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Fundamentals of Software Architecture: Fantasy Games

Fantasy Games, based in San Diego, CA, was founded by Robert Walling in 1996. At that time, there were two employees, three titles, and $500,000 in sales. In a little under ten years, Fantasy games has grown to include over 100 titles, 876 employees, and over $5 billion in sales worldwide. Fantasy Games now maintain offices in Singapore and Bangalore, India. Fantasy Games utilizes 90 virtual salespeople and have 3000 retail locations worldwide. Sales continue to grow as Fantasy Games continue to produce a high quality gaming experience in the educations, sports, strategy, and arcade genres. (Fantasy Games, 2005)

Fantasy Games has grown tremendously in the last 10 years, and growth is projected to double over the next 5 years. In order to facilitate this growth, Fantasy Games is considering the software architecture required to provide and support an online gaming community. Currently, gamers are left without a support system, and many have expressed a desire to interact and play with other gamers. In response to the question of what gamers want, Jody Jones says, “I love to be able to connect with other people and share my experiences with them,” while Kye Phillips states, “if there is a network to support the game experience, you can get more immersed in the game.”

With an online gaming community, Fantasy Games will be able to provide the interactivity their users are looking for. According to Ken Powers, “our competitors do this routinely,” so it is necessary that Fantasy Games take this step in expanding their customer service. Not implementing this service would put fantasy Games at a disadvantage as gamers flock towards the producers who provide an online gamer experience. Customer loyalty would falter as their needs are met through other venues, and company growth would fall far short of the projected totals.

This new community must provide a variety of functions. First, it must provide the ability for gamers to communicate using both real time methods such as IM, and the delayed time methods seen in email, forums, and blogs. These must be easy to use, and they must be available to all gamers regardless of disabilities or limitations. The community must be appealing to gamers of all ages, and it must provide an easy-to-use search function. Subscribers will enjoy the added benefit of being able to post to forums, create blogs, and the ability to create and read gamer bios.

According to The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), “22% of most frequent game players say they pay to play online games. This is an increase from 19% in 2007 and a marked increase from 8% in 2004.” At Fantasy Games, online gaming will be available for a nominal monthly fee.

Puzzles, board games, game shows, trivia games, and card games are the most popular among online gamers claiming 47% of the market. All titles in these genres will be available for online play, as will all educational games.  Sports, action, strategy, role-play, and downloadable games like bejeweled and Diner Dash have a 30% share of the market. Sample titles from each of these genres will be available for online gaming. Persistent multi-player universes and the others category make up the remaining 23% of the online gaming market. Fantasy games will not offer these genres for online gaming, but they will be available both on the website and through the retail outlets.  (Entertainment Software Association, 2008)

There are a number of different views and quality perspectives that must be considered with this project. The functional viewpoint is important to all stakeholders as it describes the functional elements and how they work together to make the system run. The manner in which information is distributed, manipulated, stored, and managed is contained in the information viewpoint, and is of particular interest to user, developers, acquirers, and maintenance The information viewpoint is concerned with how data is distributed, managed, manipulated, and stored. Users, acquirers, developers, and maintenance are particularly interested in this information, but most stakeholders will have some interest.  (Rozanski & Woods, 2005).

Other viewpoints to be considered are concurrency, development, deployment, and operational. These are mainly the concerns of system administrators, developers, testers, communicators, and assessors, and contain information about how the systems operates as it is being used. Some of the concerns here include support, administration, environment, functional elements, and the architecture that guides the development process.  Quality perspectives, as garnered from stakeholder requirements, must be maintained at all times. (Rozanski & Woods, 2005)

Fantasy Games is about to embark on the next step in their continued success. Offering a gaming community based on consumers wants is an excellent way to garner customer loyalty, and helps ensure growth throughout the organization. The vision has been laid down in this document, and we look forward to assisting in the coming phases of software architecture development.


Entertainment Software Association. (2008). Essential facts about the computer and video game industry. Retrieved 1 17, 2009, from The Entertainment Software Association

Fantasy Games. (2005). About Us. Retrieved 1 17, 2009, from Fantasy Games

Jones, J. (2005). Personal correspondence. Retrieved 1 17, 2009, from Capella

Phillips, K. (2005). Personal correspondence. Retrieved 1 17, 2009, from Capella

Powers, K. (2005). Outlining the Project Basics. Retrieved 1 17, 2009, from Capella

Rozanski, N., & Woods, E. (2005). Software Systems Architecture. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.