Pokemon Go traffic was 50x greater than Niantic expected

Lots of us were frustrated by Pokemon Go’s early server struggles, but a glimpse into Niantic’s preparations has revealed why it wasn’t something that could be fixed overnight.

As per the Google Cloud Platform Blog, Niantic had both a traffic target and a worst case estimate of five times that amount. The actual traffic that hit its servers was 50 times more than its target and ten times greater its worst case scenario.

Within 15 minutes of launching in Australia and New Zealand, player traffic surged well past Niantic’s expectations,” Google’s director of customer reliability engineering Luke Stone said. This was the first indication to Niantic’s product and engineering teams that they had something truly special on their hands.

Niantic and Google Cloud braced for a flood of new Pokmon Trainers, as Pokmon Go would go on to shatter all prior estimates of player traffic. Not everything was smooth sailing at launch.

[However] the lessons-learned from the US launch — generous capacity provisioning, the architectural swap to the latest version of Container Engine, along with the upgrade to the HTTP/S Load Balancer — paid off when the game launched without incident in Japan, where the number of new users signing up to play tripled the US launch two weeks earlier.

Niantic’s Pokmon GO was an all-hands-on-deck launch that required quick and highly informed decisions across more than a half-dozen teams. The sheer scale and ambition of the game required Niantic to tap architectural and operational best-practices directly from the engineering teams who designed the underlying products.

It was a rare pleasure to be part of such a memorable product launch that created joy for so many people around the world.”

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