Successful massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) have today millions of registered users and hundreds of thousands of active concurrent players. To be able to guarantee quality of service (QoS) to a highly variable number of concurrent users, game operators statically over-provision a large infrastructure capable of sustaining the game peak load, even though a large portion of the resources is unused most of the time. To address this problem, we introduce in this work a new MMOG ecosystem for hosting and provisioning of MMOGs which effectively splits the traditional monolithic MMOG companies into three main service providers: game providers, game operators, and resource providers. Their interaction is regulated through comprehensive service level agreements (SLA) that establish the price, terms of operation, and compensation for service violations. In our model, game operators efficiently provision resources for MMOGs from multiple cloud providers, based on dynamic load forecasts, and ensure proper game operation that maintains the required QoS to all clients under varying resource availability. Game providers manage multiple distributed MMOGs for which they lease services under strict operational SLAs from game operators to satisfy all client requests. These three self-standing, smaller, more agile service providers enable access to the MMOG market for the small and medium enterprises, and to the current commercial cloud providers. We evaluate, through simulations based on real-life MMOG traces and commercial cloud SLAs, the impact of resource availability on the QoS offered to the MMOG clients. We find that our model can mitigate the negative effects of resource failures within four minutes and that MMOG server consolidation can accentuate the negative effects of failures in a resource-scarce environment. We further investigate different methods of ranking MMOG operational offers with either single or multiple (competing) MMOG providers. Our results show that compensations for SLA faults in the offer selection process can lead up to 11–16 % gain in the game providers’ income. We also demonstrate that adequate ranking of offers can lead to MMOG operational cost reductions from 20 up to 60 %.
- Cloud computing
- Fault tolerance