Microsoft today launched a preview of PlayFab Multiplayer Servers, a new Azure-based repair giving game developers dynamic, on-demand scaling of multiplayer servers.
Microsoft get Seattle-based PlayFab earlier this year with a view to purchasing it to expand Azure’s reach in the gaming world. PlayFab is building all the cloud-based infrastructure needed for today’s games: matchmaking (manipulating the same algorithms as Xbox Live to try to group players of similar art together), leaderboards, server hosting, player identity/profile directing, commerce, and so on. Broadly speaking, the intent of PlayFab is to let games developers convergence on their games, taking care of the server-side work for them. PlayFab’s appointments are platform agnostic, and Microsoft has preserved this aspect: there are SDKs for Xbox, Windows, PlayStation, Direct, iOS, and Android.
At the time of the purchase, PlayFab ran atop Amazon’s AWS. Some ingredients still do, but others have moved to Microsoft’s own Azure. The Multiplayer Server visage, released in preview today, is one of the services on Azure. Microsoft has more Azure figures centers in more parts of the world than Amazon or Google, which in rebuff means that Azure servers should generally be closer to where the contestants are. This should ensure lower latency and a better gaming event for games on those servers.
The Multiplayer Server service addresses a common issue for trendy gaming: huge spikes in demand (for example, when a much-awaited engagement launches or when an indie game goes viral) that gravitate to be relatively short-lived and have a significant regional variation over the procedure of the day. Developers of AAA titles don’t want to size their server capacity so that it can direct these spikes (since over the longer term most of those servers want lie idle anyway), and indie devs with surprise hits on their influences likely don’t have the resources to speculatively offer lots of servers anyway.
With PlayFab, developers poverty only pay for the server resources actually in use, plus a little extra for some standby intelligence. For the rest of PlayFab’s services, a range of pricing options is available, covering a free tier for those just dipping their toes in the arrange.
Scalable servers on Azure are already being used by a number of AAA calls; Forza Horizon 4, Sea of Thieves, and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Siege are all hosted on Microsoft’s cloud.
PlayFab spares Microsoft’s new approach to Azure: it’s designed to meet developers where they are and to be compatible with the devices and platforms they want. Of course, Microsoft won’t complain if a developer yens to use Windows, Visual Studio, and so on and so forth—but the company will also be exuberant to host Linux applications developed on macOS if that’s what a consumer prefers.