Microsoft Azure PlayFabSource: Microsoft

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has unveiled new pay-as-you-go pricing for Azure PlayFab, cloud-based development tools for game services.
  • The new no-commitment plan aims to provide more accessible entry point without fixed monthly fees, opening its tools to smaller developers.

Microsoft has unveiled a new pricing shakeup for Azure PlayFab, its cloud platform powering multiplayer tools, analytics, and other backend fundamentals for game developers. The change follows a series of pricing shakeups for the service in 2020, with a new no-strings-attached plan designed to further reinforce accessibility for smaller teams.

The new "pay-as-you-go" plan looks to reduce friction for new PlayFab users, scrubbing the minimum monthly fees required for its alternative paid plans. It follows the company unveiling a new pricing model back in April, switching from monthly active users-based billing to a new usage-based approach.

Usage-based pricing arrives this November following a six-month transition window, with its new pay-as-you-go plan providing added flexibility around growing titles. The move could prove popular among smaller teams or students, providing a more affordable avenue when just getting started. The team also cut PlayFab Party costs earlier this month, its platform for in-game communications like voice chat, reducing the barrier to entry by up to 90 percent.

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Sea of Thieves Microsoft Azure PlayFabSource: Microsoft

The PlayFab suite remains free for titles with up to 100,000 users while still in development, with pay-as-you-go pricing applied to developers who surpass that player threshold. It also provides seamless upgrades to Standard and Premium plans, designed to provide savings compared to its à la carte services, in exchange for a monthly commitment.

PlayFab continues to quietly scale under Microsoft Azure, following its acquisition of the platform back in 2018. The move led to the creation of a new Gaming Cloud division headed by Kareem Choudhry, a Microsoft veteran with a rich history in DirectX and Xbox, aiming to further push Azure in the space. The team continues to scale its cloud-backed gaming technologies, supporting titles from Xbox Game Studios, Ubisoft, and more.