AWS for Games Blog

AWS announces General Availability of Amazon GameLift Feature Update

Today, we are excited to announce the general availability (GA) of an update to Amazon GameLift FlexMatch, enabling you as a game developer to use the fully managed multiplayer matchmaker with any game server solution of your choice. Amazon GameLift is an AWS managed service for deploying, operating, and scaling dedicated servers for multiplayer games. GameLift FlexMatch, originally launched in 2017 as a GameLift feature, uses a powerful matchmaking algorithm and flexible developer-defined rules to create high-quality matches at scale, without upfront development or maintenance costs. Now live in seven GameLift FlexMatch regions (Beijing to follow soon), this update unlocks the full FlexMatch feature set for developers who want to keep their game servers peer-to-peer, on-premises, or on cloud compute primitives.

When playing multiplayer games, players expect to enter sessions quickly and exit sessions with a sense of accomplishment. To achieve this sense of thrill for players, a good matchmaker must group together players based on complementary attributes such as skill level, playstyle, and latency. Until now, developers had a few options to solve this challenge. They could spend months hardcoding a rigid matchmaker that works for a single game, or spend years building a flexible matchmaker that works for all their games. Now, GameLift FlexMatch is available to developers regardless of where they host their game servers.

Let’s dig in.

Match up to 200 players per game with developer-defined rules, with the flexibility to use GameLift FlexMatch independent of your game server solution

Throughout 2020, we continued to hear from customers that they wanted the ability to use additional features independent of GameLift. Next in line was GameLift FlexMatch, which has formed matches for Metalhead Software, Yager, Illfonic, and many others. GameLift FlexMatch uses a powerful algorithm that automatically scales the matchmaking evaluation against a developer’s rulesets in response to rising and falling player match demand. Putting it all together, you get:

  • High-quality matches at AWS scale, using your own flexible rules. GameLift FlexMatch uses a powerful algorithm to form matches based on a wide range of rulesets that you define. You can also optimize match quality by easily updating your rulesets based on players’ feedback, so you can create matches that provide players with a fun, competitive experience.
  • No upfront or maintenance costs. Pay for what you use. No more spending precious development time building your own scalable rules-based matchmaker. GameLift FlexMatch is a fully managed matchmaker that uses your ruleset to form matches and scales to meet your player demand.
  • Flexibility to place your game sessions anywhere you want. GameLift FlexMatch now works independent of any other GameLift feature, which means you can place the formed matches onto any game server solution you choose, including on-premises.

“Customers continue to tell us that creating a flexible, scalable matchmaking solution is a resource-demanding endeavor and takes focus away from creating fun games,” said Vatsal Bhardwaj, General Manager of AWS Game Tech services. “GameLift FlexMatch is already loved by customers for delivering high-quality matches while using flexible rules, which creates reliable player experiences. With this update, we’re excited to extend this capability to game developers who want to use Gamelift FlexMatch with their existing game server solution.”

The GameLift FlexMatch update is available in seven AWS Regions, including Dublin, Frankfurt, North Virginia, Seoul, Tokyo, Oregon, and Sydney. Availability in Beijing (operated by Sinnet) will soon follow.

How Metalhead Software, Yager, Illfonic, and others currently use GameLift FlexMatch

Some of the world’s most successful game companies already trust GameLift for their games, including Metalhead Software (Super Mega Baseball 3), Yager (The Cycle), and Illfonic (Predator: Hunting Grounds). These are just a few of the GameLift FlexMatch customers today, and we’re excited to share more customer stories in 2021.

“We use Amazon GameLift to power our dedicated global game servers and matchmaking systems for online play,” said Christian Zuger, Co-Founder of Metalhead Software. “Fast reaction speeds and real-time gameplay are integral to making players really feel like they are on the field. Using Amazon GameLift FlexMatch we can ensure that latency is always below 120 ms, and players are matched to the closest possible data center to achieve average rates of only 40 ms.”

Joakim Ohlander, Technical Director at Yager, stated, “As an independent studio, Yager strives to enable its teams to work as efficiently as possible while delivering the most immersive player experiences. Using Amazon GameLift FlexMatch as a matchmaker for The Cycle, we can easily group players into the most optimal sessions using unique rules for attributes including skill, level, and latency, without having to worry about underlying management.” Ohlander continued, “AWS has been immensely successful for us. By combining GameLift FlexMatch with our own game server system built on AWS primitives including Amazon EC2, our modestly sized team can compete with much larger studios. We’re no longer limited by resource or costs to scale our infrastructure and deliver an intense server rate of 50 frames per second to players anywhere in the world.”

Getting started with the updated GameLift FlexMatch in GA

Though this is one of the final release updates requested by customers in 2020, there are more on the horizon coming in 2021. So, stay tuned! In the meantime, we would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this update and what features you would like to see in the future. Connect with the GameLift team on the forums or through the AWS Game Tech social media channels.

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