MongoDB Atlas for Gaming, Startups to Watch in 2023
Hubert NguyenPublished Mar 21, 2023 • Updated Mar 21, 2023
Rate this article
In the early days, and up until a decade ago, games were mostly about graphics prowess and fun game play that keep players coming back, wanting for more. And that's still the case today, but modern games have proven that data is also a crucial part of video games.
As developers leverage a data platform like MongoDB Atlas for gaming, they can do more, faster, and make the game better by focusing engineering resources on the player's experience, which can be tailored thanks to insights leveraged during the game sessions. The experience can continue outside the game too, especially with the rise in popularity of eSports and their legions of fans who gather around a fandom.
Mezi Wu, Research and Development Manager at Yile Technology (left) and Yi-Zheng Lin, Senior Database Administrator of Yile Technology
Yile Technology Co. Ltd. is a mobile game development company founded in 2018 in Taiwan. Since then, it has developed social games that have quickly acquired a large audience. For example, its Online808 social casino game has rapidly crossed the 1M members mark as Yile focuses intensely on user experience improvement and game optimization.
Yile developers leverage the MongoDB Atlas platform for two primary reasons. First, it's about performance. Yile developers realized early in their success that even cloud relational databases (RDBMS) were challenging to scale horizontally. Early tests showed RDBMS could not achieve Yile's desired goal of having a 0.5s minimum game response time.
"Our team sought alternatives to find a database with much stronger horizontal scalability. After assessing the pros and cons of a variety of solutions on the market, we decided to build with MongoDB's document database," Mezi Wu, Research and Development Manager at Yile Technology, said.
The R&D team thought MongoDB was easy to use and supported by vast online resources, including discussion forums. It only took one month to move critical data back-end components, like player profiles, from RDBMS to MongoDB and eliminate game database performance issues.
The second is about operations. Wu said, "MongoDB Atlas frees us from the burden of basic operational maintenance and maximizes the use of our most valuable resources: our people."
That's why after using the self-managed MongoDB community version at first, Yile Technology moved to the cloud-managed version of MongoDB, MongoDB Atlas, to alleviate the maintenance and monitoring burden experienced by the R&D team after a game's launch. It's natural to overwatch the infrastructure after a new launch, but the finite engineering resources are best applied to optimizing the game and adding new features.
"Firstly, with support from the MongoDB team, we have gained a better understanding of MongoDB features and advantages and become more precise in our usage. Secondly, MongoDB Atlas provides an easy-to-use operation interface, which is faster and more convenient for database setup and can provide a high-availability architecture with zero downtime," says Yi-Zheng Lin, Senior Database Administrator.
Having acquired experience and confidence, now validated by rapid success, Yile Technology plans to expand its usage of MongoDB further. The company is interested in the MongoDB transaction features for its cash flow data and the MongoDB aggregation pipeline to analyze users' behavior.
Based in Boston, USA, Beamable is a company that streamlines game development and deployment for game developers. Beamable does that by providing a game server architecture that handles the very common needs of backend game developers, which offloads a sizable chunk of the development process, leaving more time to fine-tune game mechanics and stickiness.
Game data (also called game state) is a very important component in game development, but the operations and tools required to maximize its utilization and efficiency are almost as critical. Building such tools and processes can be daunting, especially for smaller up-and-coming game studios, no matter how talented.
For example, Beamable lets developers integrate, manage, and analyze their data with a web dashboard called LiveOps Portal so engineers don't have to build an expensive custom live games solution. That's only one of the many game backend aspects Beamable handles, so check the whole list on their features page.
Beamable's focus on integrating itself into the development workflow is one of the most crucial advantages of their offering, because every game developer wants to tweak things right in the game's editor --- for example, in Unity, for which Beamable's integration is impressive and complete.
To achieve such a feat, Beamable built the platform on top of MongoDB Atlas "from day one" according to Ali El Rhermoul (listen to the podcast ep. 151), and therefore started on a solid
and scalable developer data platform to innovate upon, leaving the database operations to MongoDB, while focusing on adding value to their customers. Beamable helps many developers, which translates into an enormous aggregated amount of data.
Additionally, MongoDB's document model works really well for games and that has been echoed many times in the games industry. Games have some of the most rapidly changing schemas, and some games offer new features, items, and rewards on a daily basis, if not hourly.
With Beamable, developers can easily add game features such as leaderboards, commerce offers, or even identity management systems that are GDPR-compatible. Beamable is so confident in its platform that developers can try for free with a solid feature set, and seamlessly upgrade to get active support or enterprise features.
bemyfriends is a South Korean company that built a SaaS solution called b.stage, which lets creators, brands, talents, and IP holders connect with their fans in meaningful, agreeable, and effective ways, including monetization. bemyfriends is different from any other competitor because the creators are in control and own entirely all data created or acquired, even if they decide to leave.
With b.stage, creators have a dedicated place where they can communicate, monetize, and grow their businesses at their own pace, free from feed algorithms. There, they can nurture their fans into super fans. b.stage supports multiple languages (system and content) out of the box. However, membership, e-commerce, live-streaming, content archives, and even community features (including token-gated ones) are also built-in and integrated to single admin.
Built-in analytics tools and dashboards are available for in-depth analysis without requiring external tool integration. Creators can focus on their content and fans without worrying about complex technical implementations. That makes b.stage a powerful and straightforward fandom solution with high-profile creators, such as eSports teams T1, KT Rolster and Nongshim Redforce, three teams with millions of gamer fans in South Korea and across the world.
bemyfriends uses MongoDB as its primary data platform. June Kay Kim (CTO, bemyfriends) explained that engineers initially tested with an RDBMS solution but quickly realized that scaling a relational database at the required scale would be difficult. MongoDB's scalability and performance were crucial criteria in the data platform selection.
Additionally, MongoDB's flexible schema was an essential feature for the bemyfriends team. Their highly innovative product demands many different data schemas, and each can be subject to frequent modifications to integrate the latest features creators need.
While managing massive fandoms, downtime is not an option, so the ability to make schema modifications without incurring downtime was also a requirement for the data platform. For all these reasons, bemyfriends use MongoDB Atlas to power the vast majority of the data in their SaaS solution.
Building with the corporate slogan of "Whatever you make, we will help you make more of it!," bemyfriend has created a fantastic tool for fandom business, whether their fans are into music, movies, games, or a myriad of other things --- the sky's the limit. Creators can focus on their fandom, knowing the most crucial piece of their fandom business, the data, is truly theirs.
Diagon is a gaming company based in Lagos, Nigeria. They are building a hyper-casual social gaming platform called "CASUAL by Diagon" where users can access several games. There are about 10 games at the moment, and Diagon is currently working on developing and publishing more games on its platform, by working with new game developers currently joining the in-house team. The building of an internal game development team will be coming with the help of a fresh round of funding for the start-up (Diagon Pre-Seed Round).
The games are designed to be very easy to play so that more people can play games while having a break, waiting in line, or during other opportune times. Not only do players have the satisfaction of progressing and winning the games, but there's also a social component.
Diagon has a system of leaderboards to help the best players gain visibility within the community. At the same time, raffles make people more eager to participate, regardless of their gaming skills.
Diagon utilized MongoDB from the start, and one key defining factor was MongoDB's flexible schema. It means that the same collection ("table," in RDBMS lingo) can contain documents using multiple schemas, or schema versions, as long as the code can handle them. This flexibility allows game developers to quickly add properties or new data types without incurring downtime, thus accelerating the pace of innovation.
Diagon also runs on MongoDB Atlas, the MongoDB platform, which handles the DevOps aspect of the database, leaving developers to focus on making their games better. "Having data as objects is the future," says Jeremiah Onojah, Founder of and Product Developer at Diagon. And Diagion's engineers are just getting started: "I believe there's so much more to get out of MongoDB," he adds, noting that future apps are planned to run on MongoDB.
For example, an area of interest for Onojah is MongoDB Atlas Search, a powerful integrated Search feature, powered by Lucene. Atlas developers can tap into this very advanced search engine without having to integrate a third-party system, thanks to the unified MongoDB Query Language (MQL).
Diagon is growing fast and has a high retention rate of 20%. Currently, 80% of its user base comes from Nigeria, but the company already sees users coming from other locations, which demonstrates that growth could be worldwide. Diagon is one of the startups from the MongoDB Startup Program.
MongoDB Atlas is an ideal developer data platform for game developers, whether you are a solo developer or working on AAA titles. Developers agree that MongoDB's data model helps them change their data layer quicker to match the desired outcome.
All the while, MondoDB Atlas enables their applications to reach global scale and high availability (99.995% SLA) without involving complex operations. Finally, the unique Atlas data services --- like full-text search, data lake, analytics workload, mobile sync, and Charts --- make it easy to extract insights from past and real-time data.
Create a free MongoDB Atlas cluster and start prototyping your next game back end. Listen to the gaming MongoDB podcast playlist to learn more about how other developers use MongoDB. If you are going to GDC 2023, come to our booth, talks, user group meetup, and events. They are all listed at mongodb.com/gdc.
Last and not least, if your startup uses MongoDB, our MongoDB startup program can help you reach the next level faster, with Atlas credits and access to MongoDB experts.