Pocket Gems Successfully Migrates Millions of Users to Stream Chat

Emily R.
Emily R.
Published November 17, 2023

Challenge: Pocket Gems sought a new chat solution to integrate with its mobile storytelling game, Episode. However, it posed a challenge to seamlessly transition millions of players to a more reliable, scalable, and supportive chat provider.

Strategy: After carefully evaluating alternative chat providers, Pocket Gems chose to migrate from its existing solution to Stream's iOS, Android, and backend Python chat SDKs.

Result: The migration to Stream Chat went off without a hitch, required only a small team of developers to integrate, and resulted in a seamless transition for Episode players without any downtime.

About Pocket Gems

Pocket Gems is a mobile gaming platform whose products have been downloaded over 325 million times by players around the world.

Associate Product Manager Megan Roche managed the team that integrated the Stream Chat SDK for Episode, Pocket Gems's mobile storytelling network, and Ashik Manandhar, Director of Engineering, worked on Episode during the migration and integration of Stream.

Roche explains, "Episode is an interactive storytelling platform, and we use chat for our book club feature. Our main goal is to mirror real-life book clubs. We want to create a space for players to connect, communicate, and earn rewards for the stories they're reading together."

Episode's Chat Use Case

In search of a chat provider to better serve player needs, Pocket Gems evaluated alternative solutions and found Stream Chat. "Our social ecosystem revolves around our book club feature. Episode players can create or join a book club and chat with members of their book club, customize their book club to their liking, and then read stories together to earn rewards with their club," says Roche.

The community-building features of Stream Chat clearly fit the Pocket Gems use case. Roche says, "The book club chat in Episode is a great way to hang out with people and build an online social community."

Engaging catalog of features aside, the Pocket Gems team was impressed by the continuity in service Stream's Chat API and SDKs could guarantee.

Roche adds, "Our main priority here was to provide a seamless experience for our players. Chat is critical to the Episode experience, and any friction there would drive players away. Working with Stream made that really smooth player experience possible."

Evaluating the Stream Chat SDKs

The Pocket Gems engineers thoroughly evaluated Stream's flexible chat components and the potential partnership fit of working with the Stream team.

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Manandhar recalls, "When we first started, we looked at Stream's Chat SDKs and APIs to understand the scope of work. We saw that the APIs were very easy to use, and the chat documentation was very thorough. From there, something that Stream offered, and we were very happy to take them up on, was a design review of our code and UI, which we did for our iOS and Android experiences."

Convinced the product would improve the current chat UX of Episode, Manandhar moved confidently to the next step of the integration process. He says, "We currently use three Stream SDKs. Our application, Episode, is available on iOS and Android. So, we have Stream integrated into those and use Stream's Python SDK on our backend. It's been a wonderful experience."

Not to forget the importance of a seamless transition for the design of the user interface, Manandhar says, "We are using the SwiftUI and Jetpack Compose UI Kits from Stream. It's wonderful to be able to drop in a fully realized component whenever we want to add functionality, like the emoji reactions. Stream makes it so simple to just turn a feature on or off. It makes it much easier to take advantage of new features as they come out." 

Migrating and Integrating a New Chat Solution

But finding and vetting a new chat solution was only half of the battle for Pocket Gems's Director of Engineering. Manandhar explains, "The area of this project that posed the biggest risk was migrating live users onto Stream. We were definitely nervous going into it. We have millions of players around the world."

Fortunately, Stream's proven Migration Project Plan was designed specifically with Pocket Gems's previous provider in mind.

Manandhar says, "When we started the migration, we started routing the data to Stream from our previous chat provider. Stream's migration process made it really easy for us to do that. The entire migration went off without a hitch. It was phenomenal."

Pocket Gems allocated a team of five developers to the project to account for the different SDKs and ensure a timely transition. Roche adds, "We completed the Stream Chat migration and integration without downtime or player-facing impact. The transition was invisible; it was there, and it worked right away."

Partnering With the Stream Team 

The due diligence of Pocket Gems's developers contributed to the speedy integration, as did the exceptional customer support from the Stream team.

Roche recalls, "One thing that really stood out to me was our shared Slack channel with your team. It always felt like a really easy way to get answers, and made my job of coordinating some pieces a lot easier. Whenever we had an integration question, they knew who else to pull from their team to support us. And whenever we provided feedback there, it was addressed super quickly. Engineers would chime in, too, and I thought that was really cool."

Manandhar adds, "We've been really pleased with customer service. They helped us ensure we were using the SDKs and APIs correctly, which was really helpful. I think one of the best things about Stream has been working with the various team members. They've always been really responsive and happy to answer questions at any time, aside from our monthly and quarterly check-ins. Whenever we need help, we can count on the team to jump in, which has been really great."

The Impact of Stream Chat on Episode

Roche describes the positive impact of Stream Chat on Pocket Gems by saying, "Stream Chat has become instrumental and the backbone of our social features on Episode."

Manandhar adds, "I'd also like to recognize Stream for how efficiently and stress-free they've handled live operations. With any kind of third-party integration, there's always a fear that something will break on their end, and it's a black box you won't have visibility into. Stream quickly dispelled that fear. We never have to worry about it."

Roche concludes the interview by saying, "I definitely recommend Stream. What was originally a very daunting migration project for us ended up being quite smooth. I think working with the right partner (Stream) here was a clear win for us and turned something that could've been a long and painful process into a manageable one that we are happy with."

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