Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. Case Study
MPLS Network Speeds Game Release
“SD-WAN-Experts are extremely proud of what they do – and aside from the immense knowledge they offer, SD-WAN-Experts took the time to really understand our business, knowing that each business unit is very unique. The SD-WAN-Experts team diligently removed all of the complexities associated with choosing a network provider; and ultimately led us to the one that works best for us.”Frank Cupo
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) is a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment for consumers worldwide. Headquartered in New York City, the company develops and publishes products through its two wholly-owned labels, Rockstar Games and 2K. Take-Two’s products are designed for console systems, handheld gaming systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, and are delivered via retail outlets, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. A global player in the gaming space, it is crucial that Take-Two’s developers are equipped to efficiently communicate and collaborate in a virtual environment, from anywhere, worldwide. This is no easy task and requires the most, robust, reliable and secure networking services available.
Having utilized a company-wide Virtual Private Network (VPN) via the public Internet, the company’s network performance was inconsistent, unpredictable and inefficient, particularly for its game build and other large file transfers. Each of the 36-plus Take-Two worldwide office locations relied on this VPN. Transferring these files, often as large as 30-Gig in size, multiple times a day across the globe, would often take over 24 hours to complete. This caused worker inefficiencies, collaborative obstacles and created project strategy and benchmarking challenges.
To combat these issues and improve the company’s bottom line, Take-Two required a more robust, private network architecture that could create a real-time, collaborative environment that was secure, reliable and affordable. The company also recognized that there were a myriad of network providers, espousing a wide variety of technologies and solutions. Take-Two had the foresight to solicit an IT consulting firm that could advise the company on how to effectively procure a large-scale, global networking solution.
The search for the telecom and IT consulting firm for Take-Two began with an online search. The search resulted in Take-Two isolating three consulting firms, all located in New York City. One of the firms specifically addressed experience in Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), which particularly impressed the engineering team at Take-Two. Take-Two was looking for a consulting firm that was focused not just on cost reduction, but one that also demonstrated a strong understanding of all available technologies and solutions, including providing benchmark data and pricing evaluations.
“We wanted a consulting firm that would lend us real expertise and do the best job possible representing our company’s unique needs to multiple vendors, and perform an honest ‘apples to apples’ comparison on all of the different options we had for enhancing our company network,” explained Frank Cupo, Director of Corporate Infrastructure for Take-Two Interactive. “We had a significant number of vendors to choose from, and really needed help in deciphering and deciding what option was best for us.”
In the end, Take-Two Interactive elected to pursue the consulting firm that highlighted its expertise in MPLS and WAN technology. It was SD-WAN-Experts’ profound knowledge and understanding of MPLS and packet-based technologies that ultimately sealed the deal. Once Take-Two determined that SD-WAN-Experts had the technological know-how to meet its needs, the company took a more detailed look and found that the firm worked with strategic carriers and technology providers worldwide; another critical piece of Take-Two’s selection process. SD-WAN-Experts’s ultimate goal was to build a solution that would not simply meet Take-Two’s current needs; but that also possessed the scalability and flexibility to grow with Take-Two.
After meeting SD-WAN-Experts’ Founder and CEO, Steve Garson, for Take-Two, it was a “slam dunk.” Garson took the time to show what his company could do to effectively drive business cost down, and demonstrated his skillset in the technology space – which was much more focused than the other vendors examined. He took the time to thoroughly understand Take-Two’s business model, its goals, its struggles, and immediately got to work developing a comprehensive plan. SD-WAN-Experts worked meticulously to combine its functional business expertise with process communication, competitive analysis, and professional guidance on the technologies available.
“Steve is extremely proud of what they do – and aside from the immense knowledge they offer – they took the time to really understand our business, knowing that each business is very unique; and that each of our 36 sites are configured very differently,” commented Cupo. “Steve really jumped head-first into the conversations with our directors of studio labels, and all of those in the thick of working around our network challenges. A lot of vendors will make the promise that they will become a ‘partner’ to understand exactly what a business is doing, but Steve actually did that. The service from SD-WAN-Experts wasn’t your standard ‘flip service;’ it was much more. Steve spent the first 60 days analyzing our bandwidth and traffic flows in detail and working with our engineers. By the time we were ready to start our vendor negotiations, Steve could speak as though he was our very own team member; that alone was a huge selling point for me in utilizing SD-WAN-Experts’s services.”
SD-WAN-Experts worked seamlessly with Take-Two to smoothly navigate the numerous providers in the telecom network space, and helped Take-Two make the most informed decision possible. It helped Take-Two to put together a formal, comprehensive bid package, worked with suppliers to answer questions, and gathered all of the proper statistics and data needed for executing the plan.
“SD-WAN-Experts brought it all together without requiring us to hire any other outside help,” continued Cupo. “They helped us ultimately decipher and decide what network option was best for Take-Two – all of the pros and cons for each model type, what would work as the best network model, what would allow us to optimize our billing system, and what would be most cost-effective based on our usage patterns. The team diligently removed all of the complexities associated with choosing a network provider; and ultimately led us to the one that works best for us.”
Before deciding on the network provider, Take-Two and SD-WAN-Experts worked together for six months, and at the conclusion of the project, Take-Two had progressed from a company whose core network was completely fragmented, to a company that completely ‘changed its game,’ by becoming centrally-managed with a unified network architecture that will meet its needs for years to come.
Today, the Take-Two Interactive network is successfully integrated among each of its 36 office locations. The network is faster, reliable, and operates without any delays. The company’s communications and collaboration are vastly improved. Moreover, the company is now able to transfer very large files across town or across the world without issue. What used to take hours on the public Internet, now takes just minutes. Notably, the new network infrastructure recently enabled Take Two to meritoriously launch one of the largest and most successful game releases in company history (BioShock).
“Our newly upgraded network has significantly changed the way Take-Two works on its games; we are relying on the network more to efficiently connect our remote sites, and doing more collaborative projects. The network has become more of a tool rather than a simple transport mechanism,” stated Cupo.
Additionally, the company can now accurately construct project plans, ensuring more timely deliverables, and better manage client expectations. The ability to ‘predict’ is huge for Take-Two Interactive.
Take-Two continues to work with SD-WAN-Experts on a regular basis. Presently, SD-WAN-Experts is acting as a liaison to help Take-Two facilitate ongoing telecom vendor negotiations, and establish and maintain key relationships within the telecom space.
“SD-WAN-Experts truly understands who we are as a company, and what we want to do, and are more than able to deliver. We could not be more pleased with working with them as a valued extension of our team,” concludes Cupo.
Images are copyright of Rockstar Games and Take Two Interactive Software, Inc.
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