Pokemon Go had a launch that we could compare to something of a rough ride. Skyrocketing the iOS app store top charts within 24 hours after it launched, players have reported intermittent connections to no connectivity at all. Word has spread over social media that players are having a hard time playing the game due to a plethora of network errors. How did this happen?
Turned out Niantic really under-estimated the app’s popularity. A chart released by Google shows the developer allowed for a worst-case scenario of five times its target traffic – but Pokemon Go actually drew traffic 50 times that target amount and ten times the worst-case scenario.
“Throughout my career as an engineer, I’ve had a hand in numerous product launches that grew to millions of users,” he said “User adoption typically happens gradually over several months, with new features and architectural changes scheduled over relatively long periods of time. Never have I taken part in anything close to the growth that Google Cloud customer Niantic experienced with the launch of Pokemon Go.” – Luke Stone, director of customer reliability engineering at Google Cloud.
Traffic exceeded Niantic’s expectations within 15 minutes of the game’s debut in Australia and New Zealand, which where the first two regions to get the game.
“This was the first indication to Niantic’s product and engineering teams that they had something truly special on their hands,” Stone continued. “Niantic phoned in to Google CRE for reinforcements, in anticipation of the US launch planned the next day. Niantic and Google Cloud–spanning CRE, SRE, development, product, support and executive teams–braced for a flood of new Pokemon Trainers, as Pokémon GO would go on to shatter all prior estimates of player traffic.”