Blizzard Entertainment said Tuesday that it will continue to use AT&T’s data centers and network to deliver its World of Warcraft to 11 million gamers. Significantly, AT&T said its expanded agreement with Blizzard will include “current and upcoming games in the company’s popular StarCraft and Diablo universes.”
That means that AT&T will provide the back end for Blizzard’s highly-anticipated StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty virtual world, which launches July 27th. The new game is the sequel to Blizzard’s 1998 hit StarCraft, one of the top real-time strategy games of all time. That might also explain why AT&T and Blizzard announced a new contract less than a year after the companies touted a two-year agreement to power Warcraft’s infrastructure.
Hosting, CDN and Monitoring
The new multimillion dollar multi-year deal expands the 10-year relationship between Blizzard and AT&T, which provides hosting services for Blizzard in North America, as well as content delivery network (CDN services and voice and data for Global Call Center Support. AT&T will provide around-the-clock monitoring and management of the technology infrastructure that supports Blizzard’s online games.
AT&T supports Blizzard with its Gaming Core Team, a specialized unit formed in 2004 to meet the infrastructure needs of customers’ gaming operations.
“Over the years, AT&T has demonstrated that it understands the needs of our business,” said Paul Sams, Chief Operating Officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “The services and support AT&T provides have helped us to consistently deliver high-quality online-gaming experiences to our players.”
AT&T doesn’t provide a lot of details on Blizzard’s infrastructure. But last fall Blizzard’s Allen Brack and Frank Pearce provided some details at the Game Developer’s Conference in Austin. Here are some data points:
- Blizzard Online Network Services run in 10 data centers around the world, including facilities in Washington, California, Texas, Massachusetts, France, Germany, Sweden, South Korea, China, and Taiwan.
- Blizzard uses 20,000 systems and 1.3 petabytes of storage to power its gaming operations.
- WoW’s infrastructure includes 13,250 server blades, 75,000 CPU cores, and 112.5 terabytes of blade RAM.
- The Blizzard network is managed by a staff of 68 people.
- The company’s gaming infrastructure is monitored from a global network operating center (GNOC), which like many NOCs, features televisions tuned to the weather stations to track potential uptime threats across its data center footprint.
AT&T’s 36 Internet Data Centers offer more than 2 million square feet of secure hosting facilities around the globe.