GREE Delivers Relevant In-Game Ads With a Compelling Experience for Mobile Gamers

GREE relies on the Aerospike database to manage over 1,000 campaigns per user, conducting calculations within milliseconds to maintain peak performance for gamers while serving up ads

Mountain View, CA – June 3, 2014 – Global spending on mobile games rocketed from $9.1 billion in 2012 to an estimated $12.2 billion in 20131. Capitalizing on that growth is GREE, one of the world’s leading companies in global mobile social gaming. Today, Aerospike announced that GREE is using the Aerospike in-memory NoSQL database to deliver relevant ads in real-time to Japanese customers of its popular free-to-play games.

Founded in 2004, GREE focuses on building the world’s leading gaming ecosystem for users and developers while creating and supporting unique free-to-play game content. The company derives its revenue from gamers who choose to buy “weapons” or “tools” to gain more power and capabilities, as well as from game developers who make their games available on GREE’s ecosystem. Additionally, in the domestic Japanese market, GREE generates revenue from advertising. This requires the ability to deliver relevant ads even as GREE maintains in-game activity and fosters gamer retention.

In-Game Ad Delivery Decisions in Real-Time

For GREE, a top priority is gaining an up-to-the-moment understanding of customers’ interests and needs in order to efficiently deliver targeted ad campaigns to the audiences in Japan playing their games. At the same time, the database managing this information has to be fast enough to support seamless game play, with ads loading as quickly as possible to avoid disrupting the consumer’s experience.

“The need to create a compelling game experience while serving up personalized ads means that we need to complete several calculations—including reads, writes and updates—within milliseconds. So latency becomes the most important database issue,” explains Satoshi Tanaka, developer, GREE Advertising System Division. “After reviewing database products on the market and their design and architecture policies for supporting low latency, we selected Aerospike.”

Managing 1,000 Campaigns per User

Today, GREE uses Aerospike to handle calculations, such as issue handling, profile retrieval and update, and budget balance update. These calculations are completed within milliseconds all while managing 1,000 campaigns per user with each campaign averaging 100 bytes of data. The storing of user profiles enables GREE to track in-game activity in “Large Stack,” such as a user’s high score, the last 10 moves, and the total spent. Meanwhile, a real-time dashboard displays the top 100 high scorers each day. GREE also uses the Aerospike database to cleanse the data, and if a gamer’s last login was more than 30 days ago, all but the last 10 actions are deleted.

Initially, two Aerospike clusters ran on bare-metal servers with solid-state drive (SSD) based storage. However, in the last year, GREE made a company-wide decision to move to the cloud. Leveraging Aerospike’s efficient use of processing power and storage, GREE now runs two Aerospike database clusters in the cloud: a data serving cluster that runs in-memory exclusively on DRAM and a backup cluster with hard disk drive storage. Both clusters are connected via Aerospike’s cross data center replication (XDR) functionality, providing full replication to ensure business continuity and 100% availability.

“Our ability to generate revenue from relevant ads while balancing in-game activity, retention, monetization and social virality is central to GREE’s success,” said Mr. Tanaka. “With Aerospike, we have achieved optimal flexibility in our advertisement delivery along with the high performance and low latency we need to create a superior gaming experience for our customers.”

“As one of the global leaders in free-to-play mobile games, GREE is at the forefront in innovating a platform that combines a rich, compelling interactive experience for gamers with powerful models of monetization through in-game ads,” said Brian Bulkowski, Aerospike founder and CTO. “We are excited by the success that GREE has realized with our Aerospike database in achieving real-time responsiveness to maximize both ad performance and customers’ gaming experiences.”

About GREE, Inc.
GREE is a global mobile social company with businesses that include social gaming, social media, advertising, licensing and merchandising, and venture capital. Established in December 2004, GREE created the world’s first mobile social game in 2007 and today is a global leader in free-to-play, reaching audiences around the world with its portfolio of first-party and partner titles. GREE has studios in Tokyo, San Francisco, Vancouver, and Seoul, and is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (3632). For more information, visit http://corp.gree.net.

About Aerospike
Aerospike delivers the first flash-optimized in-memory NoSQL database for revenue-critical, real-time context-driven applications that personalize the customer experience across Web, mobile, search, social, video, and email channels across the Internet. The database of choice in real-time bidding and cross-channel marketing, Aerospike is the user context store for global-scale platforms, such as AppNexus, BlueKai, eXelate, The Trade Desk and [x+1], processing terabytes of data and billions of transactions per day, with predictable low latency and continuous availability. With unmatched price/performance, Aerospike also scales up and out to accelerate real-time applications in ecommerce, retail, financial services, and telecom. The free Aerospike Community Edition manages up to 200GB of unique data and can be upgraded to the Aerospike Enterprise Edition with support for larger deployments and cross data center replication. Aerospike is headquartered in Silicon Valley; investors include Alsop Louie, Draper Associates and NEA.

1 NewZoo market research and consulting firm, “InfoGraphic, The Global Mobile Landscape,” published on newzew.com, October 29, 2013.