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INTERNET | Internet Software & Services / Gaming
playfab.com

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Founded Year

2014

Stage

Acquired | Acquired

Total Raised

$13.05M

About PlayFab

PlayFab provides a comprehensive back-end service for building and managing online games. It offers a wide range of licensing plans to meet the diverse needs of its customers, ranging from free offerings for indie developers to enterprise-level plans for major publishers.

PlayFab Headquarter Location

217 Pine Street Suite 1000

Seattle, Washington, 98101,

United States

206-673-3082

Latest PlayFab News

Game Changer: Microsoft PlayFab Levels-Up For Developers

Feb 2, 2021

Microsoft PlayFab Let’s be honest, most console and PC gamers just plug-in and go for it. After all, players are primarily focused on conquering a video game’s central storyline, side missions, sub-plot goals and (in the case of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla) a whole raft of so-called ‘world events’ and the need to gather treasure wealth and artifacts. If you’re deep in some frozen future wasteland in Gears, if you’re climbing a Norwegian fjord precipice in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, or if you’re simply racing the streets in Grand Theft Auto 5 or Forza Motorsport 7, there’s not a lot of time to sit and think about the cloud infrastructure, gamification controls and multiplayer interconnectivity mechanics going on the background that make your gaming experience as hypnotically mesmeric as it is. It’s called immersive gaming, for a reason They call it immersive gaming for a reason i.e. you’re not supposed to be thinking about the server-side backend cloud mechanics, you’re supposed to be in-the-game. But clearly, the scope and complexity of today’s games would not be possible without a serious chunk of backroom engineering. While some older games (from around the turn of the millennium) are still eminently playable offline once installed, the last 10-years has seen us move towards far more connected gaming experiences. Even when console games are capable of being played in disconnected format, they usually always benefit from occasional web connection(s) for updates, patching, bug fixes and enhancements. With over a billion gamers on the planet ( some say two-billion plus), it was perhaps no surprise to see Microsoft invest in backend gaming platform company PlayFab back in 2018 to bolster the breadth and capabilities of its Xbox platform and family in terms of how it works with the Microsoft Azure cloud. MORE FOR YOU What is PlayFab? Acquired by Microsoft in January 2018, PlayFab is a backend platform and software tools provider of services to build, launch and grow cloud-connected games. With tooling suited to smartphones, PC and consoles, software application games developers are able to use PlayFab to offload all the tough backend engineering tasks needed to ensure that games can be hosted and connected for software updates, multiplayer functionality including MMORPG gaming , intra-game communication and other additional services. PlayFab also allows games developers to offload the monetization elements of modern games, many of which will offer payable user options to augment or support gameplay, enhance in-game mechanics, provide ‘downloadable content’ (DLC) packs with additional missions, goals or locations and so on. As regular gamers will know, Microsoft (like Sony with its PlayStation) also awards players with a gamified achievement credit system for being in-game, passing game milestones and making purchases, it’s called Microsoft Rewards — and these are ‘systems administrative operations’ type IT functions that will not come necessarily come naturally to a creative games developer. Three-years in, time to level up Why the focus on cloud-level games programming mechanics right now? There are two main reasons (and more if you need them, to be honest) to highlight: a) we have just marked three-years since Microsoft acquired PlayFab and its games services are supporting in excess of 129,000 requests per second (RPS) in December 2020 - at the time of Microsoft’s purchase, that figure was just scraping past 10,000… and b) the global pandemic has (as we all know) forced people to stay at home on lockdown, with much more time to engage in gaming, which has proved to be an even more popular pursuit for new and seasoned gamers alike. General manager of gaming cloud and founder of PlayFab at Microsoft is James Gwertzman. Reminding us that the total community here is not just made up of hard-core video games engines developers, graphics rendering specialists and storyline creatives, Gwertzman says he wants to recognize the collective work of the whole gaming community from developers to studio professionals, from engineers to tinkerers… while also embracing players and friends. “Since PlayFab joined Microsoft, the number of individual titles using Azure PlayFab has skyrocketed by almost x9. What is more, monthly active users playing games that leverage Azure PlayFab services have grown by almost nine times as well! [As already noted] PlayFab’s scalable services supported more than 129,000 requests per second (RPS) in December 2020. Combined, this shows us that the games that leverage Azure PlayFab are adding more players and supporting more engagements than ever,” said Gwertzman, in a Microsoft blog. The team’s biggest games partnerships have included Minecraft and Roblox, which have some of the largest and most connected communities in gaming today, plus Spongebob: Krusty Cook-Off, which was recently named the Google Play Users’ Choice Game of 2020. Minecraft utilizes Azure PlayFab to bolster its in-game marketplace and scale its user experiences. Roblox utilizes Azure PlayFab to deliver Analytics-as-a-Service (AaaS) to top developers on the Roblox platform. It’s all about giving developers the power to put new features in games that can be rolled out ‘at scale’ to a potentially massive user base. A level playing field (for all developers) “We built PlayFab initially because we recognized that many studios were all facing similar challenges as business models and customer expectations shifted towards live games, where dynamic content and community support are the norm. Building great multi-platform game services, robust data pipelines and analytics (as well as LiveOps content management) is a hard and time-consuming problem… and that's time spent before focusing on the challenges that make each game unique and compelling. We wanted to level the playing field for any developer,” said Gwertzman. By use of the (above) term LiveOps, Gwertzman is talking about delivering software games operations management — which are all the systems administration, database management, penetration and stress testing, identity/security management and other Ops-operations functions needed for any professional software environment to run on, be it games or enterprise software — and all of that delivered Live i.e. in a real-time always-on service. Some of the most popular multiplayer games on the planet rely on the global reach, dependability and usability of Azure PlayFab for their LiveOps. This includes titles such as Doom Eternal, Rainbow Six Siege, Sea of Thieves, Dirt 5 and No Man’s Sky. Gwertzman explains that the sophisticated multiplayer service games like these require is what has pushed Azure PlayFab to keep building muscle-power, like the ability to process more than 10 billion Application Programming Interface (API) calls securely. “Supporting LiveOps services and multiplayer environments across platforms, including Xbox, PlayStation, Stadia, PC and mobile, means Azure PlayFab today supports gaming wherever and however developers want to reach players. We’re offering developers more options and fresh opportunity to partner with us. Last year we introduced a pay-as-you-go pricing model and significantly reduced the cost for Party services. [We are also now] making our Party plugin for Unity available for developers creating games for Nintendo Switch, Sony PlayStation 4 and 5, Android and iOS, in addition to the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows PC platforms we already support,” concluded Gwertzman. Gamifiying games development The question arises, where can games development go next? Perhaps games development itself needs gamifying i.e. incentivizing games developers for excellence and achievement. Yes, that has happened and is continuing to happen; as this Microsoft division enters its fourth year of operations under its parent brand (that the firms still call a ‘partnership’, which is sporting if nothing else), it is launching its PlayFab Anniversary Awards to honor ‘indie studio’ independent games developers. Does all that solid background make you stop and think more about the massively complex, broad and interconnected software engineering layer that’s going on under your gaming? Hang on a minute, I’ll just finish this level, then I’ll let you know. The software mechanics behind Microsoft Xbox games is more complex than most gamers stop and ... [+] consider. Microsoft

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Expert Collections containing PlayFab

Expert Collections are analyst-curated lists that highlight the companies you need to know in the most important technology spaces.

PlayFab is included in 4 Expert Collections, including Smart Money VCs (2017-2019).

S

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C

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G

Gaming

4,516 items

Gaming companies are defined as those developing technologies for the PC, console, mobile, and/or AR/VR video gaming market.

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