Run multiplayer games in the cloud at scale with secure, resizable compute capacity, while leveraging the AWS global infrastructure to provide a low latency player experience globally.
A Guide to Amazon GameLift & Game Servers
In this eBook focusing on Amazon GameLift and game servers on AWS, you will find example reference architectures and use cases to learn how to 1: deliver a reliable, low latency player experience, 2: maintain high availability for your players while keeping costs low, and 3: scale to meet player demand across the globe.
Provide your players with a reliable multiplayer experience
Custom-built game server solutions
Explore solutions by use case
Organizations can configure and deploy session-based game server infrastructure that delivers globally distributed capacity.
Learn more about featured solutions
Fully managed game server hosting solution that deploys, operates, and scales cloud servers for multiplayer games.
This guidance helps users start multiplayer game development quickly by using serverless and fully managed AWS services to host game backends and servers.
This Guidance helps developers test, visualize, and optimize their multiplayer games using the Amazon GameLift Testing Toolkit. With the toolkit, developers can troubleshoot, debug, and tune their Amazon GameLift infrastructure.
The broadest and deepest compute platform with choice of processor, storage, networking, operating system, and purchase model to match your game server hosting needs.
Run your containerized game servers in the most secure, reliable and scalable environment. Select from the broadest choice of services to run your containers.
Use AWS-native observability solutions, or our services based on popular open source observability software, to monitor all aspects of your game servers.
Customer Success Stories
See what some of our game development friends and customers have to say about hosting game servers on AWS.
Ubisoft Prepares for Global Game Launch on AWS
Leveraging services including Amazon GameLift, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon ElastiCache, the Roller Champions development team at Ubisoft is shifting its focus away from ongoing operational management to what matters most: creating online features and gameplay for its players.
WB Games New York Builds Platform on AWS to Connect Millions of Players
Warner Bros. Games New York builds the centralized online platform used by all Warner Bros. Games studios to connect millions of players online using Amazon EC2 and Amazon GameLift.
Behaviour Interactive Introduces Cross-platform Play using AWS
Using Amazon GameLift was key to enabling cross-platform play in Dead by Daylight. Its dedicated servers ensure high availability and high performance with locations all over the world.
Riot Games Uses AWS to Improve Game Experience
Using AWS Outposts, Riot was able to rapidly deploy game servers and reduce latency by 10-20ms, minimizing peeker’s advantage and creating a level playing field for all players in Valorant.
Epic Games Uses AWS to Deliver Fortnite to 200 Million Players
Fortnite, one of the world’s most popular video games, runs nearly entirely on AWS, including its worldwide game-server fleet, backend services, databases, websites, and analytics pipeline and processing systems.
Select from a broad variety of compute options
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) offers the broadest and deepest compute platform, with over 500 instances and choice of the latest processor, storage and networking to match your specific game server hosting needs.
AWS Graviton processors are designed by AWS to deliver the best price performance for your cloud workloads running in Amazon EC2.
AMD on AWS
AWS and AMD collaborate to give customers more choice and value, most recently with third generation AMD EPYC in the Amazon EC2 M6a instances.
Intel on AWS
Intel® processors provide the foundation of many cloud computing services deployed on AWS. EC2 instances powered by Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors have the largest global reach and availability across AWS.
NVIDIA on AWS
Realize the potential of the cloud for game development with AWS and NVIDIA. Adapt your resources as your demands shift and build development pipelines from across the globe. Advance your business with virtual workstations on AWS powered by NVIDIA RTX technology and scale your creativity.
Building a multiplayer game introduces unique requirements. Find AWS documentation, sample solutions, reference architectures and more to help you build the best possible multiplayer experience for your players.
Reference Architecture: Multiplayer Session-based Game Hosting on AWS
Solution: Amazon GameLift and Serverless backend
Solution: Amazon GameLift FleetIQ and ECS
Amazon GameLift Unity Plugin
Solution: Fargate game servers
Solution: FleetIQ Adapter for Agones
Training: Amazon GameLift Primer
Training: Amazon GameLift FleetIQ
Training: Game Server Hosting on AWS
Training: Game Server Hosting on EC2
Amazon GameLift Documentation
Getting started with multiplayer game development
AWS offers fully managed options for hosting multiplayer games end to end from client session request to global game server hosting. You can select the components you need from a wide portfolio of services for full control on how you run your backend.
Select your game server hosting solution
The first step is to select a game server hosting solution. AWS offers fully managed global game server hosting with Amazon GameLift Hosting. This is a great choice for most game server hosting needs. If you need more control and access to the virtual machines, Amazon GameLift FleetIQ provides the essential APIs for game server hosting, while allowing you to fine tune the details.
If you're looking to host your game servers on Kubernetes, AWS offers Elastic Kubernetes Service, the most trusted way to start, run, and scale Kubernetes. Amazon Elastic Container service on the other hand is a fully managed AWS native container orchestration service for hosting your game servers.
On top of this, you can always host game servers directly on virtual machines on Amazon EC2, and leverage Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling to match the game servers with demand.
Select your hosting solution based on your team's skills, your capabilities to do operations, as well as your build and deployment workflow and any special requirements. Whatever your game server hosting requirements are, AWS has the services you need.
Design your matchmaking and session allocation
Most multiplayer games require a matchmaking solution. Amazon GameLift FlexMatch is a great choice for fully managed, fully configurable matchmaking. It integrates natively with Amazon GameLift Hosting, and with FlexMatch Standalone, you can integrate it to any game server hosting solution of your choice.
For some more simple session creation needs, such as creating private game sessions for a group of players, or randomly matching two players together, you can implement the logic directly to your game backend running on AWS.
And lastly, you can always integrate with any existing matchmaking solution, or build your own with the breadth of AWS services.
Select your backend services solution
A backend service is the entry point to your game on AWS. Your client typically connects with a REST API or WebSockets to your backend to manage things like identity and player data, and to request matchmaking.
If you're looking to minimize your operations and focus on the functionality, you can implement your backend with the serverless offering of AWS. You can use Amazon Cognito to manage your user identities, and to integrate with 3rd party identity providers. You can use Amazon API Gateway and the serverless compute platform AWS Lambda to implement serverless APIs, and you can leverage Amazon DynamoDB for a fast, flexible NoSQL database service for single-digit millisecond performance at any scale.
If you are already familiar with a containerized approach to building backend services, you can also leverage either Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service or Amazon Elastic Container Service to host your backend as containerized microservices.
Serverless on AWS
Microservices on AWS
Solution: Serverless with Amazon GameLift
Implement load testing and observability
When you’re running game servers to host session-based games for your players globally, it’s important to have as much visibility as possible on what’s happening within those game server processes. This includes collecting metrics and logs in realtime, and capabilities to get insights on this data to investigate issues and find opportunities for performance improvement.
AWS provides a whole portfolio of services for observability. you can leverate AWS native tools such as Amazon CloudWatch to collect detailed metrics and logs, and to generate dashboards for them. You can extend your monitoring capabilities with services such Amazon OpenSearch Service, Amazon Managed Service for Prometheus, and Amazon Managed Service for Grafana. You can also use the Amazon Athena CloudWatch Connector to query insights from your metrics with Amazon Athena, and then further visualize that data with Amazon QuickSight. And with a wide range of additional 3rd party solutions from AWS Partners, whatever your observability tooling of choice is, AWS has got you covered.
Blog post: Observability with Amazon GameLift and Amazon CloudWatch
As you've learned, AWS provides the flexibility to select the components that match your exact needs, starting from the session request and matchmaking, all the way to global scalable game server hosting. The choice is yours and depends a lot whether you're looking for a fully managed solution, or more control to fine tune the details.