Case Study: Cassandra Meets Call of Duty

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Lis Evenstad recently wrote for Computer Weekly, “With the rise of the internet of things (IoT) and new technology, companies have the ability to collect and use more data than ever before. More data also means higher expectations and increased competition to stay on top of the game.’It’s about having real-time data at your fingertips,’ Darryl Kanhouse, senior director of consumer technology at Activision, the company behind well-known games such as Call of Duty, Guitar Hero and Destiny, tells Computer Weekly. ‘The data has to be right and available all the time – it’s a never ending challenge,’ he says. ‘Demand for data-driven decisions and making a focused, personal experience is getting higher. Everywhere you look, everybody is looking at personal experience’.”

Evenstad goes on, “The company began a project to improve the way it used data to deliver a better customer experience in 2011. It tried many different databases, including Oracle, MongoDB and Infobright, and often switched while it tried to find one that solved all its challenges.In 2014 it tried out Apache Cassandra – and for the first time in five years, it didn’t switch to something else, Kanhouse says. Cassandra is an open-source, scalable NoSQL database that acts as a platform for applications that require fast performance and no downtime. With the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in 2014, Activision tried out a new system where, based on real-time data, it could message players with highly personalised communication to enhance the experience of the player and increase engagement. This involved large amounts of data, and according to Kanhouse, the company ‘couldn’t have done it without Cassandra’.”

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