Unless you spent the last couple of weeks in a cave, it probably hasn’t escaped your attention that a new high-profile game was releasedon Nov. 8th: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. I do like my video games but the content of this one is not what I’m going to talk about.
Online play is a big part of what make the popularity of this game (and its big rival, released a few days before, Battlefield 3). Activision, the publisher of the Call of Duty series, understood that and figured it could open a new (paying) service to the players. The service is called Call of Duty Elite, which is described in details by The Escapist. In two words, you pay, you get more stats about your online game sessions, and probably easier access to betas and things like that.
The thing is, as soon as the game was released, the registration (and indeed, the whole website) of the service was blocked. At least visitors didn’t reach an error page, so it seems that server load balancers or reverse proxies where put in place to redirect the unfortunate customers to a placeholder page. Looks like proper testing was done to ensure the limitations of the system were found before going to production.
But one has to remember that a company with the means like Activision could probably have done a better job. In the past, sure, you couldn’t do much about this. Your network and system were designed for the average load you expected, once the big burst of the opening passed. But using a Cloud-based infrastructure Activision could have scaled-up their performance as high as needed for a few days. And probably kept a few more customers happy.