The video games industry is evolving rapidly and consequentially. It is no longer sufficient to use a free or paid backend technology to power games/franchises. Our objective is to make owning backend technology affordable and attainable for game developers/publishers. We have 2 different types of offering: (1) Own your backend through licensing our tech, and (2) Lease-to-Own via our cloud offering.
Why Owning Backend is Important
We are seeing trends that the industry is moving towards game-as-a-service and cross-platform play. Online backend platform plays a critical role in the cross-platform game-as-a-service era. Furthermore, game developers/publishers have aspirations to develop multiple games. In this era, it is critical to have full control over the backend platform, and our mission is to make it attainable and affordable for our clients.
Here is what owning a backend platform means for game developers/publishers.
- Well designed platform allows cross-platform play and progression with minimum effort.
- Your own backend can be used for multiple games, thus allow cross-games promotions and experiences for multi-titles studios.
- Owning backend gives flexibility to distribute games anywhere (any stores/platforms).
- Owning backend gives full control to customize features and toolset, which will make it easier to operate game-as-a-live-service.
- Owning game and players data enables game team to continue to improve players' experience, and making creative things like this possible.
- Pushing game logic to backend allows faster game client release cycle.
Big game developers/publishers like EA, Ubisoft, Take2 and Epic Games realized the importance of owning an online backend platform, and have made a large sustained investment over the years with a sizable team. Arguably they are well-positioned to capitalize on these trends.
Why Owning Backend is Hard
Firstly: It takes a sizable team and many months to develop, deploy and run game backend platform:
- The number of minimum viable feature set is not small: Authentication, catalog/virtual items/currencies/payment, social (friends/notification/messaging), profile/progression, matchmaking/stats/leaderboard, and so on so forth.
- Platform is a live service where new features are added and deployed weekly or even daily. Automated testing and deployment are important.
- The need to have a secure platform with minimum downtime means that a large amount of engineering effort should go into security, scaling and ensuring the platform’s uptime.
- Building elastic platform that scales up and down based on player traffic, especially handling sharp spikes is not trivial — a lot of planning and load testing is required.
- In addition to game and publishing requirements, there are legal, finance, and other requirements to take into account. There’s also constantly changing regulation (such as GDPR to take into account).
Secondly: Games as a service have a long tail (League of Legend first launched 10 years ago, and still going strong). After the first launch, it’ll take more effort to continue iterating and adding features/improvements, keeping the platform up through burst in players, and adopting new technology to improve the platform from scalability, high availability, operability, and lowering the infrastructure cost.
How We Make Owning Backend Attainable
We combined our decades of collective experience (and missteps) at big game developers/publishers with advancement in technology to create affordable backend platform offerings. We come up with 2 different offerings:
- Enterprise Licensing. Our clients find licensing our platform to be cheaper than building it themselves. Furthermore, they appreciate the almost immediate time-to-market, as well as the support, bug fixes, and even new features that come with our license maintenance contract.
- Cloud solution (aka. Lease to Own). We realize that not all game developers/publishers have the resources to license and operate the backend platform. Our cloud solution with a wide range of feature sets is tailored towards such developers/publishers. Furthermore, we have invested in a sizable team (100+ and growing) to support our clients. Our cloud offering is designed with low transparent upfront cost, full data ownership, and maximum flexibility in customization with our sizable engineering team to support customization where needed.
We will continue to make our offering to be more complete and affordable through technology improvements, partnerships, and economies of scale. As we have more clients, we can continue to not only add features but also negotiate to lower the cost of cloud infrastructure and pass the savings to our clients.
In parallel, we are also starting to build a partner network that can bring in additional feature set to complement what we already have. Please contact me if you are interested in partnering with us.