Epic online services
Fortnite. © Epic Games.
To run an online game, you need a suite of services that goes beyond the functionality of a game engine like Unreal. Epic Games has developed and intensively field-tested such a suite of services with Fortnite, its worldwide hit that brings together more than 200 million players on 7 platforms. The company has announced that in 2019, it will make the various development tools of this suite available free of charge. This will start with a C SDK encapsulating online services, together with Unreal Engine and Unity integrations. This SDK will work with all gaming engines (not just Unreal Engine) and will support multiple login methods (Facebook, Google, Xbox Live, PSN, Nintendo and Epic accounts). It will offer basic multiplatform features (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox and Switch) to persistently recognize players across multiple sessions and devices, identify friends, and manage free and paid item entitlements. Subsequently, multiplatform voice communication functions, matchmaking and cross-platform games, cloud storage of game data, etc., will be available. It’s not clear why Epic has embarked on this adventure, but developers will quickly appreciate the value of these services.
⇨ Epic Games, “Epic 2019 Cross-Platform Online Services Roadmap.”
⇨ Ars Technica, “Epic opens Fortnite’s cross-platform services for free to other devs.”