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Epic debuts free Online Services to help devs build cross-platform, cross-play games

Epic today launched its Online Services SDK, a free toolkit devs can use to create cross-platform multiplayer backend services like matchmaking & friends lists spanning consoles, PC & (soon) mobile.

Epic today formally launched its Epic Online Services SDK, a free toolkit (built on the back of Fortnite) developers can use to create cross-platform multiplayer game systems like matchmaking, lobbies, and friends lists that span consoles, PC, and (soon) mobile.

Notably, devs can selectively choose which backend services to use and what platforms and account services to support; the list includes major names like Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo as well as Facebook, Discord, and of course Epic accounts.

"What we get out of Epic Online Services is building up a persistent userbase that transcends platform boundaries, right," Epic chief Tim Sweeney recently told Gamasutra. "The bargain is we give every developer access to the full Fortnite player base and social connections, and that way when people who have played Fortnite come into their game they can immediately connect with all their friends. [And] not have to rebuild a friend system in every multiplayer game that launches."

Curious devs can find more details about the Epic Online Services toolkit and what it offers over on the Epic website. For more comments from Sweeney and others at Epic about this, check out their recent chat with Gamasutra about today's showcase of Unreal Engine 5 tech running on PlayStation 5.

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