AppStreamer: Reducing Storage Requirements of Mobile Games through Predictive Streaming

Storage has become a constrained resource on smartphones. Gaming is a popular activity on mobile devices and the explosive growth in the number of games coupled with their growing size contributes to the storage crunch. Even where storage is plentiful, it takes a long time to download and install a heavy app before it can be launched. This paper presents AppStreamer, a novel technique for reducing the storage requirements or startup delay of mobile games, and heavy mobile apps in general. AppStreamer is based on the intuition that most apps do not need the entirety of its files (images, audio and video clips, etc.) at any one time. AppStreamer can, therefore, keep only a small part of the files on the device, akin to a "cache", and download the remainder from a cloud storage server or a nearby edge server when it predicts that the app will need them in the near future. AppStreamer continuously predicts file blocks for the near future as the user uses the app, and fetches them from the storage server before the user sees a stall due to missing resources. We implement AppStreamer at the Android file system layer. This ensures that the apps require no source code or modification, and the approach generalizes across apps. We evaluate AppStreamer using two popular games: Dead Effect 2, a 3D first-person shooter, and Fire Emblem Heroes, a 2D turn-based strategy role-playing game. Through a user study, 75 find that AppStreamer provides the same quality of user experience as the baseline where all files are stored on the device. AppStreamer cuts down the storage requirement by 87


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