In Ubisoft’s award-winning Assassin’s Creed franchise, players find themselves filling the shoes of an entire pantheon of ancient assassins. As the series progressed, developers introduced gamers to an ever-expanding roster of characters, committed to bringing ruthless justice to Ancient Greece, Industrial Revolution-era London, Revolutionary America, and more. Sporting a rich world with so many diverse locations to explore, it’s no surprise that the series has grossed over 400 million dollars and spawned a live-action film adaptation. As it turns out, Assassin’s Creed — with its globe-spanning story — is a fitting avatar for video game development itself.
Modern video game development is defined by creators and studios spread around the world, linked by singular goals and objectives. While designers achieve their aims through slightly more seemly means than Ubisoft’s assassins, the France-headquartered company has more than 15,000 team members from 95 nationalities spread across over 40 global studios working to share immersive and unforgettable experiences.
Now, the creation of a game like Assassin’s Creed would, of course, be complex even if everyone working on the project was in the same room. In this case, however, not only are essential team members often not in the same room — they’re not even on the same continent. This necessitates the regular sharing of game builds across thousands of miles, and that content needs to move quickly, reliably and securely.
Ubisoft is not unique in this approach to video game development. As the gaming industry continues its profitable worldwide proliferation, rapidly growing teams cause major developers to expand to more and more locations, and the growing number of platforms creates more and larger files for each game version. Each of these challenges is addressed by managing increasingly complex workflows.
When we spoke with 10-year Signiant customer Ubisoft about their experience using our products and their video game development needs, they reassured us that game developers are in need of sophisticated, robust, and agile enterprise file transfer solutions. “When we produce a game, it typically involves hundreds of people, programmers, artists, game designers and testers, from multiple studios around the world working on the same game, including a lead studio and several co-development studios,” says Li Xiao Song, Ubisoft Service Manager. Song goes on to explain: “Every time we do a new version, we have to build for each platform — PC, Xbox1, PS4 — and each platform has multiple SKUs. If I need to send all SKUs to all sites, it could be over 2TB of data for a single version.”
Recognizing the complexity of their global workflows, Ubisoft adopted Signiant’s Manager+Agents solution over a decade ago for automated system-to-system file transfers. In recent years, the gaming giant also replaced FTP with Media Shuttle to support their person-initiated transfer needs, making it much easier to share large, vital files with external partners.
These needs will only become more intense and pronounced as time goes on. Files are getting larger, gaming technologies are getting more advanced, and customer expectations are rising at seemingly insurmountable rates with regards to new tech such as VR and AR. Companies like Ubisoft are working to stay at the forefront of video game development and are creating gaming experiences that are truly remarkable. But in order to keep succeeding — especially on a global scale with a global model — it’s crucial to invest in the right file transfer solutions. The alternative is game over.