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back to article Google Maps Monopoly board folds under server strain

There are riots in the Monopoly City Streets, after the game's debut today was utterly upended from the strain of the initial land grab. The new online incarnation of Monopoly, which uses Google Maps as its game board, has fluctuated between completely inaccessible and intolerably slow throughout the day. The game's blog has …

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FAIL

Observation

How come every new web thing these days crumbles due to "more than expected demand". Its like they spend the least amount of money they can on servers.

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Silver badge

@Observation

Cos interest in it on day 1 = lots, interest a week later = a few, interest a year later = none.

So do you overspec the system by 10x to handle the load on day one and lose money the rest of the year? It's like building a £bn new express rail line for a 2week sporting event.

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Pirate

A telling statement

Funny, how even BEFORE the rush, at 5:15 AM, the blog had the statement

"Keep trying if you don't get in first turn - F5 away... ". Sounds like they expected the players were going to have a hard time playing. Not a great way to start an online game.

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The race car?

Surely the most desirable token, given the nature of the game, is the top hat.

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Cloud or no cloud?

Would be interesting to know if they are hosting this in an "elastic cloud" that could be expanded to accommodate the demand, or with more traditional servers.

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Thumb Down

no longer interested

Spent about 1/2 an hour trying to buy something then gave up - lost interest

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Silver badge

Re: telling statement

> Funny,[...]

> "Keep trying if you don't get in first turn - F5 away... ".

Yep. Funny indeed, especially if they expected to be a bit short in the hardware department... I mean, if I'd expect to get more load than I can handle, the last thing I'd want would be crowds of annoyed kids getting postal on the refresh... D'uh.

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FAIL

@Martin 6

Err yes you do overspec the system. If you dont you look like a fool just as Hasbro is now.

Especially if its a commercial venture - they have no excuse at all for going cheap.

I'm appalled that they tried to do some fancy social thingie with Web 2.0 to promote their new game (much like the old game, just with different street names), and they dish up this.

On the internet, stunts like this can backfire, and backfire badly.

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FAIL

How Dissapointing

This actually sounded like an interesting idea. That is, until I tried to use their horribly crippled site!

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What's Going On

So then... today has been a rather busy day to say the least. We appreciate your enthusiasm to try Monopoly City Streets. Thank you for your patience as we work behind the scenes to make the necessary changes to accommodate the traffic to the game.

We had planned for a lot of traffic on launch day and had been load testing the game - in fact, we've been testing and optimizing for a whole month. However, between the enthusiasm of Monopoly fans around the world, everyone who was excited to try out the new experience and non-stop mentions of the game on Twitter, blogs and everywhere else, our servers were overwhelmed. Based on the stats we have, we show a daily rate of about 1.7 million unique visitors, but the figure is likely far higher.

Please be patient as we work to make the necessary changes. In the meantime, if you'd like to help us design a building for the game, see an earlier posting about the SketchUp contest. And, if you'd like to follow us on Twitter, our official address is: MonopolyCitySts

Thank you again for your patience!

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Bronze badge
Pint

Damn' right, I wanted the race car..

...although, barring that, I was perfectly cool playing as the battleship.

Haven't played Monopoly in a dog's age, though; didn't they introduce some new "modern" pieces a while back? I've always thought they should update the "token" set by offering me the chance to play as a Space Shuttle.

(Look, ma, no antitrust jokes! ...well, except for that one.)

A pint, because it's beer o'clock here on the East Coast.

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Paris Hilton

No Cloud?

Where's the burst scalability for the opening day so you don't look rather silly?

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FAIL

@Martin 6

That would make sense if it was to run for even half a year, but the creators have already limited its life to January 2010. So four months of game time.

It would not make financial sense to buy servers for a four month long PR stunt (gone horribly wrong). I expect they rented them I know I would have. I could rent top end servers for four months for less than buying low end ones.

They totally burned everyone who was excited to play it. And then stopped talking on their blog as everyones panties caught fire and they were probably running around like headless chickens trying in vain to fix it.

I bet they even try the old DDOS red herring.

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Racecar clusterfuck

hehehehe

and might I say

hehehehehe

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Happy

'reset the servers'

Why? having a bandwidth issues is as good a way of any as limiting demand, all that would happen if its reset is 'somebody else' would get the streets you'd want...

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Bronze badge

Don't get it.

Every time this happens I wonder why they don't set a limit on the number of concurrent users. They must know how many users the servers can cope with so why don't they set a limit for concurrent users at that level, or better yet, a little below that level?

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Anonymous Coward

@rincewind

That's usually called good business practice.

If you spend more than you need on things, you soon run out of money - spending the least amount possible is the preferred option for the bean counters and the stockholders.

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Grenade

Reset???

So people are complaining that other people got to their desired spot first. So what, if everything gets reset someone else will more than likely get what you wanted anyway.

Apart from me, I'm buying the whole of Stoke, 3 million should cover it and give me 2,999,997 in change

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Unhappy

@rincewind

> How come every new web thing these days crumbles due to "more than expected demand". Its like they spend the least amount of money they can on servers.

They do. These days, everyone who can even find google.com thinks they're a website designer. The days when you'd have a real engineer work out the load, talk to your IBM/Sun/HP salesman, and buy a properly-sized system are long gone.

Now it's a quick rummage on the web for the cheapest server that's a pretty colour and probably has enough RAM, download some inexpertly configured Linux image and a freebie single-threaded webserver, reboot & turn on the intertube access. Oh look, what does "no swap space left" mean?

And, of course, once no-one wants to buy anything but cheap crap, that's all there'll be left on the market. Well, that and MilSpec, I suppose.

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FAIL

VHosts

Their URL http://monopolycitystreets.com shows an apache test page not the game site

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Where are the Clouds?

Isn't handling excess load spikes - like those at launch - one of the main justifications for Cloud Computing? "Hi Amazon, I need some mammoth bandwidth and CPU time for a week. Here's some cash, give me some virtual machines" or something?

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FAIL

Boring game even if it worked

This is pretty tedious since there's no element of other players 'landing' on your property. You just take somewhere with rent and then sit and wait. Another idea is to pay me rent for beta testing this steaming pile.

Still its a good way of Hasbeens dredging up some market data about where to launch the future versions of Monopoly - e.g. which streets generate the most interest that aren't in existing boards.

I unfortunately think there will be a load of glitches which allow bots to gather huge amounts of cash and automatically buy and populate streets.

If Hasbro don't turn this around soon, its going to be this year's mainstream media story on how not to launch a website.

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I've managed to buy and build

I love it! I've always fancied some sort of Sim City MMO type game, and this is done really quite well (when it loads).

This is bound to become a paid for game after January, and in fact everyone now is beta testing the product for them...

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Bronze badge

"Clusterfuck"

Did anyone expect anything else ?

There's a limited resource of prime property locations and millions who'd like to get their hands on them. So I guess in many ways it is a fair simulation of the real world; nothing fair about it.

The site's running like a whippet with three legs cut off at present so I've lost almost what little interest I had in the game.

I recall reading that one could put ''adverse things' next to property locations to devalue what's there, I guess that's things like a Nuclear Power Plant, Terrorist Training Camp, or an Olympic Village, so shouldn't be long before the online society reverts to real-life form and starts despising those 'that have' and begin sticking the boot in. When you're at the bottom of the pile there's not much fun to be had otherwise.

At least with Internet 2.0 no one dies when a virtual tower gets toppled.

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Megaphone

Nearly gave me a heart attack

"surpassed even our greatest EXPECTATIONS,"

Aaargh! Don't do that, you made me jump out of my skin.

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Boffin

"oops"

Looks like they don't understand Apache's 'serverAlias' either, as http://monopolycitystreets.com/ is showing the CentOS default page :-)

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Isn't this why we have clouds

I thought that was the Modern Way, your server farm is made of virtual knicker elastic and you get flexible on-demand bandwidth and processor capacity? Every time another 1000 kids hit F5 another virtual server kicks in.

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Pirate

cool but dumb

The site is more responsive today, but still gives lots of error messages.

The game is a cool concept, but like Nick 6 said, if the other players can't "land" on my property, what's the point? There's no interaction among players except buying/selling streets and hazard sabotage, and with the entire world available, why would anyone need to buy a street from someone else? This is not Monopoly as we know it, more like a glacially slow Sim City.

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FAIL

seems it's been hit by sub-prime as well

Appears that 3 million - 1.4 million = 800k.

So looks like they've managed to include credit default swaps in there as well.

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FAIL

Cloud

The funny thing is, it *is* on the cloud.

They are with carrenza.com who is a cloud utlity provider.

They are probably throwing servers at it, when their code is a load of crap to begin with.

Something like this is not easy to do on a global scale with a few hundred thousand people playing at the same time.

Hasbro having the technical skills to pull it off? Unlikely.

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Preparation is key

Given it’s not always easy to determine how popular an online game or service will be, it’s best to prepare for huge success. In practical terms this means investing in scalable traffic management software that can handle huge peaks of traffic and deliver users a consistently high level of service. Thanks to the rise in popularity of social networking sites such as Twitter, the launch of new services can spread virally very quickly and place huge demands on organisations responsible for delivering them. Disappoint users on launch day and it’s highly unlikely they’ll try the service again so making sure you have everything in place beforehand is critical.

Graham Moore, e-retail specialist, Zeus Technology

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