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Case Study

Game-Changing Efficiency: a story of speed, savings, and seamless development

Playable Worlds (PW) was founded in 2018 by Raph Koster and Eric Goldberg and is based in San Marcos, California. PW is a talented and creative group of game industry veterans, collectively bringing decades of experience that help provide unique and diverse perspectives to create the most alive worlds ever in online games.

Inventing Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) Games

PW’s vision in their words:

“We dream of living worlds where there’s space for everyone to play their own way and create their own stories. Worlds where players can play with their friends no matter what their skill level, and from any device. Worlds where their time matters – whether they play in short bursts or long sessions.

Using modern cloud-native technology allows us to push the boundaries of what’s possible and make the future of online worlds a reality.”

The Challenge

Automate and streamline complex development and reduce cloud costs

Building massively multiplayer online (MMO) games presents unique engineering challenges and requires an end result of seamless user experiences. The challenge for the PW platform engineering team was to build and automate the custom development experience that increased the game developer's creativity and velocity with zero friction. The existing platform required significant administrative tasks and consumed above-budgeted infrastructure expenses.

Transitioning experienced AAA game developers from old methodologies to a cloud-native architecture further compounded the challenge, requiring meticulous planning to ensure availability, security, and cost-effectiveness.

The platform engineering project requirements included the development and deployment of a demanding, complex configuration of cloud-native microservices and infrastructure. Each developer would need access to on-demand, full-stack development environments to speed the coding, building, and testing inner loop of development without waiting for environments.

So how did the platform team take a wide technical surface area with many dependencies and provide each developer with an isolated environment for feedback and testing? They made the new Okteto-based approach become the foundation for their new development experience.

The Solution

Playable Worlds implemented Okteto to automate the development inner loop and shift left the verification process for each developer, increasing development productivity, reducing developer cognitive load, and ramping up velocity.

Platform engineering tailored a development experience (DevX) using the Okteto Platform to provision and de-provision complex backend environments for each developer, seamlessly, drastically reducing milestone finalization time from weeks to days.

DevX has transformed our development process, becoming a cornerstone of our platform. It's now recognized as being a first-class construct inside the organization. This was not even considered before Okteto. Now it's the first thought.

Aron SogorVP of Engineering, Playable Worlds

The Results

Transformative Efficiency and Cost Savings

Playable Worlds now runs daily system verification with minimum engineers. They use Okteto to drive the entire inner loop and commit process with the following results:


  • Accelerated time to market: SRE engineering was able to reduce release times from 6-10 weeks to 2.5 weeks.
  • Onboarding new team members: Okteto has helped reduce the time needed to onboard new members of the engineering team.


  • Unlocked efficient workflows: Developers are now enabled and have the freedom and space to test their work in their own trusted environments. In a 3-month period, Okteto helped PW deliver a rewrite of their core gaming simulation stack which reduced their cloud utilization to 10% of the original, reduced 90% waste, and they are in a position to do it over again.


  • Cloud cost reduction: Migration of the development platform infrastructure to Kubernetes from an overly complex deployment with 50,000 unmanaged SQS queues on AWS, a $50k monthly expense and increasing spend, resulting in significant cuts in infrastructure costs.
  • Engineering and opportunity costs: By leveraging Okteto, PW estimates savings of over $1M in engineering costs, equivalent to 12 months of opportunity, and substantial reductions in infrastructure expenses in their first year of adoption.


Looking ahead, PW aims to standardize DevX automation across all development and SRE teams, fostering increased creativity, confidence, and collaboration. By unifying production-like environments and leveraging automation, PW can focus on innovation and delivering exceptional gaming experiences to players worldwide.

How you can get started modernizing DevX

This gaming company’s success story with Okteto demonstrates the transformative power unlocked by automation and unifying environments across the lifecycle. If you're facing similar challenges with your development workflows, it's time re-think your environment strategy and align your platform. Consider Okteto a collaborative partner in your cloud native journey.

Learn more about how Okteto's platform and Development-Experience-First approach can benefit your organization, and become our next success story. Contact us today.