Microsoft Azure PlayFab is a complete backend platform for live games supporting a large range of features for modern game development. This post will provide an overview of the features of PlayFab and is provided here to raise awareness of an excellent platform.
As the saying goes, why re-invent the wheel?
PlayFab is an important component of the Microsoft Game Stack. Check-out the link, it contains guides and example solutions for a wide range of game related requirements ranging from designing, building to testing as well as information on publishing and monetizing games.
Many of the features in the Game Stack are not specifically for game studios and indie game developers, but PlayFab is targeted for game development.
So, let's take a look at some of the features.
PlayFab offers a suite of services for game development including player
inventory, commerce, and more. Taking a look at the menu gives a good high level overview of the different features:
PlayFab supports authorization including the ability to link accounts from a variety of identity providers including Facebook, Google, Steam, Android, and other OAuth providers.
Built into the platform is the ability to share data across devices, games and even other players. Player stats are collected and available for both leaderboards and matchmaking. PlayFab also provides commerce features including providing promotions that target an individual or group depending on specific criteria.
Real-time analytics, A/B testing, in-game promotions help to improve and take advantage of opportunities without requiring a game to be redeployed. Being able to host game configuration and content remotely is a great benefit to both the management of games as well as the user experience. This can include a range of content from title news to CDN hosted game files.
Dashboards, custom reporting, and integration are supported to help measure the success of games over time. The reporting in PlayFab is really impressive. From high level summaries of activity like the following:
And including the ability to dive into individual API calls to get specific details:
Microsoft documentation for PlayFab has an impressive collection of quick start guides, specific feature guides as well as links to SDKs.
PlayFab pricing centers around the total number of unique players per month (MAU). This is per game title and not per device so the same player playing the same game on different devices counts as one player where the same player on the same device playing two different game titles counts as two.
The plans are broken down into Indie, Professional, and Enterprise. It is good to note that the first 1,000 MAU is free.
The pricing does vary and there is a free Essentials plan offered so it is best to view the pricing page for the latest information.
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