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Peer-assisted online games with social reciprocity

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4 Author(s)
Zhi Wang ; Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology, Department of Computer Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China ; Chuan Wu ; Lifeng Sun ; Shiqiang Yang

Online games and social networks are cross-pollinating rapidly in today's Internet: Online social network sites are deploying more and more games in their systems, while online game providers are leveraging social networks to power their games. An intriguing development as it is, the operational challenge in the previous game persists, i.e., the large server operational cost remains a non-negligible obstacle for deploying high-quality multi-player games. Peer-to-peer based game network design could be a rescue, only if the game players' mutual resource contribution has been fully incentivized and efficiently scheduled. Exploring the unique advantage of social network based games (social games), we advocate to utilize social reciprocities among peers with social relationships for efficient contribution incentivization and scheduling, so as to power a high-quality online game with low server cost. In this paper, social reciprocity is exploited with two give-and-take ratios at each peer: (1) peer contribution ratio (PCR), which evaluates the reciprocity level between a pair of social friends, and (2) system contribution ratio (SCR), which records the give-and-take level of the player to and from the entire network. We design efficient peer-to-peer mechanisms for game state distribution using the two ratios, where each player optimally decides which other players to seek relay help from and help in relaying game states, respectively, based on combined evaluations of their social relationship and historical reciprocity levels. Our design achieves effective incentives for resource contribution, load balancing among relay peers, as well as efficient social-aware resource scheduling. We also discuss practical implementation concerns and implement our design in a prototype online social game. Our extensive evaluations based on experiments on PlanetLab verify that high-quality large-scale social games can be achieved with conservative server costs.

Published in:

Quality of Service (IWQoS), 2011 IEEE 19th International Workshop on

Date of Conference:

6-7 June 2011