SYBO is a Copenhagen-based gaming company that has developed several hit games over the past 11 years. Best known for the hit mobile game Subway Surfers, an endless runner game beloved by players around the world. Within a week of its release in 2012, Subway Surfers was the most downloaded game in 20 countries, a number that quickly increased to 50. In 2023, the game achieved over 4 billion total downloads and over 150 million monthly active users.
SYBO’s games are played around the world, however before using Cloudflare, adoption and reach were constrained by its infrastructure. Originally, the company selected cloud regions based on its location in Copenhagen, Denmark. However, as its user base expanded, some players had difficulty connecting from their mobile ISP to the corporate servers. SYBO needed network infrastructure capable of connecting mobile ISPs’ networks around the world to the company’s cloud services while minimizing network latency and mobile disconnects.
As a mobile game company, SYBO works with a patchwork of mobile ISPs located all around the world. While games can be played offline, certain key features, such as leaderboards and advertising, require an active internet connection.
Cloudflare Argo Smart Routing eliminates the challenges of routing traffic between a global user base and SYBO’s servers. According to Mathew Duggan, Principal Security Engineer at SYBO, “For many ISPs in India, users experience an 80% improvement in performance by routing over Cloudflare rather than a direct connection over the public Internet. This is a big market for us, so these performance improvements are critical.”
Cloudflare's caching is critical to SYBO’s ability to serve users worldwide – approximately 50% of its traffic hits the cache. Duggan says, “With Cloudflare R2 and caching, we can now serve up to a petabyte of traffic and save around $60,000 each month. Cloudflare substantially expands our ability to experiment and enter new markets.”
SYBO has also adopted R2 to support creative assets for in-game campaigns. In the past, the company’s designers would develop a range of creative assets — only for bandwidth and cost constraints to force the company to use smaller, lower-resolution versions instead.
By hosting these assets on R2, SYBO is now able to provide its designers with much more creative freedom to maintain the game’s top-tier quality. According to Duggan, “R2 has allowed us to not only build the creative campaigns that we want, but also serve them to users. With Cloudflare, we don’t need to worry about compromising image resolution or breaking the bank.”
R2 has also enabled SYBO to perform experiments, including region-specific campaigns. In the past, this would have required complex reconfiguration of the company’s load balancer. With Cloudflare, configuring routing for an experimental campaign is easy, and caching limits the price tag of even a failed experiment.
In addition to supporting a global user base, security is also of paramount importance to SYBO. Like many gaming companies, it suffers frequent distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. The company is also bombarded with traffic from automated bots, including from unauthorized versions of the company’s games.
Duggan says, DDOS attacks happen regularly, but we can count on Cloudflare as the first to notify us.” In his experience, Cloudflare has mitigated every DDoS attack, eliminating the potential impacts of such attacks for legitimate users.
The company also receives large volumes of automated bot traffic. Cracked versions of the company’s games are recompiled with new advertising or in-app purchases. On an average day, Cloudflare blocks about 10 million requests from these unauthorized games, and other malicious bot traffic.
Cloudflare’s connectivity cloud provides a range of flexible, integrated services that an organization can quickly roll out, customize, and scale. SYBO has taken advantage of this fact to expand and further optimize its gameplay experiences. According to Duggan, “Cloudflare’s connectivity cloud helped us to evolve our business. Switching to Argo Smart Routing saved resources that allowed us to move to R2 and explore new opportunities.” SYBO is excited to see how other Cloudflare solutions, such as Waiting Room, could enable the company to host events or campaigns that would have previously been impossible.
80% performance improvement for Indian mobile ISPs with Argo Smart Routing
$60,000 monthly savings due to caching and Cloudflare R2 hosting
10 million malicious requests blocked per day by Cloudflare WAF
“With Cloudflare R2 and caching, we can now serve up to a petabyte of monthly traffic and save around $60,000 each month. Cloudflare substantially expands our ability to experiment and enter new markets."”
Principal Security Engineer
“Cloudflare R2 has allowed us to not only build the creative campaigns that we want but also serve them to users. With Cloudflare, we don't need to worry about compromising image resolution or breaking the bank.”
Principal Security Engineer