Microsoft Azure 'PlayFab' multiplayer servers expand to more regions, AMD support in tow

Xcloud Server Blades
Xcloud Server Blades (Image credit: Microsoft)

Azure PlayFab is Microsoft's suite of tools for game developers and service-type titles, with a range of products that provide everything from analytics to server hosting. In a blog post today, Microsoft announced it's expanding Azure PlayFab operation to new regions. It's also introducing AMD virtual machines (VM) as a cheaper option for certain scenarios.

Microsoft has now expanded Azure PlayFab Multiplayer Server Hosting to Korea Central, India Central, UAE North, and U.S. West 2 in its Azure server farm, bringing the total number of supported regions to 22. Developers can leverage Azure PlayFab to build and host games across virtually any platform — from Xbox, to mobile devices, and even Google Stadia.

Previously, players situated in these regions would've had to connect to a server that was further afield, potentially impacting latency. As Microsoft continues to expand its data locality, it says gamers on titles that leverage PlayFab servers will experience latency well below 100 milliseconds, all the way down to 15 milliseconds in optimal conditions. Microsoft also touted its current PlayFab users, which include games like Sea of Thieves, Minecraft, No Man's Sky, Rainbow Six Siege, and DOOM Eternal.

Rainbow Six Siege Outbreak Operators

Source: Ubisoft Industry-leading tactical shooter Rainbow Six Siege uses Microsoft's Azure servers. (Image credit: Source: Ubisoft)

The new AMD VMs provide anywhere up to 40% performance gains, according to Microsoft, which may bring cost savings, too.

The Azure Virtual Machine Dav4 and Dasv4 series feature the AMD 2.35Ghz EPYCTM 7452 2nd Generation processor in a multi-threaded configuration with up to 256 MB L3 cache, and each 8 cores have 8 MB of dedicated L3 cache. The Dav4-series sizes offer a combination of vCPU, memory and temporary storage that is suitable for most gaming workloads. The Dasv4 Azure VMs expose up to 96 vCPUs, 384 GBs of RAM, and 768 GBs of SSD-based storage. Furthermore, the Azure Performance Improvement team has tuned Dasv4 VMs to be the most stable, delivering the best price/performance ratio of all Azure VM sizes with no code changes needed.

Microsoft is strongly recommending PlayFab customers migrate to the new server infrastructure to see these performance gains, although it'll ultimately be up to developers and publishers how they choose to handle it. Developers on Gears 5 at The Coalition lauded the new Dasv4 VMs, touting the improved cost-to-performance ratio over previous versions.

"Working with PlayFab and Azure, we were able to migrate from Dv2/Fsv2 to Dasv4 for our multiplayer servers with minimal engineering time.  The Dasv4 servers have more memory per core, better performance, and a lower price, allowing us to deliver a better experience to our players while lowering our costs."

For more details on Azure PlayFab, be sure to take a look at Microsoft's official PlayFab website.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!