamwork but also on personal growth, so everyone is happy to receive constructive feedback on the work. In your opinion, how will technology change your profession in the future? Hopefully, for the better. Developing new games, in any case, will require constant communication and creativity, so it would be nice to see technology help engage the team. Lack of communication can be particularly acute in the distributed and remote teams. I hope that in the future, thanks to technology, we will see: An opportunity to invest less time in the development of new content and have more time for learning, self-development, and family; Technologies becoming lighter and more intuitive for use by both developers and non-technicians; Remote mode getting more smooth and convenient. I totally would like to see positive changes in the remote mode, not only maintaining but also improving the team’s engagement regardless of location. I’d be interested in seeing what it would look like in 5-10 years. But I am positive that communication will remain in the foreground. How should one start learning your profession? I would advise being curious and trying to stay like that all the time. It is essential to read, listen, communicate with people in this field as much as possible. This is how theory is developed as a basis for the practical use of skills. For example, I started my journey as a project coordinator in website development, and in my free time, I practiced making prototypes and mockups. First, I recreated popular services and then came up with my own schemes. Therefore, there are three pillars: curiosity, theory, and practice. What are you studying now, and what would you like to learn in the future? Today I learn everything from my team. Since I am not a technical person, I have an open field of new knowledge and skills in front of me, and I am happy to learn how everything works. In addition, project tasks encourage me to deal with a variety of tools. I have a lot of interesting work ahead that is related to the marketing and analytics of the product we are working on. I have to learn a lot of new things. But this is awesome. In fact, there are a million areas where you can (and in a certain period of time — should) develop. That is, the novelty does not scare you? It is very unreasonable to think that one can know everything. On the contrary, it is essential to be clear about how little you know because that is what motivates you to develop and constantly grow your value. Is there a work/life balance and clear boundaries between work and life outside it? I have no clear borderline between work and life. I can even say that I’ve never had one. Furthermore, I often think about work at home, on weekends, and during vacation. It isn’t easy to let it go because I also plan everything at home. Work and private life always intersect, and so far, I can’t say that it bothers me very much. I may want to draw the line someday, but now it seems difficult to do so for a managerial position. Sometimes a reaction to external or internal issues is required at a very unexpected moment. Do you have new hobbies/hobbies/activities since joining Innovecs? Probably not. However, I assume that the Innovecs’ environment encouraged me to move from dream to action. Thanks partly to my colleagues, I decided to buy a motorcycle. We took trips with our Moto Community, and it was incredible. It seems that if it were not for this motivation from the Community, I would not have dared to buy a motorcycle this moto-season. Innovecs is great no matter what you do and what you would like to do. A variety of Communities constantly is a call to action. You can’t be inert. What inspires you? I’m looking for inspiration in the results. They motivate me to move on to new achievements. I can’t stand still, and I feel bad if nothing happens for half a day. In general, I am very grateful to my colleagues because if I seem to give up at a certain point, the team comes with results and achievements and invigorates me. It’s a kind of perpetual motion machine. What motivates you to stay at Innovecs? People and growth. At Innovecs, our gaming division is hugely passionate. I want to come here, and I don’t want to leave. Which of Innovecs’ corporate culture do you like the most? Innovecs culture is based on people. Our SPECIFIC DNA perfectly reflects a focus on the people we are looking for in teams. Working at Innovecs, I feel that the team, colleagues, and I are treated as individuals with their own interests in the first place, but not as a resource that can be replaced (although business is business). For me, this attitude is important, because we spend most of our time at work. What makes you a happy person? A little of this and that, and everything that does not kill. I love life. I have great friends, a work environment, a family, and I have a hobby — all this inspires and makes me happy. What do you dream about today? Right now, I dream of going to the ocean for the New Year’s celebration. In general, I dream of always being able to fulfill my desires. And I want to see happiness around. And it is usually in small things.