Anki taps Acquia as DRIVE launch draws Apple-sized audience


Acquia helps ensure Anki’s best day was Anki’s best day

Standing out in the world of games requires a disruptive approach and radical change. Anki, with the launch of its
Anki DRIVE racing game, knew that it had brought racing to the next level, adding artificial intelligence and robotics so
that its racing cars wouldn’t just try to outrun you, they would try to outsmart you. Such a big change was bound to
draw a lot of attention and find a big audience—and would need a highly resilient website up to the challenge. The
company couldn’t have foreseen how much attention they were about to receive.

Anki learned that the launch of DRIVE would take place on the stage of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). To ensure their best day wouldn’t end up being their worst day, Anki turned to always-on Acquia Cloud to ensure that its website was resilient enough to support the enormous day-one demand that it was sure to experience when Apple CEO Tim Cook passed the microphone to Anki co-founder Boris Sofman.

Anki had been working toward its global launch for nearly six years with Anki DRIVE as its first product. Anki DRIVE takes the video game experience of racing cars and makes it physical, enabling the operation of intelligent, robotic toy cars from an iPhone or iPod touch. “What does it mean to say that we have robotics and AI?” asked Tom Eliaz, head of services, analytics, and infrastructure at Anki. “If you just see the box, you might not understand. The website is what can create the interest for DRIVE.”

The Challenge

As the launch of their product approached, Anki knew they had two major challenges. The first was a website that would withstand the huge influx of curious visitors arriving as a result of the Apple spotlight. As importantly, Anki realized that if the website couldn’t convey the great experience of racing the intelligent robotic cars, people would not opt to try or purchase Anki DRIVE.

The Solution

As Anki began to evaluate possible solutions, it was looking for a company that could serve as a partner with the platform, products, and the expertise to help ensure success. Anki turned to Acquia, with its reputation and track record of helping support brands like the GRAMMY Awards and the Emmys on their biggest days.

Anki leveraged Acquia’s cloud platform to elastically scale and support its debut on Apple’s stage. Anki also tapped into an array of developer and site performance tools to help deliver an engaging media-centric web experience that engaged with those who wanted to learn more.“We couldn’t have a hosting partner say there was a Drupal bug and have a development shop say that there was a scalability issue. We needed a partner that would own the piece they said they would own—and own it 100 percent,” said Eliaz. “Not only did Acquia deliver on that promise, but they went beyond the requirements.”

Drupal provided a content management system that allowed Anki to build and assemble a site very quickly. Acquia provided the launch, scalability, and agility for optimal performance. With a timeframe that was extremely tight, the team worked around the clock to design and launch the site in just under two months. Three days before WWDC, Anki was ready to tackle its big launch with the confidence that everything would run smoothly across their digital properties.

The results

As the Apple event unfolded, Anki’s site performed flawlessly as the company gave a demo of Anki DRIVE. (Watch the introduction at

“Acquia delivered on the promise,” Eliaz said. “The site’s resiliency has very little to do with software. It has everything to do with the partner owning their end of things 100 percent.” Since then, Anki has made appearances on Extra and Ellen and says that Acquia is a partner that will continue to help them grow as a company and connect more people with AI and robotics technology.

By leveraging Drupal and its ecosystem, Anki can now work toward site personalization and finding new ways to reach audiences that want to learn more. Not only does Anki appeal to the toy enthusiast, but also to people who enjoy cars and racing games, as well as kids, parents, and collectors.

“It started as a simple site that told you about Anki and Anki DRIVE, and now we have the ability to tell an engaging story through the website, video, and rich media interactions that are built right into Drupal,” Eliaz said. “Our application and website will be how we bring Anki and the robotics and artificial intelligence ecosystem to the next level. We couldn’t imagine doing it without Acquia.”

“Our application and website will be how we bring Anki and the robotics and artificial intelligence ecosystem to the next level. We couldn’t imagine doing it without Acquia.
Tom Eliaz
Head of Services, Analytics, and Infrastructure at Anki

Company Information

High Tech
ŽDrupal user since 2013
ŽAcquia client since 2013
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