In Interview with Mr. Shohel Khatri, CTO & Co-founder, Flentas Technologies

1. How cloud service models affect the online gaming technically?

There are typically three cloud service delivery models: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. These terms are widely known to the developer community, let us try to scratch the surface and understand how and when each of these delivery models can be leveraged when developing your Game backend.

SaaS model: From our experience of working with multiple small and big gaming studios, we have seen almost all the games have been developed using some or the other cloud based service which requires zero visibility about infrastructure, scaling, server configurations, etc.

This model totally makes sense since it helps: faster go to market, no dedicated backend team, flexible pricing model.

On the flip side it does start to pinch when: game becomes a hit and DAU/MAU figures hit the roof, SaaS pricing model starts to seem less and less economical due to high CCUs, limitations on customisations due to vendor lock-in.

PaaS/IaaS model: We have seen studios using IaaS services are usually the ones who have multiple games under their portfolio and have a strong team of backend developers who design and develop their own custom built backend engines.

This model generally works for: heavy traffic games, lot of customisations required which are not possible on SaaS model, studios that need complete control of their backend, studios that have capabilities to control/manage Infrastructure and its costs.

There is a slight difference as far as manageability is concerned with respect to PaaS model as compared to IaaS model. The PaaS model abstracts away the underlying infra complexity of Compute, Network, Storage, Memory, Deployment complexities, DB management, etc. and provides an easy-to-use environment for the developers to build and deploy the code. Few well known PaaS providers: Heroku, AWS Beanstalk, etc.

PaaS/IaaS model might not be advisable for games that have minimal online footprint which is otherwise manageable by a SaaS service.

2. Have you seen any change in gaming related media consumption during the pandemic?

We saw a DAU jump which was 10 times the pre-covid levels for most of our customers.

It has been a roller coaster ride for us during the first wave back in early 2020. Since we help multiple gaming studios with their infrastructure management and overall backend architecture, it was like a litmus test of the backend architectures that we have deployed for them.

Though there were a lot of learning’s and improvements which we had to implement incrementally during that period, we were able to endure that kind of traffic, since we had the fundamental building blocks of a scalable architecture already in place.

Flentas Logo (1)

3. What has the growth journey for Flentas Technologies been?

Since I come from a delivery background, let me focus on how we were able to scale the team and provide best in class service delivery to our customers.

Scaling a technical team is always a challenge for any IT services startup, we were no different. We started with a 7 people team (out of which 3 were the founding members). We had humble beginnings like any other bootstrap company but soon we found ourselves working with very complex and sizeable projects.

Thankfully the realisation of building a strong team came way earlier and we started investing heavily on team enablement and up-skilling through certification programs and focused trainings.

But this was not enough, since the team was growing more than 2 times YoY, there was an obvious need of putting a scalable structure which would do justice to different practices that we run internally: Development, Managed Services, Analytics, Cloud Consulting.

Currently, we stand at a 100+ strong team and growing.

4. How does Flentas engage with game studios?

We engage with studios on almost all areas of our service portfolio: Development, Managed Services, Analytics, and Cloud Consulting.

Let me highlight the two most common services the customers opt for: Backend development & Managed Services (Cloud Infrastructure Management).

If we were to kick start backend development for a new game today, we would utilise the pre-built modules that we have developed in the past years for common components such as: player operations, clan/team, leaderboards, chat & gift, game inventory, multiplayer engine, game admin operations, etc.

This gives our customers a jump start to go to market faster since we have already invested time and effort on basic functionality. The only time and effort required for go-live would be for additional customisations on top of the baseline modules.

We have observed that studios really want to focus all their time and energy in design and development of end user experience for the game. Managing Cloud Infrastructure requires resources with very different skill sets. It often requires a dedicated Infra operations practice within the organisation to take care of 24×7 monitoring, operations, security, scalability and resiliency of the Cloud infrastructure.

This is exactly where we partner with studios and take care of the heavy lifting by managing 24×7 Infra operations on Cloud. We are able to provide a sustainable service model through economy of scale with our shared team of engineers working round the clock to ensure smooth operations of cloud environments.