In 2009, Playfish grew from 22 Million active monthly users to more than 55 Million. To manage the growth and scalability of their popular games, Playfish is powered by the cloud computing infrastructure of Amazon Web Services (AWS).
With the widespread, accelerated adoption rate of Facebook and social gaming throughout the world, Playfish’s business model is tailor made for cloud computing. “With the high growth nature of our business, we were looking for a cloud solution to enable us to scale fast,” says Sami Lababidi, CTO of Playfish.
Playfish’s infrastructure operates 100% on Amazon Web Services (AWS), primarily using Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, and Amazon CloudFront. AWS’s distributed infrastructure across US, Europe, and Asia ideally addresses Playfish’s technological needs by enabling quick and reliable delivery of games to millions of players.
“Playfish has demanding infrastructure needs and Amazon allows us to focus on our business and reduce operational overhead greatly. The capex cost savings are also significant,” states Lababidi. “Our games experience dramatic growth due to the way social graphs expand, and it can sometimes happen in a matter of days. This occurred during the beta launch of Restaurant City, which grew to more than 4 million players in its first 8 weeks. We initially projected between 100k to 250k players, so we were taken a bit by surprise. Using Amazon meant that we were able to scale our infrastructure seamlessly while keeping everyone’s concentration on our core business.”
When getting started on AWS, Lababidi and team turned to RightScale. “We’ve been working with RightScale since the beginning and they’re a clear leader in the field. RightScale provides us with the automation and administration tools to increase our productivity / speed to market,” says Lababidi.
Lababidi praises the low complexity offered by Amazon Web Services both from a technology perspective and in terms of customer support. “Amazon offers a first class service. The support is fantastic and we’re happy to only deal with one party for all our IT needs versus having to deal with a half a dozen parties if we were running a traditional setup,” says Lababidi. Asked what advice he would pass on to developers or other early stage start ups, Lababidi offers this succinct directive: “Think twice before buying your next server. Cloud computing is the way forward.”
Playfish is truly a global company with studios in London, San Francisco, Beijing and Norway. In late 2009, Playfish was acquired by Electronic Arts for $275 Million.
Start playing games with Playfish at http://www.playfish.com/?page=games .
(Published July 2009)