What does cloud computing look like? For tens of millions of millions of Facebook users, it looks like Farmville, MafiaWars and Texas Hold'Em. Those are among the growing number of social games that are running atop the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) infrastructure.
The popularity of Amazon's cloud for running gaming apps for social networks has been a huge boost for RightScale, which helps social gaming companies Zynga, Crowdstar and Playfish manage their infrastructure on EC2. Eight of the 12 most popular games on the Web today run on RightScale, including FarmVille, Café World, Mafia Wars, FishVille, Happy Aquarium, Pet Society, PetVille, and Restaurant City. Those games have a total combined audience of more than 77 million daily active users, according to social gaming metrics firm developerAnalytics.
RightScale hopes to further its inroads in social gaming with the introduction of the
RightScale Gaming Edition, a new version of its management platform customized to address the specific needs of social gaming companies on the cloud. The platform features pre-configured gaming deployments with "Facebook-ready" services and a suite of specific consulting services to help social gaming companies quickly launch and manage their cloud deployments.
"Cloud computing is the clear solution for building an infrastructure suited to the ups and downs of social gaming applications, and the RightScale platform has been critical to supporting our massive growth on the cloud cost-effectively," said Peter Relan chairman of Crowdstar.
But cloud computing isn't the core competency of most game development companies. That's created a market opportunity for RightScale, the largest player in a growing ecosystem of cloud brokers who serve as intermediaries between end users and cloud provider.
"Cloud computing is an ideal solution for social media companies that need to get to market quickly and grow on demand," said Michael Crandell, RightScale CEO and co-founder. "But without careful management, cloud applications can get unwieldy, often requiring significant resources to deploy, manage and track throughout their lifecycle,” “RightScale has extensive experience helping the social media market leaders manage large, highly elastic gaming applications, and we are pleased to be able to provide a new game-specific RightScale version to help us deliver this expertise to customers."