Playful Play is a Latin American company that provides video games for social networks. The Mexican company works with a talented team of programmers to come up with games that you can play on Facebook and other social networks. It is by no accident that the company aims to develop the world’s addictive games.
For a company that was founded only in 2011, Playful Play is a success story. By July 2012, they have already racked up more than 3 million subscribers in the previous six months – and their users grew daily. In a short time, it became apparent that to cope with the influx of users to their service, the company required a new platform would be able to handle all the demands.
The problems and challenges
One of their Facebook games, La Vecindad de El Chavo, is credited with their success. And it was taking a toll on their systems. The game is based on a TV program aired in Latin America for around 40 years, with its popularity crossing borders right through Spain and the US. The game also had a wide target market, appealing to everyone from kids, the youth and adults. More than the daily users, the game also attracted advertisers who wanted to use the game for their own marketing strategies to build loyalty to their brands or just raise brand awareness. Plus, the company planned to do more, introducing more games in the future that are targeted to Latin Americans, Brazilians and even people in the US and Spain.
But even with El Chavo the company was already feeling the strain. They were using MySQL through a replicated setup to handle:
- User avatars and profiles
- Data on game sessions
- In-app purchases
- Advertising event data
The game became viral and soon had more than 1,000,000 users in a very short time, forcing the company to see how to architect their games and platforms so that it would be able to meet the demands in the long term. They chose MySQL Cluster (version 7.2) for the task of achieving availability and scalability requirements of the game.
Other challenges that the company faced:
- New features meant changing the database profile. The company’s operations are now increasingly more robust – primarily on UPDATEs and INSERTs of new data.
- Advertisers have demanded strict service level agreements, calling for low latency, predictable throughput and availability.
The solution – apply MySQL Cluster
MySQL Cluster helped Playful Play solve their problems. It has the capability to automatically manage tables across different nodes. This gave the company top performance and high scalability without having to change their application. It also allowed their applications to respond in a fraction of a millisecond. The company was also able to lower their expenses because they can now scale using economical commodity hardware that are based on the cloud. This also made them more agile.
But more importantly, MySQL Cluster works on a distributed architecture and is able to replicate and recover when something fails. This ensured that the game was always available, helping the company live up to its promises to its users and advertisers. Even during planned upgrades, the game was available because with MySQL Cluster, you can update even without powering down your database. MySQL is also ACID compliant, which comes in handy for online transactions.