Today during its "State of Unreal" keynote, Epic Games announced an new solution for developers looking to add online services to their games. The solution is called Epic Online Services, a single SDK and developer portal to help devs spin up robust online in their games.
The backbone of Epic Online Services was built for Fortnite, meaning it's been through the fire with nearly 250 million players. Developers who use Epic Online Services will gain access to game analytics and a ticketing system in the near term, with more features coming over the course of 2019. The service allows for cross-platform play as well.
"Building a game is only the beginning for developers. We know from experience that successfully managing and scaling your game requires a robust infrastructure, with numerous back-end services. With Fortnite we are now operating these services at an enormous scale, and we are glad to start opening them up to the game development community at large in order to make it easier for teams of all sizes to succeed," said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games.
Epic Online Services are free to developers. It looks like Epic Games is hoping that developers who use the service will eventually come to the Epic Games Store.
"There is no catch. We built these services for Fortnite and are now operating at enormous economies of scale. We also rely on these services for our store and engine, and we are happy to offer them to game developers for free with the goal of encouraging wider adoption of all of Epic’s offerings," says the Epic Online Services FAQ.
Epic Online Services include:
- Game analytics (available now): Store telemetry about your players and their gameplay to understand and boost retention and engagement. Epics dashboards help you make data-driven decisions in real time.
- Ticketing system (available now): Connect directly with players through integrated customer support tools that tie tickets to a players profile. Provide high-quality, personalized support by accessing player data from a single dashboard.
- Player data storage (targeting May 2019): Store and enumerate arbitrary game data on behalf of authorized players.
- Player reports (targeting May 2019): Allow players to report others for positive or negative in-game behavior. Gain valuable feedback directly from the community.
- Achievements, leaderboards & stats (targeting September 2019): Keep track of individual and global player statistics, award in-game achievements, and rank players on leaderboards.
- Communications (targeting October 2019): Enable in-game communication between players across any platform.
- Overlay (targeting October 2019): Provide a unified overlay for friends and other online services that are available to players across different games and engines.
- Parties (targeting October 2019): Enable players to form groups and play together.
- Matchmaking (targeting November 2019): Set up game matches for individual players or predetermined groups.
- Player identity (targeting December 2019): Enable players to log in and connect with others across different platforms.
- Player inventory (targeting December 2019): Manage player inventories, including purchases across different game stores.