CCP is widely recognized as an industry-leading pioneer of the single-server persistent universe architecture as the developer and publisher of EVE Online, the critically-acclaimed, science fiction-based massively multiplayer online game (MMOG). Utilizing a cross-discipline approach combining cutting-edge technology and artistic excellence, CCP is dedicated to providing vibrant, compelling products that transcend the boundaries of conventional MMOGs and facilitate social networking through virtual worlds. Privately held and founded in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1997, CCP’s international reach now spans the globe with offices in Atlanta and Shanghai as well as a base of operations in London. More information about CCP is available at the company’s website, www.ccpgames.com.
CCP was using a recently acquired, leading enterprise vendor’s IP-PBX solution for its telephony needs. The system used hardware IP Phones which provided telephony services to an estimated 100 out of 500 employees, while supporting a number of existing legacy phones, faxes, emergency, and alarm systems.
CCP was selected to become one of Microsoft’s “Lighthouse” accounts for Unified Communications. As an IT-focused organization, CCP was greatly involved with Microsoft Office technology and pleased to have the opportunity in providing Unified Communications to its employees.
CCP searched for a solution to connect its existing IP-PBX to the Microsoft Unified Communications environment, allowing for PC-to-Phone and Phone-to-PC telephony using Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, as well as for Unified Messaging using Exchange Server 2007.
In order to connect the existing IP-PBX to the Microsoft Unified Communications network, the IP-PBX vendor required CCP to purchase new E1 line interface cards for their IP-PBX. Direct SIP connectivity between the IP-PBX and the Microsoft environment was expensive as the IP-PBX did not support SIP natively. In addition, CCP was self maintaining their Microsoft environment, while the maintenance of the IP-PBX was a major challenge for them, due to the proprietary nature of the IP-PBX software.
With the direct support of Microsoft in the Netherlands, CCP decided to remove their existing IP-PBX and go for a solution based purely on the Microsoft Unified Communications environment and AudioCodes’ Media Gateways.
“We simply realized that our best option would be to discard the proprietary IP-PBX we had in place and replace it with the joint Microsoft and AudioCodes solution,” stated Thorir Baldursson, CCP Lead System Administrator. “Although the IP-PBX system was relatively new, the upgrade and maintenance costs were high. We also felt much more comfortable with the Microsoft and AudioCodes solution. It is standards based and very easy to manage. Microsoft provides us with IT-oriented unified communications solutions, and AudioCodes complements it with everything we want with regards to interfacing with legacy telephony.”
The first phase of CCP’s migration to software-based unified communications included the installation of an AudioCodes Mediant 1000 Media Gateway in Reykjavik. The AudioCodes gateway connects the Microsoft environment directly into the PSTN using an E1 trunk, as well as existing fax machines, analog phones, emergency and alarm systems using FXS and FXO ports.
“The AudioCodes Mediant 1000 was the natural choice for us,” stated Thorir Baldursson. “We needed a Media Gateway that would support E1, FXS, FXO as well as a Lifeline interface in case of failure of the Unified Communications system. The AudioCodes modular Mediant 1000 Media Gateway was the only product supporting these requirements”.
CCP games use a variety of clients with their telephony system. They use a selection of Office Communications Server certified hardware SIP phones from multiple vendors. Unlike with the former proprietary IP-PBX, all CCP employees are now connected to the system using the Microsoft Office Communicator. Microsoft Attendant Console is also used in the system.
The second phase of the project included the extension of the network to the CCP branch offices in Atlanta and Shanghai. An AudioCodes Mediant 1000 Media Gateway was installed at each of these sites, providing local PSTN breakout.
As part of the second phase, additional analog interfaces were added using separate AudioCodes MediaPack 11x Media Gateways. These gateways provide high density, cost-effective analog interfaces.
“We are extremely pleased with our advanced Unified Communications system from Microsoft and AudioCodes,” stated Thorir Baldursson. “It is very simple to use, maintain and expand. The high level of voice quality which uses a Microsoft Wideband Real Time Audio (RTA) Codec and the AudioCodes Media Gateway has proven to be a powerful solution. We recommend enterprises to seriously consider eliminating their proprietary IP-PBX systems, as well as their TDM PBXs and Key Systems, and transition towards the next generation of communications – just like we did.”