With AWS, we can now support a 500% growth in online gamers in just two years.
Taco Chen Chief Executive Officer

Fourdesire, based in Taiwan, is part of the gaming industry, where traditional gameplays are applied to non-traditional gaming contexts. For example, the company created the mobile game Plant Nanny, where players nurture virtual plants on their mobile phones by drinking water. This helps people regulate their intake of water each day. Fourdesire games are interactive and carry key messages around personal health and environmental protection. The company estimates that 90 percent of its users reside outside of Taiwan, with 40 percent of those overseas players living in the US.

Fourdesire is a non-conventional game designer. While the gameplay may be atypical, the company operates like other online gaming businesses and faces similar challenges. For instance, scalability is a key issue. In the online gaming world, successful games can quickly attract millions of players worldwide. It is vital that Fourdesire’s IT infrastructure be able to scale to support however many users are playing its games at a given time.

Besides scalability, IT complexity can also be a big problem as companies grow. Taco Chen, chief executive officer and founder of Fourdesire, explains, “The more resources we dedicate to IT administration, the less resources we have for developing our products. We need to focus on creating great online games as quickly as possible and continuing to grow our customer base.”

Not long after its launch, Fourdesire began building three environments to run on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The company created a development environment that would run alongside a production environment to provide online and mobile access to its products. The third environment would support administration processes as well as a knowledge database. According to Chen, it took only a matter of weeks to get these environments up and running on AWS. The speed of deployment was a result of the documentation provided by AWS and the availability of AWS developers that Fourdesire could employ to help the company with the migration. “We worked with an AWS solution architect who helped us analyze our infrastructure requirements and plan our AWS architecture,” says Chen.

Fourdesire uses a number of AWS services to support its three environments. The production environment uses multiple instances of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to run the code for its games. Incoming website traffic is directed through Amazon Route 53, and Elastic Load Balancing distributes the traffic among the Amazon EC2 compute nodes. To maximize game performance, Amazon ElastiCache provides a scalable in-memory data store to speed up data retrieval. Fourdesire also uses Amazon CloudFront—a global content delivery network—to minimize latency and enhance data transfer speeds across the web. Finally, Amazon CloudWatch—a monitoring service for AWS Cloud resources—helps the business set performance thresholds and key metrics, as well as collect and monitor log files.

Fourdesire is driving business growth and supporting a rapidly growing user base with the help of AWS. The company uses AWS infrastructures in the Amazon Asia-Pacific (Tokyo) and Amazon US East (N. Virginia) Regions. According to Chen, the US location is playing a crucial role in the development of the company, delivering an excellent gaming experience to its quickly expanding user base. More broadly, the company is enjoying growth in all its markets, a fact Chen believes is due to the company’s engagement with AWS. “With AWS, we can now support a 500 percent growth in online gamers in just two years,” says Chen.

Chen believes a 500 percent expansion would have been impossible with an on-premises solution. He points to labor costs and how these can often determine the success or failure of a growing company. “We need to operate strict budgets and work very hard to keep our expenditures down. Operating costs can spiral upward with an on-premises solution simply because of management overhead. By choosing AWS services, we have simplified management and reduced our labor costs by 50 percent.”

Fourdesire has reduced its game development time now that the business is no longer focusing its efforts on the strategic development of its IT infrastructure. “A big advantage for us from AWS is that we can focus on developing games rather than the direction of our IT,” says Chen. “We can concentrate on our core business, which is making online games that are both interactive and informative.”

To learn more about how AWS can help your gaming needs, visit our AWS for Game Developers details page: https://aws.amazon.com/gaming/.