TinyCo is a San Francisco, CA mobile gaming start-up launched in 2009. The company’s mission is to make millions of people happy five minutes at a time. TinyCo games are free to download and play on Android and iOS devices. Each title is monetized by the sale of virtual currency, which users can buy to purchase premium features. TinyCo has released eight games to date, which have been downloaded collectively over 20 million times.
TinyCo’s rapid growth quickly exceeded the capabilities of its first hosting provider. Rob Kotredes, Head of Engineering at TinyCo says, “Our previous provider was very slow and this meant that we needed a lot of lead time to make changes. In addition, it took many staff hours to organize and configure the infrastructure.”
TinyCo released a new social game, Tiny Village, which was the first game built on Griffin, the company’s proprietary development engine, which runs natively on both Android and iOS platforms. TinyCo designed Griffin to offer fast performance and self-adjusting screen sizing for tablets and mobile phones. Accordingly, the company wanted to resolve its infrastructure issues and focus on properly positioning Tiny Village within the competitive game app market.
TinyCo was familiar with Amazon Web Services (AWS) because several members of TinyCo’s engineering team had worked with AWS while at other companies. “As we explored hosting services,” Kotredes explains, “we found that most of the other hosting options couldn’t match the speed and ease of use of AWS, specifically with respect to the time and effort needed to scale and configure additional resources.”
TinyCo relies on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) with Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) and Elastic Load Balancing. Application data is stored in the Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for MySQL, along with Redis (an open source key-value store) and MemCache clusters for caching.
The company uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and Amazon CloudFront to manage 20 billion requests and deliver 400 TB of images and other static content per month. TinyCo leverages Amazon Elastic MapReduce (Amazon EMR), with a Vertica database and Tableau software for visualization, to analyze 25,000 Amazon EC2 instance hours and 175 million events per month. “AWS allows us to focus on our core competency--making games,” says Kotredes.
With AWS providing the underlying infrastructure for TinyCo, the company was able to focus on marketing its new game on the Android platform, including listing its game, Tiny Village, on the Amazon Appstore for Android. The Amazon Appstore for Android proved to be very successful for TinyCo and the company credits the in-app purchasing process for a higher-than-average revenue per active user (ARPU). Specifically, TinyCo believes that the purchasing interface visually integrates with Tiny Village in a way that makes it more likely for users to complete transactions. The game is also experiencing a high ARPU on the Kindle Fire. Furthermore, the company is impressed with the visibility and extensive description for Tiny Village in the Kindle Fire section of the Appstore.
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