Supercell Delivers Dynamic, Low-Latency Games to Millions of Players Using AWS Edge Services
Finnish mobile game developer Supercell has a mission to provide engaging, memorable gaming experiences to millions of monthly users. To achieve this goal, it’s important for the company to efficiently deliver dynamic, low-latency services on a global scale.
Supercell relies on the security and edge services of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to reliably and securely deliver content to millions of players around the world. The company uses Amazon CloudFront—a content delivery network service built for high performance, security, and developer convenience—to distribute assets to players across all Supercell games. Also, using AWS Local Zones, a type of infrastructure deployment that places compute, storage, database, and other select AWS services close to large population and industry centers, Supercell can deliver single-digit millisecond latency experiences. Using AWS helps Supercell scale dynamically to support its users, empower its teams to operate independently, and manage global game distribution with ease.
Using AWS, we have a global presence and the ability to deliver our games with low latency all around the world.”
Cloud Governance Specialist, Supercell
Focusing on Game Quality, Security, and Performance
Founded in 2010, Supercell is based in Helsinki, Finland, with offices in San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai. Its five live games reach 250 million globally distributed players on their mobile devices every month. Supercell develops and deploys its games using small, independent game teams that work to innovate rapidly to support the user experience. “We have a strong focus on quality over quantity and a very high bar for the performance requirements of our games,” says Mikael Paani, cloud governance specialist at Supercell. “We believe that small teams can develop, deploy, and innovate faster.”
For Supercell, game delivery is an iterative process that sees the company regularly roll out new content to engage and entertain users. Since its early days as a company, Supercell has used AWS, choosing CloudFront to facilitate the fast, reliable asset delivery needed to support a diverse global user base. Choosing AWS meant Supercell could scale up with an increased number of users much more quickly than if it had opted to host its own servers. “We want to focus on our core business, which is making great games,” says Juho Mäkinen, lead of infrastructure and services at Supercell. “Today’s games are more like services: we don’t make them once and forget them. Instead, we need to deliver updates regularly while maintaining an excellent player experience.”
Supercell also needs proactive security measures. The company protects applications against distributed denial of service attempts by using AWS Shield, a managed distributed denial of service protection service that safeguards applications running on AWS. Supercell also relies on AWS WAF, a web application firewall that organizations can use to protect web applications or APIs against common bugs and bots that might affect availability, compromise security, or consume excessive resources. Using these services, Supercell delivers protection and peace of mind where it’s needed. “As a high-profile gaming company, we get third parties every now and then who, for a variety of reasons, might want to cause issues,” says Mäkinen. “To address that, we’re using AWS Shield really effectively.”
The company also takes advantage of AWS Control Tower, which provides an easy way to set up and govern a secure, multiaccount AWS environment. “Using AWS Control Tower has been really good for us; it gives us new ways to verify that deployments are safe and that we don’t have any hidden problems that could affect us later on,” says Mäkinen. Since August 2021, Supercell has used AWS Control Tower to unite its more than 50 AWS accounts using support from its local AWS team.
Delivering Content Quickly and Reliably to a Global Audience
On AWS, Supercell’s small teams can operate autonomously and deliver agilely with just a few server engineers on each team. “We don’t have a dedicated infrastructure team,” says Mäkinen. “On AWS, our small teams can deploy independently, run their own infrastructure, and really own their code and development.” Also, by using CloudFront, Supercell can deliver assets reliably with minimal configuration and maintenance. “The ease of use of Amazon CloudFront has been one of the key benefits,” says Paani. “After setting up Amazon CloudFront, we’ve seen it performing well, and we haven’t required significant maintenance.” With this efficiency, Supercell can focus on game development and rapidly deliver new content to keep the player experience fresh and dynamic, supporting innovation.
Using AWS also helps Supercell deliver a low-latency gaming experience flexibly and efficiently on a global scale. This is particularly critical in the mobile gaming industry, where game usage can grow rapidly and fluctuate unpredictably. “Global reach is important, even essential, to us. We need to deliver assets to all our players around the world with low latencies,” says Paani. “Using Amazon CloudFront, we don’t need to predetermine or predict the popularity of a game in different locations. Wherever our players are, we know that we’ll be able to use Amazon CloudFront to serve our games.” On AWS, Supercell can launch a new game knowing that its AWS resources will scale locally in response to user demand.
Supercell is also using AWS edge services to enhance the gaming experience for players of Brawl Stars, which launched globally in 2018 and is the company’s newest global game. “Brawl Stars is a near-real-time multiplayer game, so delivering a low-latency experience is crucial,” says Mäkinen. Over the past 4 years, Brawl Stars has surpassed $1 billion in gross sales, making it Supercell’s highest-performing game. “To reduce latency for players of Brawl Stars, we’re adopting new AWS Regions and AWS Local Zones so that we can run servers closer to our players,” says Paani. By using Local Zones to support deployment, Supercell has reduced latencies and facilitated a more seamless user experience.
Working to Further Enhance the Player Experience
In 2022 Supercell is continuing to work on latency enhancements for its players. In addition to expanding its use of Local Zones, the game developer is exploring the use of AWS Global Accelerator—a networking service that improves the performance of users’ traffic by up to 60 percent using the global network infrastructure of AWS.
Using the elasticity, global reach, and low management requirements of its solution on CloudFront, Supercell is also equipped to develop new games and to continue delivering game developments for its monthly user base of 250 million customers. “Using AWS, we have a global presence and the ability to deliver our games with low latency all around the world,” says Paani.
Supercell is a game company based in Helsinki, Finland, with offices in San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai. Since its launch in 2010, the company has brought five games to the global marketplace: Hay Day, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach, Clash Royale, and Brawl Stars.
Benefits of AWS
- Enhances security and governs more than 50 AWS accounts
- Helps small teams operate independently with lean engineering resources
- Distributes assets quickly and reliably with low management needs
- Supports a dynamic game experience and powers innovation
- Delivers global reach and low latency
- Facilitates game launches and supports user upticks
- Reduces latencies for players of Brawl Stars
- Scales to support 250 million monthly users
AWS Services Used
AWS Shield is a managed Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection service that safeguards applications running on AWS.
Amazon CloudFront is a fast content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to customers globally with low latency, high transfer speeds, all within a developer-friendly environment.
AWS Control Tower
AWS Control Tower provides the easiest way to set up and govern a secure, multi-account AWS environment, called a landing zone.
AWS Local Zones
AWS Local Zones are a type of infrastructure deployment that places compute, storage, database, and other select AWS services close to large population and industry centers.
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