Epic Games is at it again and by saying this, I mean they are doing some more good for the gaming community. Recently, we’ve seen the Epic Games Store promising a free game every two weeks throughout 2019. The Unreal Engine is also out there and it is widely used by developers to create great experiences. Epic isn’t done yet as they now plan to make their cross-platform services free to all developers, on all engines.
Let’s get one thing straight, this is an amazing move by Epic Games that will give all developers the ability to incorporate cross-platform play into their games. Even the smallest indie team will be able to have cross-platform services next year and it is a big push for the feature of gaming.
Epic Games’ cross-platform services were originally developed for Fortnite and we all know how that turned out. These services are so solid and take a lot of time and money to develop. However, Epic will be giving them away for free, as they announced in a recent post, explaining that:
Successfully launching and operating a live, online game requires a suite of services that go far beyond the functionality of a traditional game engine. These services are expensive to build, test and harden in real-world conditions, but once operational, are relatively inexpensive to scale to more games and more users.
At Epic, our goal is to help game developers succeed. Throughout 2019, we’ll be launching a large set of cross-platform game services originally built for Fortnite, and battle-tested with 200,000,000 players across 7 platforms. These services will be free for all developers, and will be open to all engines, all platforms, and all stores. As a developer, you’re free to choose mix-and-match solutions from Epic and others as you wish.
All services will be operated in a privacy-friendly, GDPR-compliant manner.
Epic will begin with the launch of a C SDK encapsulating their cross-platform services with integrations for Unity and Unreal Engine. The developer plans to release the core set of features below first and expand over time and notes that the services described below are just the start of things to come.
- Cross-Platform Login, Friends, Presence, Profile, and Entitlements (coming Q2-Q3 2019 to PC, other platforms throughout 2019): Provides the core functionality for persistently recognizing players across multiple sessions and devices; identifying friends; and managing free and paid item entitlements. This will support all 7 major platforms (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch) to the full extent each platform allows per-title.
- PC/Mac Overlay API (coming Q3 2019): Provides a user interface for login, friends, and other features in a game-agnostic, engine-agnostic way.
- Cross-Platform Voice Comms (coming Q3 2019 to all platforms): Epic is building a new in-game voice communications service supporting all platforms, all stores, and all engines, which will be available for free. (For developers needing an immediately-available voice solution, check out Discord, Vivox, TeamSpeak, Ventrilo, and Mumble.)
- Cross-Platform Parties and Matchmaking (coming Q3-4 2019 to all platforms)
- Cross-Platform Data Storage, Cloud-Saved Games (coming Q2 2019)
- Cross-Platform Achievements and Trophies (coming Q3 2019)
This sounds absolutely incredible. It is so great to see Epic not limit it to games created with their Unreal Engine or to games available on their store.
What do you think about Epic planning to release their cross-platform services for free? Let us know in the comment section below.