CDNetworks provides global capacity and flexible support for Square Enix

At a glance

Company: Square Enix Co., Ltd.

Founded: 2008

Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan

Industry: Gaming, Toys

Website: http://www.square-enix.com/

CDN Services: Content Acceleration

Key results

  • Secured a stable content distribution platform that enables users to play games without service outage
  • Reduced cost in distributing games
  • Streamlined configuration efficiency with quick and flexible technical support
Background

Square Enix co., Ltd., formed by the 2003 merger of ENIX Corporation and SQUARE CO., LTD., is Japan’s leading gaming company best known for its Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy series, and a provider of various content and services throughout the world.

Smartphones and tablets have opened the door to the era of portable gaming. Nowadays people around the world play online games. As a world-leading gaming company with top-level game developers, Square Enix continues to create even better high-quality and innovative content to satisfy gamers.

In the pursuit of satisfying gamers, Square Enix chose CDNetworks’ Content Acceleration technology from various CDN vendors as a platform to quickly and stably distribute high volumes of content all over the world. Square Enix has proactively used CDN for cache distribution of program data, apps, images and other static content, and reducing website load

The challenge

A stable network infrastructure is a top priority for online game providers. Square Enix is diligent in providing gamers with “comfortable gaming environments” and takes great care to provide an environment as distribution never stops due to a service outage.

“A network infrastructure failure disrupts playing online games, which results in opportunity losses for us. Maintaining a stable operation is essential so that gamers can play games worry-free,” said Satoshi Hayakawa, Information Systems Division, Square Enix Co., Ltd. “We also need to consider a system structure that can steadily distribute network traffic without outage even during traffic spikes due to new game releases, big events, TV commercials, or related news articles on major portal sites, which can be tens of times the normal access.”

Square Enix content, which includes vast amounts of data, is managed on a per project basis (e.g. game title). Square Enix uses several CDN vendors concurrently to perpetually provide this content and allow gamers to play games anytime anywhere. If anything should happen to one vendor, service switches to another network thus making maintaining service continuity possible.

“Our services are distributed on the Internet and we use CDN to deliver huge amounts of content continuously and stably. However, the CDN service is an external service, so we cannot do anything if an accident occurs,” said Tatsuya Mori. “To offset this risk, we use a multi-CDN approach because CDN plays a key role in “service distribution”, which is a very important part of management.”

Using multiple CDN vendors’ costs a lot, so Square Enix developed an interdepartmental professional team with the goal of reducing CDN costs. “We always consider ways of improving cost efficiency throughout the company. We continuously create frameworks to assign CDN vendors evenly, as well as reducing costs for current vendors,” said Satoshi Hayakawa

The Process: Comparing CDN vendors using unique requirements

Every year, the Square Enix CDN team compares current vendors and other vendors including those outside Japan. To provide gamers with the best environment that uses cutting-edge and high-quality service, vendors are compared and replaced annually.

There are four points to be checked when choosing a CDN vendor.

  • Capability to distribute content globally
  • Capacity to distribute vast amount of data
  • Ability to employ a vendor without changing current distribution specifications, or adjustability of a vendor
  • Stable distribution quality and reasonable cost

Through this careful comparison and consideration, CDNetworks was chosen as a new distribution partner, highly esteemed with great services.

The solution

Square Enix has been using CDN heavily, so in their selection for a new CDN vendor they were searching for an advantage in terms of cost in addition to maintaining their service quality. One of the reasons CDNetworks was chosen was our greater contribution to cost efficiency compared to other companies.

Square Enix cited the following reasons for choosing CDNetworks based on the above-mentioned four requirements:

  • CDNetworks’ PoPs are evenly allocated worldwide and have a wide distribution coverage area
  • Adequate capacity to distribute contents worldwide
  • Distribution settings are adjustable according to Square Enix’s requirements
  • Stable distribution quality and high contribution to cost efficiency

In addition, flexible, cooperative and quick support was also valued.

“I could see that CDNetworks has the quick and flexible response to handle those critical moments, which I did not see with other vendors. I felt that they had good overall support,“ said Tatsuya Mori

“We emphasize good support. We’ve had a vendor in the past who failed to respond when trouble occurred and failed to give us a reason as to why. When trouble occurs, a quick response is especially indispensable. We don’t want to inconvenience our customers,” said Satoshi Hayakawa. “In addition, the faster we get a response, the quicker we can proceed with the setting process to resolve the problem. A quick response is vital.”

The results

Content distribution has been extremely stable after implementing CDNetworks. Square Enix carefully tested and introduced the service systematically, so it got off to a smooth start with no major problems.

Mr. Hayakawa recalls that a problem occurred only once since the service was introduced.

“CDNetworks quickly and carefully responded to the problem. The manner in which they did so made me feel confident working with them,” said Satoshi Hayakawa. “Trouble can occur at any time, but I think that a company’s approach in how they recover from it is key.”

The Future development

Square Enix is now looking to expand global distribution. In the past, Square Enix would distribute locally first, and if content seemed to match to overseas needs, localize the language and specifications. However now, Square Enix is pushing for more and more content and services to be distributed globally.

Having more than two hundred distribution PoPs around the world, CDNetworks currently supports Square Enix’s overseas contents distribution, and gamers across the world enjoy playing Square Enix’s online games through CDNetworks’ platforms. CDNetworks has the means to support effective distribution of future Square Enix contents provided globally.

“To spread happiness across the globe by providing unforgettable experiences” is the corporate philosophy of Square Enix. CDNetworks will keep on assisting Square Enix in distributing high-quality contents to their customers worldwide by optimizing the communication network so that Square Enix can enhance its company value and provide unforgettable experiences, spreading “happiness across the globe.”

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