How Can DevOps Optimise The Game Development Process?


From arcades to home consoles, gaming has seen an exponential rise in the last two decades. In 2020, the global gaming industry’s revenue was set to hit USD 165 billion with more than 2.7 billion players worldwide. An extremely lucrative industry, games like Pokemon Go on smartphones and Grand Theft Auto V have seen record-breaking annual revenues topping USD 1 billion. In India gaming is valued at USD 930 million, and with almost 600 million internet users, it is the largest gaming market in the world, expected to reach USD 3.8 billion by 2024. 

As the industry leapfrogs in the country, global companies are looking at India as a provider of rich developer talent and skills needed to create modern-day games. Today these developers and artists are working on some of the best projects and are progressing to becoming partners rather than just task developers. However, in the competitive world of gaming, users provide straightforward feedback on their experience on digital platforms reaching out to millions of other gamers – impacting revenues and reach.

Game developers are continuously asked to quickly respond to the needs of this global audience and to make this happen, they must deploy the best technological, testing and production practices from concept to creation – this is where DevOps can help. It’s a combination of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), unifying people, processes, and technology to continually provide value to customers. Ideally, it enables previously siloed departments to coordinate and collaborate to produce more reliable products and increasing an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity (reducing time to market).

Since, game development is often a long and challenging road that needs to produce games with flawless consumer experience, DevOps’ goal is to automate and streamline – making game development more efficient and reliable by bringing in best practices across IT teams, development, software, and hardware departments. 

While a typical DevOps framework is designed to remove unnecessary manual steps to increases team agility and speed, in the gaming world it can reduce errors that could cause negative user feedback in the long run. It allows gaming companies that are deploying updates, bug fixes, and patches, to create a repeatable and recyclable process that seamlessly delivers new innovations to meet the needs of gamers worldwide. Moreover, as games are now developed and deployed over the cloud, gaming companies need scalability and address security threats more effectively. For this to happen, IT operations, security teams, and application developers need to work in tandem. 

Integrating security in the DevOps pipeline makes it a core component of the software development workflow. DevSecOps’ continuous threat modelling capability and management of system builds helps in judging the cost and risk trade-offs between secure and unsecured software aspects, including code, data and usability. DevSecOps teams at gaming companies can also help deliver quality applications faster and more flexibly while preventing unintended and mistaken data exposure.

Today, High competition and extreme market demand drive companies to reduce their development process time so they can be first to market, which affects the quality of the user experience. For example, CyberPunk 2077 was a high-end game being developed by CD Projekt, however even after months of delays due to the pandemic the game was plagued with bugs and glitches, leading Sony (the distributor) to remove it from the PlayStation Store in just a week and offering all the users a full refund. Situations like these can arise with any gaming company as Game development involves a lot of prototyping and iterative processes. 

DevOps on the other hand helps bring innovative products and features faster to the market – a critical challenge of the gaming industry. And it allows game developers to have a continuous integration and new versions of software released to keep players engaged and interested. DevOps not only allows continuous delivery improvements in time to market but also agile practices with rapid consumer feedback, ensuring quality, functionality, safety, and security. With less time spent focusing on defining and refining the process of getting things done, game developers can have more time to focus on ideating and creating new ideas and focusing on the actual development to make it come to life.

In simple words, DevOps tries to make the software production process seamless. It aims to better integrate the development, operations, and production with automation and technology. Having said that, DevOps is not a technology or a tool, it is a methodology that requires an organizational shift in culture. It is the ‘agile’ concept taken to the enterprise level. Amalgamated with game development, which has passionate people, who drive to create new experiences – DevOps can help the industry players do incredible things quickly, yet still reliably.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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