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Preferred platform for localized e-sports

With more than 300 native languages spoken across the archipelago, Indonesia is a complex market. It is important for foreign companies to sufficiently localize their offerings to successfully launch a business in the country. Furthermore, Indonesia has one of the lowest bank account ownerships rates in the world, so collecting digital payments across borders can be challenging.

Born and bred in Indonesia, GOX is a live-streaming platform for e-sports. Its mission is to build an innovative live-game streaming experience  based on local expertise. Unlike foreign players in the market that use international payment gateways such as PayPal, GOX uses GoPay and OVO, both Indonesian gateways with higher market penetration. The business currently has 80,000 registered users who buy and trade in the platform’s digital currency, kacang (Bahasa for peanuts).

Keeping the games going with the cloud

GOX launched the web-only version of its platform in September 2019 using on-premises servers and a local content delivery network (CDN). However, the site struggled with slow latency, often

up to 20 seconds. It also experienced stability issues due to an unreliable CDN and the variable quality of local broadband connections. Furthermore, the risk of physical damage to on-premises servers due to weather events was high. “When we were running on on-premises servers, we were always hoping that there would be no electricity cuts and were constantly worried about maintaining the temperature of our servers. Everything was a concern,” says Anthony Halim, co-founder at GOX.

GOX decided to move to the cloud for reliability, security, and flexibility and chose to reengineer its streaming platform on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. The business relaunched its platform, offering an iOS and Android app in addition to the web version in September 2020. “Momentum is a key factor in the gaming market,” Halim shares. “When our site was experiencing issues, we had little to no traffic. And if a site is unreliable, people will leave and not come back. We had to change our approach to avoid reputational damage from negative word-of-mouth in the gaming community.”

Propels growth with managed live streaming solution

The GOX mobile and web platform relies on Amazon Interactive Video Service (Amazon IVS) as a managed live streaming solution. It employs three infrastructure engineers who have regular discussions with AWS solutions architects to ensure more efficient use of Amazon IVS and evaluate new use cases. However, because of the design of Amazon IVS as an out-of-the-box solution, little instruction was required for engineers to get started on their own.

Integration of live streams with iOS and Android, in addition to GOX’s other backend applications, took just 2–3 weeks. Since running on the AWS Cloud, average latency on the GOX platform is now 4 seconds or less, and engineers continue to fine tune configuration elements such as its media player to reduce latency even further. “With Amazon IVS, we’re finally able to keep the growth momentum alive on our platform,” says Jack Lontoh, founder at GOX.

Fourfold rise in number of active streamers

Momentum and success in the e-sports live-streaming market hinge on the players who choose to stream their games on a given platform, and their satisfaction with the experience. These streamers supply the content that’s critical to GOX’s ability to attract more users (viewers). “In the 5 months since relaunching with Amazon IVS, the biggest benefit has been a fourfold increase in the number of active streamers on our platform each month,” says Lontoh.

GOX attributes this growth to the stability of its platform. Before, the company received at least one complaint—mostly from streamers—during each session due to lags during gameplay. Now, negative feedback is rare, even during large gaming events. The viewing experience and users’ ability to interact with players has likewise improved with lower latency on the AWS Cloud. Furthermore, average engagement time per user has increased by 379 percent compared to the previous on-premises web platform.

Ease of scaling with management efficiency

The ease of managing its live-streaming platform and improved customer satisfaction led GOX to pursue a full migration to AWS. All production workloads are now on the AWS Cloud, using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances for computing and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for low-cost file storage.

For GOX, choosing the right cloud provider wasn’t only about price, but also about managing efficiency. On average, a single live stream includes about 100 streamers and users, but events with well-known streamers and popular games can attract up to 9,000 users. With its previous on-premises data center, scaling was a challenge and often took 1 week to accomplish ahead of a major live stream. “With AWS, we can easily ramp up in a matter of hours and switch off our Amazon EC2 instances when the event is over, which allows us to control our costs more efficiently,” says Lontoh.

Plus, the business gains a comprehensive solution by going all-in on AWS. “It’s easier for us to view and manage key services such as Amazon IVS and the supporting backend on one platform, plus payment and support is simplified on AWS,” Lontoh explains.”

Interactive features enhance user experience

By eliminating the need to maintain servers, GOX’s engineers have turned their attention to building interactive features that enhance the e-sports experience. They are now in talks with AWS to develop a clipping feature allowing users to take screenshots of gameplay to share on social media and chat threads on the GOX platform. Since relaunching, GOX has also introduced a new feature called mabar, or main barang, which means “to play together.” This feature allows users to challenge streamers to a game.

Halim says, “Choosing to work with AWS is beyond a simple infrastructure or technology play. The resources and expertise AWS deliver contribute significantly to the success of our product.”

Summary

By using Amazon Interactive Video Service, GOX has reduced latency from 20 to 4 seconds and improved the stability of its mobile and web gaming platform. GOX is Indonesia’s local e-sports streaming provider with 80,000 users. The company is using Amazon IVS as a managed live-streaming solution, Amazon EC2 for compute power, and Amazon S3 for storage. To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/ivs.

Authors

  • Yuliana is an AWS Territory Sales Associate based out of Singapore.
  • Adam Katab is an AWS Associate Solutions Architect based out of Indonesia.