When I talk about FarmVille, I get the questions “Did you expect it to grow so quickly?” or “Was it hard to scale it up to handle that many people?”.
Simple, answer. Of course… we didn’t expect it to grow so quickly.
We released on June 19th, guessing our day 1 players would add up to a couple of thousand. Turned out to be about 25k. We guessed day 2 would be 50k and it was 100k. Day 3 was over 500k and day 4 was over 1 million.
When the growth started happening, the team just held on and we did the best we could to keep up with it. Fortunately we’re on the Amazon cloud and that helped because with a simple command we could add more servers. Still it wasn’t easy, and there were many late nights and weekends and many challenges that hit us (and still do) because of the sheer size of the player base.
Imagine driving through a big parking lot full of speed bumps. If you drive slowly, no big deal. If you drive fast? Bam, bam, bam…you hit the speed bumps hard and it makes for a bumpy ride.
That’s the best analogy I’ve been able to come up with so far about scaling FarmVille.
It’s a lot of fun with the right mindset.
Have a better analogy? Let me know.