Krome – 10 Games, 3 Cities, 1 Studio

icon-user“Around 350 staff are spread between the primary studio in Brisbane, and satellite studios in Melbourne and Adelaide. That means large amounts of data need to flow thick and fast between the three locations – somewhere between one and two terabytes a month, and that’s where Cinenet plays a pivotal role.”

An Interview with Robert Walsh, CEO – Krome

Krome Studios, a leader in the field worldwide, with ten successful titles on multiple platforms to its credit, has produced titles such as Star Wars: the Force Unleashed and The Clone Wars, Hell boy: The Science of Evil, and Scene It? Box Office Smash!

Krome first approached Cinenet to build a fibre service for their Adelaide studio in 2007, and followed up with a contract for Brisbane, and then Melbourne, after Krome took over Atari’s Melbourne House. Cinenet provides the studios with internet access in all three states, and high capacity intercapital links to tie the studios together.

Krome ‘s CEO, Robert Walsh, says good connectivity between the three is critical.
“For us it’s not just a matter of moving data around, it’s a matter of how we run our business, so having it up all the time is reasonably important.”

Krome needs to move substantial amounts of artwork, 3D animations, models and other such heavy assets between sites, but like any other business, doesn’t want to replicate more infrastructure than necessary, with file servers in 3 states. The solution was to centralise major servers in Brisbane, and run Wanjet file accelerators from F5 Networks, in Melbourne and Adelaide, over the Cinenet’s dedicated links.

Krome’s IT manager, Jason Muir, is frank about how complex the lay of the land can be.
“Wanting to have all the data, everywhere, all the time, is a technical nightmare. What Cinenet has done for us is enable us to actually hammer the links – we can throw as much data down to those sites as we need to. So basically it’s allowed us to do business.”

Connecting the three studios is obviously a service other ISPs could offer, but what attracts, and keeps, Krome as a customer is Cinenet’s flexibility and client focus.

Cinenet’s Tony Clark says he was able to tailor a package that would change to suit Krome’s own evolution, and save the games developer money as well.
“They’ve grown and started to use more internet bandwidth, so we’ve shifted costs away from access charges in Brisbane and Melbourne – costs that they would normally have been locked into for the contract duration – and have grown the amount of bandwidth that they can consume. We’ve also turned up their intercapital speed higher than when they started – higher than it used to be within the life of their contract; so we’ve remained pretty flexible for them.”

Jason Muir says that sort of customer service is exactly why Krome deals with Cinenet
“We just had a meeting the other day where Cinenet sad, ‘We can actually do this for you and save you money on your existing contract.’ That doesn’t happen; I’ve never ever seen that happen anywhere else. They’ve changed our plan a couple of times to give us better value, and that’s what’s probably a bit more important to me than anything else, is that relationship that we have.”

Robert Walsh says working with a smaller, industry-specific provider like Cinenet has benefits in addition to cost-saving.
“It allows them to be really responsive to our needs, as a consumer; also it’s a lot easier to talk to them about future plans, because, being a smaller carrier, we’re a much bigger player on that backbone. We can get involved in strategic planning for the network; whereas you’re not going to get that with a bigger telco. It allows us to be far more flexible in moving our business forward, which is good.”

Tony Clark says the Cinenet service philosophy is a simple one.
“Most contracts are designed to lock customers down, whereas ours are designed to pass on good value. Our success is in enabling companies and their staff to work better; that ultimately results in great word-of-mouth, and that results in customers that want to stick around.”

And if you ask Robert Walsh, that approach is working.
“To be honest., I think the relationship is awesome. If we need occasional extra bandwidth for a day or two, then they can turn that tap on for us really fast, and that for us is paramount. Flexibility is really the key, and that’s something Cinenet has proven to be over time.”