Unity releases new game tools for matchmaking and server stability

Unity's new tools aim to make multiplayer game development easier on developers with a boost to server infrastructure and a report detailing what players are interested in.

Engine maker Unity has released a new set of tools for multiplayer game developers. Through its Game Server Hosting and Matchmaker services, the company aims to make it easier for developers to scale their games as they grow in popularity. 

Multiplayer games live and die based on their servers, particularly on launch day or during in-game events. For instance, last year saw Square Enix put Final Fantasy XIV sales on hold because the game was getting so popular that it had to add more server space. 

Unity's senior VP of engineering Jeff Collins told the Washington Post that Unity's shift to multiplayer has been due to the growing popularity of games like Apex Legends and Valorant. Neither title uses the Unity engine, but they (and other games) use Unity's multiplayer services to support their respective player bases. 

Previously, Game Server Hosting and Matchmaker were in closed beta for specific studios, but are now open to everyone as of today.

"We're equipping developers and studios of all sizes with the best service offerings to deliver stable, scalable, and customizable experiences to connect players across any type of multiplayer game," explained Collins. 

Unity also wants to study multiplayer games and their players

In addition to the new multiplayer services, Unity released a report on multiplayer games conducted during Q3 2021 and Q3 2022. Speaking to 1,500 players across the US, Japan, South Korea, and and UK, the findings are being shared with the hope that developers can figure out what appeals to their players the most. 

"If I’m a game developer, one of the hardest decisions to make is, ‘Are you going to invest in a certain kind of play mechanic in your game’ because that’s going to say everything about whether your game is successful or not," said Collins. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, players are have an equal interest in battle royale games and first-person shooters, as both had 32 percent of players' interest. Sports came in at second (24 percent), and at the very bottom was turn-based games (5 percent). 

With that information on hand, it appears Unity wants to figure out where its new tools can get the most use.  

Both the report and server focus speak to behind Unity's recent claims of returning focus to games. Last week, we spoke to Unity execs Marc Whitten and Ralph Hauwert. Both men admitted the company's headlines over the summer have understandably had some wondering if gaming was being left behind. 

"We weren't being clear enough with where we were going with gaming," said Whitten. After adding that Unity leadership has heard the developer feedback, he stressed that "gaming is at the center of what [we] do."

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