Easy™ esports on steam

Epic also introduced a không tính phí voice chat system, gaining more ground on Valve"s Steamworks platsize.

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Baông xã in 2019, Epic Games announced its Online Services project, a plan khổng lồ make the cross-platkhung multiplayer systems it developed for Fortnite không tính phí for all developers, even if they released their games on Steam. Today, it launched two major additions to lớn that suite: voice chat và anti-cheat.

The anti-cheat system comes by way of Easy Anti-Cheat, which Epic acquired in 2018. Easy Anti-Cheat is already used by a number of major games, including Apex Legends, Dead by Daylight, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Rust, the just-released Chivalry 2, và, of course, Fortnite. Now it"s miễn phí.

The voice chat system, which Epic is just calling Voice, works cross-platform & is the same system used in Fortnite. "The connections made with EOS Voice establish only between authenticated users & go through Voice servers without exposing personal information about the users," writes Epic. "EOS handles all the scaling, quality of service, maintenance, multi-region, & other machinery of the voice servers."

Together, voice chat và anti-cheat systems "can cost millions of dollars" for popular online games, according to the company. So why offer them for free? Epic CEO Tyên Sweeney"s favorite word lately is "metaverse," và you"d better believe sầu it comes up here.

"Epic aims lớn empower more developers khổng lồ build cross-platkhung games, connect their player communities, grow the games industry, & realize the vision of the Metaverse, together," the company says.

"Metaverse" can refer lớn an MMO-lượt thích virtual space, lượt thích in the novel Ready Player One, but in this context Epic is talking about building an online gaming và entertainment ecosystem that knows no platkhung borders—not just crossplay, but cross-everything, where players, money, và game assets can move sầu freely across devices. A small, mundane example is the way I can access my Epic friends danh mục in Rocket League even though I still launch it from Steam.

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You have khổng lồ imagine that, if such a metaverse existed, the company running its backend would be in a pretty good place. The more games that tap inlớn Epic"s systems, the more gamers there"ll be with Epic Games Store accounts. There are over 500 million of those accounts right now, according to today"s announcement.

Sony, for one, thinks this is a pretty good plan: It has recently invested $450 million in Epic"s vision (which is a little ironic given how resistant Sony has been to lớn crossplay on the PlayStation).

It sounds a bit ominous when I frame it as a plot to lớn control all of gaming, & maybe it is ominous, but it"s also worth pointing out that Epic Online Services is basically the same thing as Steamworks, which Valve describes as "a mix of tools và services that help game developers và publishers build their games và get the most out of distributing on Steam." Valve"s anti-cheat system is called, well, Valve Anti-Cheat System (better known as VAC), và is miễn phí for developers. Valve sầu also offers friends lists, matchmaking, voice chat, & other systems. The main difference is that Epic Online Services can be used on any platkhung and aren"t tied khổng lồ one store.

For small developers, không tính tiền anti-cheat & voice chat seems lượt thích an obvious win. I don"t think we"re giving Epic too much benefit of the doubt by taking its word that these things are expensive sầu và difficult to lớn build and run. All major online games struggle lớn stop cheaters, & your average multiplayer indie game doesn"t ship with integrated voice chat. (That said, many smaller online games don"t really need voice chat, và plenty of gamers are content with Discord.)

You can find out more about Voice, Easy Anti-Cheat, and the other Epic Online Services on Epic"s developer site.


Tyler has spent over 1,200 hours playing Rocket League, và slightly fewer nitpicking the PC Gamer style guide. His primary news beat is game stores: Steam, Epic, và whatever launcher squeezes inkhổng lồ our taskbars next.