The wild success of Pokémon Go earlier this year took the team behind the game, Niantic Labs, totally by surprise as demand reached 50 times the firm’s highest estimates before launch.
Phil Keslin, CTO at Niantic, which made the game for Nintendo, gave some insight into the impact of this demand at the Google Cloud Platform event in London on Thursday.
“We didn’t have any idea what was about to happen, but we knew very quickly that we had a rocket ship,” he said.
Keslin explained that within six hours of the game launching in Australia and New Zealand demand was running at 50 per cent of the firm’s entire "worst case scenario" prediction for global demand.
“Australia and New Zealand was supposed to be at four per cent of our total demand. When an engineering manager for Pokémon Go described what was happening everyone’s jaws dropped and the CEO [John Hanke] said ‘I don’t believe it.' It was really a ‘hair on fire’ event,” he said.
The graph above shows the actual demand the game had on Niantic's systems compared with the worst and best predictions in red and orange respectively.
Keslin explained that it was only the scalability of the Google Cloud Platform that enabled the firm to stay online and keep pace with demand. This was especially important because at the time Niantic had only four engineers working on Pokémon Go.
“We didn’t get a whole lot of sleep during this time. We put out the call saying ‘We think this is going to be huge,’ and Google Customer Reliability Engineering got in contact and we spoke with them and their support really saved our bacon,” he said.
Having a company like Niantic using its cloud services is obviously no bad thing for Google as the company looks to challenge Microsoft's Azure service and Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the battle for customers in the public cloud market.
To this end, Google unveiled new products during the event in London, chiefly the Coldline archive storage service that aims to match AWS Glacier on price but beat it for responsiveness.
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