An evolving ecosystem for operating and developing GaaS – launching autumn 2021

04.28.21

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Games as a service (GaaS) is emerging as the leading model for a whole new generation of hit games. It really is an exciting time for publishers, developers and players, with many creative possibilities to explore.

But creating live-service games presents many technical issues, so it’s a challenging time too. As a studio, how do you focus your time, budget and skills on making games when first you need to manage the technicalities of developing and operating a live service?

Our focus is helping studios to overcome these issues. Launching soon, Improbable Multiplayer Services (IMS) is an open, ever-expanding ecosystem of technologies and services dedicated to optimising the development, operation and evolution of live games. With this ecosystem, we can provide solutions tailored to studios’ unique needs.

As well as giving developers access to our own validated technologies and services, IMS will give studios the freedom to integrate whichever tools, partnerships and third-party services they need to manage their game in a simpler, faster, more cost-effective way.

Studios can then focus their resources on the things that will make their game stand out – more engaging, accessible gameplay and stickier content.

The benefits of IMS to game makers highlights another reason it’s an exciting time. As we begin to unveil IMS, we’re also announcing early access for Scavengers, Improbable’s first GaaS title from in-house studio Midwinter Entertainment, led by Josh Holmes (former Creative Director for the Halo franchise).

The reason that we’re announcing both things at once is that these two entities – Scavengers and IMS – are inextricably part of each other’s creation.

The making of a game maker

Before we acquired Midwinter in 2019, we knew Josh Holmes’ team was making a PvEvP shooter set on a frozen Earth, and using Improbable’s networking engine SpatialOS (now a part of IMS) to meet the computational demands of bringing this world to life.

Improbable worked closely with Midwinter before it joined Improbable’s family of in-house studios, but the benefits of even tighter integration to IMS have been huge.

Improbable has always collaborated with and valued the feedback of partners and users of our technology. We’ve always had game developers inside our organisation providing their perspective and experience. However, the process of helping to make Scavengers real, first as investors and technology partners, and now as coworkers of Midwinter Entertainment, gave us a deeper understanding of what it truly takes to develop and operate a live-service game.

And it undeniably highlighted the breadth and depth of skills required to develop and operate a GaaS.

As we worked alongside Midwinter’s team on Scavengers, we continued to increase our own games expertise with experienced hires and acquisitions. This helped us incorporate an even greater range of knowledge, ideas and potential, to develop new tools and services for games.

We’ve expanded our offer and enhanced our ways of working to enable IMS to better serve other studios and publishers around the world.

IMS: Supporting GaaS evolution

Publishers and game studios planning to build games as a service can use IMS to offload development tasks that get in the way of creating great games and content.

We created IMS based on the challenges that internal and external studios faced, and by listening and learning from developers and their experience of using our networking engine, SpatialOS, and later our game server hosting and operations service, zeuz.

So we set out to make sure these learnings are at the core of IMS. We wanted to make it easier for studios to adopt only the tools they want, to make it easy to create solutions tailored to studios’ unique needs, and to be sure we accommodate the existing tools and services that studios love.

This thinking establishes three core benefits of the IMS ecosystem for publishers and studios:

  • Built by developers for developers

Battle-tested by our three internal studios and already providing solutions for many external partners, IMS offers a range of tools, technologies and expertise specifically designed by developers for developers, to help studios create and evolve games as a service.

  • Custom solutions built using tested tools

Studios get solutions customised to their needs, combining the best IMS technologies and expertise with the best tools from third-party partners to ensure the result works flawlessly with the studio’s team, tech stack and game title.

  • Our experts are yours too

Our large team includes a breadth and depth of expertise across multiplayer disciplines. Through our account team studios can access this expertise to flex and expand their capabilities, with hands-on help and support through a game’s development cycle.

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GaaS powered by IMS

Midwinter used IMS tailored solutions to address elements of GaaS development and accelerate their time to craft and launch Scavengers:

  • A cost-efficient hosting and orchestration solution that delivers low-latency gameplay to more players in more regions.
  • DevOps services and testing tools to support the development and iteration of a GaaS.
  • A suite of online services designed for competitive multiplayer, and integrated to meet the game’s unique requirements.
  • A multi-server networking solution to support the studio’s creative vision, enabling distinctive features like blended PvP/PvE gameplay.
  • A new architecture for creating and operating large-scale events in the game universe.

Effectively, IMS manages many of the difficult, back-end technology, workflows and processes that online games need but developers shouldn't need to care about – empowering publishers and studios to use their resources so they can minimise costs, mitigate risk and gain live game monitoring and support.

What's next?

In the coming weeks building to the launch of Improbable Multiplayer Services (IMS), we’ll be talking more about how it can help publishers and studios to concentrate on their strengths, gain more creative freedom, and evolve ever-greater games.

Keep in touch with how IMS is helping to evolve GaaS and build virtual worlds.

More solutions. More possibilities.

Explore all IMS solutions