As I was scanning my BBC app on my iPhone a few weeks ago I noticed this article on how game companies are sharing files for distributed development. It talked about how EA was overcoming the development challenges of the multi-shooter game “Battlefield 4″. Not only where they handling the code itself but also very large graphics and sound files as the complete game file was larger than 50GB.
Rather than file transfer or email the whole file (impossible) or chunks (too expensive, too time consuming), they were using Panzura’s cloud storage controller to store the “master file” in the cloud and handle code and content deltas (<5% of the total file) very similarly to what a MDM environment does in the B2B space when it checks for duplicates and only syncs “approved” attribute-level net changes into the MDM hub but also back to the source system.
This is as much of a file transfer challenge around compression as it is a logical challenge detecting and automating updates when appropriate and flagging it for review when inappropriate. The similarities to a MDM system are shocking. Just as two or more CRM, billing or asset mgmt systems handle their somewhat similar, yet still different, individual “master” files of an asset, a customer, an account or a product; the game development operation syncs its copies across development and QA locations based on the fact if it is a Sony Playstation or Microsoft XBox “view” of the same game.
In the event a cloud storage provider goes belly-up – just as it happened in the BBC article – there is obviously (as there is in MDM) the possibility of a cloud-onsite hybrid.
Now my juices got flowing – Informatica should be using its experience in ETL and SOA to use the MDM Hub for use cases where structured master data need to be used to sync chunks of large files relevant to a particular transaction, say a whole life insurance application, a mutual fund annual proxy statement, a car manual, etc. Rather than mail this massive booklets every quarter or year, these files should be developed and distributed based on preference attributes linked to a customer account and location and assembled on-the-fly for the particular object in question.
Surely, the risk disclaimers, steps to change a spark plug are 80% similar between instruments or vehicles so why reprint or duplicate them electronically.
Spinning this further, what happens if developers need to understand gamers’ behavior in terms of hacks they applied and attempts/behavior to get to the next save point. This then becomes increasingly a Big Data paradigm, especially for situations where the broadband signal is run through the XBox and constant switches between TV, web browsing, a voice call, VoD, OnDemand Games and XBox Games occurs. My head is starting to smoke already. Would a switch from the game to a local TV station or HBO now indicate that the gamer was getting a bit tired or bored at a certain stage in the game….what happens if the Kinect detects they actually walked away. So much data – so little time.
These are my two cents….as I am pretty sure Informatica will not get into the gaming business any time soon. And I was so hoping I could expense this Christmas’ XBox for customer demo purposes (LoL).
Are you aware of any untraditional uses of master data, maybe in combination with knowledge or content management systems? Would love to hear some ideas.