Epic Games has announced the upcoming release of an array of cross-platform game services, originally created to support the development of their mega-hit Fortnite.
“These services will be free for all developers, and will be open to all engines, all platforms, and all stores”
Epic’s move to create and release the services independently of its game engine, Unreal Engine 4, reveals a push towards a more platform agnostic gaming environment. Where gamer purchasing decisions and development constraints would see a lesser impact on the gaming experience as a whole.
Epic’s Online Services
The service launch will begin with a C SDK encapsulating our online services, together with Unreal Engine and Unity integrations. We’ll start with a core set of features and expand over time. Specifically:
- 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)
The services are built to utilise the Amazon Web Services data centres found throughout the world, including Australia. Companies such as Ubisoft, Zynga, and SuperCell are already utilising Amazon’s GameLift as an answer to international game hosting,
A testament to the promise of these new tools, Fortnite runs on seven platforms, including; Facebook, Google, Xbox Live, PSN, and Nintendo accounts, each communicating with the others to create a fluid online experience.
Epic is determined to keep pioneering in the cross-play space, and will continue to work with platform holders to create a more open gaming landscape.