What is PlayFab?

What is PlayFab?
What is PlayFab

Microsoft Azure PlayFab is an ideal server-side platform that many gaming developers use or think of utilizing.

However, if you have also heard about the magical and cost-efficient backend development features of PlayFab but are not aware of all of its aspects in depth. Then you should consider this complete guide about PlayFab, where we are unlocking all of its secrets.

Indeed, this guide presents all of the core features, pricing advantages and alternatives of PlayFab in detail. Moreover, this article will also share the pricing model of PlayFab with developers and gaming businesses.

Overview of the Game Industry

The game industry has expanded with rapid growth in the past few years, and this ratio will also grow in upcoming years.

Yes, a report by Accenture claims that the gaming industry has crossed 300 billion USD in terms of value by 2021. This survey, ‘Gaming: The New Superplatform’, also shares that game lovers consume 16 hours weekly for playing games, 6 hours/week for interacting with gaming communities and 8 hours/week for online game streams.

Similarly, Statista’s survey report shows that US-based gamers spent 51.69 billion USD on video gaming content in 2021. This consumption was only 17.5 billion USD in 2010. Undoubtedly, these statistics demonstrate how the gaming industry is growing.

However, with this expansion of the gaming industry, the demand for game programmers, game development platforms and supporting toolsets has also increased.

In this regard, another report by Research And Markets discloses that the market size of the global game development software market will hit 1,863 million USD by 2027. This value was only 1,152 million USD in 2022.

What is PlayFab?

PlayFab is a complete server-side platform to create, manage and run real-time games smartly. Microsoft launched this backend development solution in 2014, and it is also known with the name of Azure PlayFab.

Developers use this scalable and cost-effective solution to deal with LiveOps, multiplayer services, content management, automation, etc.

It is an ideal backend development for running and creating live games without any hassle. Furthermore, PlayFab has the ability to accommodate 2.5 billion player accounts for more than 5k games.

Luckily, game developers can also get the support of different engines, platforms and stores, including Steam, Facebook, Twitch, iOS, Xbox, Unity, PS4 and Nintendo with PlayFab.

Idle Miner Tycoon, Minecraft AdVenture Capitalist and Rainbow Six Siege are renowned games that are using PlayFab.

PlayFab Advantages

PlayFab offers numerous benefits to gaming development businesses and programming teams. But we are only sharing the core PlayFab advantages below:


PlayFab is a highly scalable backend development platform that provides complete support to game developers to build and operate all sizes of apps.

Its built-in properties for different engines, platforms and stores make it a very flexible solution.

By the same token, the robust backing of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure ensures the future and security of your gaming app. In addition, more than 50 global data centre locations of Azure make PlayFab a very extensible platform.

Fast Development

PlayFab is not only a cost-efficient solution in terms of the free plan or flexible pricing, but it also reduces the cost with rapid development.

Yes, it speeds up the development process with tested LiveOps functions. Its smooth graphic UI and Game Manager dashboard enable the development teams to rapidly configure, create, and administer live games.

Permissions, roles and regular updates also play a crucial role in innovative fast development. Mainly, new updates always bring exciting and easy-to-use features for coders.

Performance Reports

Timely provision of performance and engagement reports is another appealing advantage of using PlayFab.

Development teams can’t only approach the analytics reports with the latest data but also get the intuitive data visualization of in-app events. Game Manager permits the teams to access JSON data as well.


Azure PlayFab complies with most of the government regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Hereof, this platform enables the players to the trash and view their data under GDPR law.

PlayFab Features

This guide divides the PlayFab features into 3 following categories:

Multiplayer Services

Multiplayer services work on an agenda to bring the game players close with the following features:

Multiplayer Servers — PlayFab grants highly scalable and dedicated servers to programmers to flexibly run real-time games. Developers can improve the uptime and save money with these extensible servers that are equally compatible for 100 to 10 million game players. Correspondingly, the cloud support of Microsoft PlayFab also brings the gamers of different regions together.

Chat & Party Networking — To engage potential audiences, this backend development platform facilitates the developers with the PlayFab Party tool. This feature enables all sizes of gaming studios to authorize secure community discussions and chats. Fortunately, PlayFab Party is free for the Xbox network.

Matchmaking & Groups — Matchmaking is another ideal feature of multiplayer servers. Players can conveniently find and connect with like-minded application users with this tool. In addition, this feature also permits the players to explore opponents by utilizing tools like SmartMatch of Xbox Live.

Leaderboards & Statistics — Accurate statistics and appropriate scheduling aid the development teams in conducting gaming contests. Companies can’t only reset these schedules but can also avoid the deceptive actions of players.


The primary purpose of LiveOps is to make all of these modifications in gaming apps that retain the players. Here are its dominating properties:

Content Management — It is swift to conduct game configuration, host, send and upload game data through Game Manager. This attribute also deals with catalog items and asset updates.

Experiments — PlayFab Experiments authorizes the programming teams to conduct different comparisons and tests. These comparisons could be about various versions, pricing models and configurations. Player buckets and segment tests are also useful in this regard.

Automation — Azure PlayFab is eminent among developers and the gaming industry because of its quality real-time automation. It comes with CloudScript, which polishes up the logic processing. Uniformly, you can pre-define various tasks under the Task Scheduling feature of PlayFab.

Economy — Game players love to spend money to enhance their gaming experiences. It secures all payment processes, backs the exchange of digital currencies and safeguards the players from scams.

Data & Analytics

Data & Analytics is another crucial segment of PlayFab that deals with the storage, handles users’ data and betters engagements through analytics. We are presenting the core functions of Data & Analytics below:

Data Management — Undoubtedly, PlayFab comes with the backing of Microsoft storage services. Hereof, all gaming data could be gathered in an S3 data warehouse or Blob Storage.

Realtime Analytics — This property is all about how your gaming application performs. Microsoft PlayFab confers PlayStream and Real-Time Segmentation here to contain players into different categories and get live data reports.

Azure Data Explorer — Microsoft PlayFab is also packed with the attractive analytics service Azure Data Explorer which was launched in 2018. This advanced cloud platform provides fully managed big data to development teams. With the help of this data, developers can approach all relevant queries instantly.

PlayFab Pricing

PlayFab offers these 4 pricing models to its users:

Free to Start — PlayFab is an ideal backend development platform for developers who want to start their journey without investing anything. Is PlayFab free to start? This plan of PlayFab is entirely free for up to 100k users and 10 titles. It also gives 10k PlayFab Party minutes, and 750 compute hours.

Pay-As-You-Go — Developers only have to pay for used resources with this plan. It is not bound to any monthly limit or service usage.

Standard Plan — This plan starts from $99/month with unlimited accounts and live titles. However, you will have to pay $400 for monthly meters.

Premium Plan — It is suitable for big projects and monthly costs $1999. The worth of its monthly meters is $8000.

PlayFab Alternatives

Although it seems that PlayFab meets all needs of backend gaming developers but if you are still not satisfied with this solution, then have a look at its alternatives:


Back4App is one of the most trusted PlayFab alternatives that provides low-code backends to create, run and operate gaming applications successfully.

This open-source and extensive backend development platform comes with a spreadsheet-like interface and advanced SDKs.

Indeed, it is very simple to build server sides of gaming applications on this platform. Two4Tea is also using Back4App for its Fight List game. This game has more than 55 million international players, and Back4App is efficiently providing the best BaaS solutions to it.


Firebase is another PlayFab alternative that was made public in 2011. This is a robust platform for building, launching and operating mobile and web applications, including gaming ones. It is supersmooth to benefit from backend solutions of Firebase for iOS, Android, C++ and Unity games.

AWS Amplify

AWS Amplify is also a credible alternative to PlayFab. It doesn’t only help developers to build backends of gaming apps but also assists in client-side development. It is convenient to use AWS Amplify Studio, DataStore and many other features to deal with gaming apps.


This article displays everything about Microsoft Azure PlayFab. Businesses and development communities can also read all of its necessary features and details about pricing models from this guide. By the way, we also included a few PlayFab alternatives for better understanding.


What is PlayFab?

PlayFab is a complete server-side platform to create, manage and run real-time games smartly

What are the features of PlayFab?

– Multiplayer
– LiveOps
– Data & Analytics

What are best alternatives to PlayFab?

– Back4App
– Firebase
– AWS Amplify

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