A new business model for massively multiplayer online games

Vlad Nae, Radu Prodan, Alexandru Iosup, Thomas Fahringer

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Today, highly successful Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs) have millions of registered users and hundreds of thousands of active concurrent players. To sustain their highly variable load, game operators over-provision a large static infrastructure capable of sustaining the game peak load, even though a large portion of the resources is unused most of the time. This inefficient resource utilisation has negative economic impacts by preventing any but the largest hosting centres from joining the market and dramatically increases prices. In this paper, we propose a new business model of hosting and operating MMOGs based on Cloud computing principles involving four actors: resource provider, game operator, game provider, and client. Our model efficiently provisions on-demand virtualised resources to game sessions based on their dynamic client load, which dramatically decreases prices and gives small and medium enterprises the opportunity of joining the market through zero initial investment. We validate our new model and its underlying business relationships through trace-based simulations utilising six months worth of monitoring data from a real-life MMOG using emulated resources from 16 of the largest Cloud resource providers currently on the market. We demonstrate that our model can operate state-of-the-art MMOGs with an average monthly gross profit of nearly $6 million excluding game purchase prices, overheads and taxation, while being able to maintain and control the QoS offered to all clients. Finally, we show how our approach is capable of operating next generation very highly interactive MMOGs with a small increase of 5.8% in the subscription price.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICPE'11 - Proceedings of the 2nd Joint WOSP/SIPEW International Conference on Performance Engineering, Karlsruhe, Germany, March 14-16, 2011
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event2nd Joint WOSP/SIPEW International Conference on Performance Engineering, ICPE 2011 - Karlsruhe, Germany
Duration: 14 Mar 201116 Mar 2011


Conference2nd Joint WOSP/SIPEW International Conference on Performance Engineering, ICPE 2011


  • MMOG
  • Resource allocation
  • Service level agreements


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