Google released Google Game Servers in beta on Monday, a managed service designed to simplify management of fleets of global game servers and multiple clusters. Game Servers is effectively an enhanced version of Agones, the open source gaming hosting platform built on top of Kubernetes, that Google debuted with Ubisoft in 2018.
The goal of Game Servers is to get the job out of hosting massive, multiplayer games like Fortnite or Call of Duty. Game developers typically rely on dedicated servers to host multi-player experiences, but may host and scale a fleet of game servers to support a global multi-player game. Players around the world are connected and communicating, looking at the same environment and in real-time actions that all other players do. Allowing this to work requires extremely low latency.
To meet this challenge, many gaming companies choose to create expensive proprietary solutions or use pre-packaged solutions that limit developer control. Agones offers an open source alternative for hosting and server scaling. And while Agones fits perfectly with regional game server cluster management, Game Servers do embrace these global capabilities, eliminating the need to manage individual Agones environments.
With game servers, you can cluster Kubernetes clusters into different “realms” based on latency requirements, and then configure server configurations and scaling policies on realms. For example, you could build a West Coast kingdom that includes groups in the Google Cloud Platform us-west1 region and us-west2 region.
You can also increase the gaming server’s reserved capacity for specific dates or events, and automate scaling to account for peak hours in the regions.
At present Game Servers supports clusters powered by Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and Google plans to add hybrid and multi-cloud support later this year. Google is also planning to add more advanced scaling policies and deeper integration with its Open Match matching framework.
Developers already using Agones on production workloads can opt into the managed service by registering Agones-managed game server clusters with the new Game Servers API. They can be turned off at any time.
According to research firm Newzoo, the gaming industry is growing and growing – it reached $ 148.8 billion in 2019. It makes sense for Google Cloud to follow after the market, as it increases its specific vertical vision. Aside from offering Google Cloud solutions, the tech giant can offer end-to-end collaboration solutions that include, for example, YouTube as a streaming partner for live broadcasts or e-sports events.