Google Cloud wants to make online multiplayer gaming smoother than ever

young man playing computer games online
(Image credit: OHishiapply / Shutterstock)

Google Cloud hopes that game developers can now improve the online multiplayer experience for their players with a new cloud tool.

Game servers used for online play can now run on Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) Autopilot using another new feature from the company, an open-source game server orchestrator called Agones. With the combination of these two services, Google Cloud can manage the Kubernetes clusters and scale up or down depending on how many players are connected to the server at a given time. 

In a company blog post, Senior Product Manager for GKE, Ishan Sharma, said that “at Google Cloud, we are fixated on making game launches boring by making GKE Autopilot the platform-of-choice for running game workloads for scalability, reliability, and automation.”

Saving time and money

As the GKE Autopilot takes care of this scaling automatically, it should save developers time, effort and money when compared to using traditional Kubernetes approaches. Sharma gives an example: "You might overprovision node pools much earlier in anticipation of scaling up and keep those node pools running longer before scaling down. All this costs money."

With the variability in traffic and workloads typical of the daily running of a game server, Holger Mueller, an analyst at tech specialists Constellation Research, believes that the cloud can prove its worth in these scenarios.

“Running the infrastructure for these gaming workloads manually quickly becomes an expensive endeavor, and mistakes are often made," he noted. "So automated infrastructure, which Google Cloud now offers with GKE Autopilot, is critical. Combine this with Google’s super-fast network and you have a very compelling platform for game workloads.”

In espousing yet more virtues of its new cloud hosting tools for game servers, Google says that developers will only pay for the energy that's actually consumed by the hardware, so they won't be charged for any unused potential. The company also references an internal study which purports to show that GKE Autopilot can reduce infrastructure costs by up to 85%, and improve developer efficiency by as much as 45%.

Moreover, Sharma pointed out that developers won't be locked into to using only Google Cloud with GKE autopilot and Agones, as their open-source natures mean that games remain flexible and versatile when used in conjunction with other cloud and on-prem infrastructure. 

With multitarget parallel deployment as well, developers can make a new GKE cluster in certain specified regions, if they only want certain updates and features, for instance, to be implemented in certain locations around the world, perhaps for the purposes of trial runs before rolling out worldwide. 

Lewis Maddison
Reviews Writer

Lewis Maddison is a Reviews Writer for TechRadar. He previously worked as a Staff Writer for our business section, TechRadar Pro, where he had experience with productivity-enhancing hardware, ranging from keyboards to standing desks. His area of expertise lies in computer peripherals and audio hardware, having spent over a decade exploring the murky depths of both PC building and music production. He also revels in picking up on the finest details and niggles that ultimately make a big difference to the user experience.