How to keep your online game running and bug-free


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Today’s game consoles offer features – such as platform cross-play – that are sort of a miracle. Because every game works differently, especially on different systems and networks, with these new benefits come backend complexities that, without the proper strategies in place for monitoring and observability, can negatively impact the gaming experience. Game.

So how do today’s businesses stay ahead of these challenges to ensure the best gaming experience? The answer: monitoring tools that help them observe their infrastructure in real time and provide timely internal feedback and notifications if something goes wrong, so they know before the gamer does.

Red alert?

In my role at Sensu, I oversee the Customer Reliability team and regularly hear from our customers about the overwhelming number of alerts their teams are responsible for managing and responding to on a daily basis. In our experience, alert fatigue can have a huge, often negative, impact on any organization, putting stress on the monitoring teams that deal with them on a day-to-day basis. In fact, in a recent report, 72% of CIOs say alert fatigue is a big problem affecting their team.

With the scale and complexity of monitoring configurations inherited from game companies, monitoring teams are constantly faced with thousands of critical errors. With so many alerts, it can be virtually impossible to tell not only which issues to escalate, but which are impacting players (and how). Under these circumstances, team morale is naturally low and turnover is generally very high. As games continue to move online, businesses are faced with the decision to completely re-evaluate their approach to monitoring, migrating from their legacy toolset to a next-generation solution designed for scalability.

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While monitoring tools can keep game companies ahead of potential bugs and server issues, what do these behind-the-scenes technologies actually mean for the gamer and their experience? To only cite a few :

  • Uninterrupted online streaming
  • Seamless cross play
  • Faster updates of bugs and errors
  • Less downtime, more playing time

Companies such as Industrial Light & Magic, Weta Digital, Verizon Media, ArenaNet and Activision, which includes Demonware, a global online games company that creates and hosts online services for popular video games such as the Call of series. Duty and Guitar Hero in various consoles – introduced new monitoring solutions to their internal teams to replace legacy solutions that could not meet the demand of today’s online gaming ecosystems.

Focus on what matters

During Monitorama 2018, Demonware discussed how the company was able to reduce daily alerts and notifications by addressing underlying issues to ultimately create a more engaged monitoring team. Previously, the Demonware monitoring team felt overwhelmed by the volume of alerts and notifications they received daily – they received literally thousands of them a day, each needing to be dealt with with an outdated system. Following up on these alerts for a team of their size was daunting, and the task of verifying these alerts and resolving issues seemed impossible.

After implementing a modern monitoring platform capable of tracking enterprise scale and complexity across various game titles and consoles, Demonware has reduced the volume of alerts by 99% from thousands of alerts only ten per day. With an appropriate monitoring solution in place, Demonware’s monitoring team better understand the issues affecting their games and now have the data and information to resolve long-standing bugs, resulting in a more reliable experience and quality for their players.

Find and fix problems on the fly

Over the years, online video game companies have shifted from the traditional development model to the fast-paced DevOps model that provides the flexible and fast “feedback” loop to detect and correct issues on the fly. With next-generation monitoring solutions in place, monitoring teams are able to quickly identify and resolve specific anomaly patterns in their applications that could have caused the game to stop for an extended period of time for a long time to come. that the problem was being resolved.

Monitoring tools have allowed game companies to stay ahead of their players’ delays and downtime, improving team morale and preventing a fall on a subreddit (as critics and conversations are an integral part of the gaming community).

As the gaming industry continues to evolve, businesses and their oversight teams face the challenge of keeping up with the changing landscape. From understanding the new infrastructure and tools to navigating the complexities of a new gaming platform, effective monitoring tools can ensure a seamless experience for both the player and the responsible monitoring team. to provide this pleasant experience to the end user.

Cameron Johnston is Vice President of Customer Reliability at Sensu, where he helps customers solve their most difficult monitoring problems.


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