Pokemon Go Traffic Was 50 Times More Than Expected

Niantic's estimates for Pokemon Go traffic was exceeded within 15 minutes.


At launch, Pokemon Go's traffic was 50 times what developer Niantic had expected and "ten times more than the worst-case estimate," according to Google, which has discussed the Google Cloud infrastructure powering the popular mobile game.

When Pokemon Go launched, there were widespread connection issues and, according to Luke Stone, director of customer reliability engineering at Google Cloud, this is because Pokemon Go went through an unusually sharp increase in adoption.

"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."

Stone published a graph showing just how much of a disparity there was between the original launch target for traffic, the estimated worst case, and the actual traffic.

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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."

When the inevitable issues began to impact the game, Google and Niantic tackled each problem as they arrived in sequence. Following its launch in the US and ahead of its Japanese release, Google upgraded its Cloud platform to add "a thousand additional nodes" to its container cluster, which meant it could accommodate significantly more players.

Looking ahead, Niantic has teased that "exciting features and changes" are coming to Pokemon Go soon.

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