Do your due diligence: what to ask when picking infrastructure partners

Too many studios get locked into services and tools without knowing the full picture. So we’ve put together a checklist you can use when picking your infrastructure partners.

Setting up your infrastructure is arguably one of the most important parts of your game development process. It’s the framework for how well your multiplayer game runs. And it can affect performance, cost, and even your players’ happiness.

So picking who you work with is crucial. And it’s not something you want to cut corners. Here’s how you can do your due diligence.

Set the groundwork

You first want to learn if you’re the right fit and that they can meet your needs. Get all of the basic questions out of the way. In return, your potential partner should be asking you about your game; what type it is, what requirements you have, how many concurrent players you have at peak times, etc. If they’re not asking these, take caution.

To figure out if they’ve got the basics covered, ask them:

Don’t get locked in

Straight after launch, Payday 3 struggled with their matchmaker. And they were still struggling with these issues months down the line. In one case, a faulty update from the matchmaker caused Payday 3 to grind to a halt.

A single point of failure can cause you and your team multiple headaches. So you should ask questions like:

Make sure you’re working with specialised experts

This is important if you’re talking to all-in-one providers (those that tackle everything from your matchmaker to your hosting). You can end up with a generalist, where everything is okay day-to-day, but not someone you need when something breaks. Make sure to ask them:

If you want to learn more about why you need specialists for your infrastructure, check out our latest report.

Make sure they can scale, without breaking the bank

Palworld ended up paying $475,000 in a month when their game became popular. Likely because they needed to scale into the cloud. And Helldivers 2 had to cap their players to 450,000 to ‘improve server stability.’ Both issues essentially came down to unaffordable scaling.

So plan for the best-case scenario. Ask any potential partner how they scale and cope with the surge of players. Otherwise, your best-case scenario will become your worst-case scenario. Ask them:

Get the support you need

Automated bots and knowledge centres can be okay to use for day-to-day work. But when you’re experiencing downtime or any other serious issues, you want to know you can talk to someone immediately. So ask your partner:

Plan your infrastructure for the long run

When developers focus too much on short-term results, they can often make decisions about their infrastructure that trap them into expensive contracts. All of these questions we mentioned above will help you plan for the future of your game and your studio, and not just get you through the first few phases.

If you want to learn more about server orchestration and infrastructure, our experts are happy to chat. Book a demo to see how we manage compute in real-time.