GameTable Online (GTO) is an online game site featuring web versions of popular, real-world tabletop games, based in Northampton, Mass. GTO’s specialty is turn-based strategy games—and the site makes them look and feel like the real thing.
While users enjoy getting to play both free and premium games, game creators and manufacturers benefit from exposing a new generation to classic offline games, like Axis and Allies. And the audience for these games is big—more than 11,000 games of Axis and Allies have been played so far this month. GTO’s audience is highly motivated, and it turns out that their online behavior affects their offline purchases—a survey showed that a whopping 20 percent of the players who were introduced to the game 10 Days in Africa on GTO went on to purchase the game.
To support an audience that fluctuates throughout the day, GTO needed a flexible hosting solution and could cut costs where needed. Their traditional dedicated hosting environment was too costly and turning servers off and on was timely. They needed the ability to expand to more servers quickly and on demand, to cater to a game’s spiking popularity or allow the site to host multi-player tournaments. Expanding to more servers on the cloud would allow them to offer their clients an affordable price, while scaling as needed. They also wanted to separate their web servers from their game servers so when they made changes to one, it didn’t affect the other. GameTable Online turned to the Rackspace Cloud.
The system GTO came up with using Rackspace Cloud is a perfect fit for their needs. Using Cloud Servers, GTO set up their web, database, and game servers separately. This layout lets them use private web servers for client development and testing, while using their other servers for alpha testing. They also keep a backup of their live servers on Cloud Files, using the Cloud Servers snapshot feature to clone the server images.
The results have been impressive: GameTable Online cut their hosting expenses by 30%, without compromising their bandwidth or service. They are able to easily support varying numbers of players—often 250 players are concurrently logged in and playing. But with the ability to adjust the number of servers according to how many active players are logged in, GTO is able to keep costs (and premium activation fees) as low as possible.
“The ability to start small and grow rapidly is essential to meeting our schedules with a limited staff and budget,” explains GTO Operations Vice-President Robert Eng.
Instead of dealing with server headaches, GTO’s staff is able to focus on adding more games to GTO’s list of offerings, and continually improve user experience. It was the performance and ease of use of Rackspace Cloud Servers that convinced GTO to also start using Cloud Files.
“It’s allowed us to increase efficiencies in how we distribute the game code,” says Eng. “Our Rackspace Cloud Servers are invaluable to us.”
We’re pleased to have GTO bring game strategy to users all over the world on our cloud. Game On.