Billing for PlayFab Multiplayer Servers 2.0

Most PlayFab services, including PlayFab Multiplayer Matchmaking, are included with every paid PlayFab pricing mode, as part of our core offering. However, PlayFab Multiplayer Servers is billed on a consumption basis. This document describes that billing plan.

What comes with your basic PlayFab Core Services package?

When MPS is enabled, you can use Multiplayer Servers for free in a limited capacity to evaluate the building of multiplayer server games.

Service Included Free Region
Av2 VM Hours 100 Av2 Hours East US
Av2 VM Hours 100 Av2 Hours North Europe
Fv2 VM Hours 750 Fv2 Hours East US
Fv2 VM Hours 750 Fv2 Hours North Europe
Network Egress 10 GB Zone 1
Network Egress 10 GB Zone 2

The free evaluation mode also includes limit imposed on simultaneous cores activated in game servers. The paid modes, however, allow game developers to request additional server cores for their title.

The maximum server cores included in the free evaluation modes are:

Service Included Free Region
Maximum Av2 Cores 24 Av2 Cores East US
Maximum Av2 Cores 24 Av2 Cores North Europe
Maximum Dv2 Cores 24 Dv2 Cores East US
Maximum Dv2 Cores 24 Dv2 Cores North Europe
Maximum Fv2 Cores 24 Fv2 Cores East US
Maximum Fv2 Cores 24 Fv2 Cores North Europe

This is typically not enough to launch a live game, but it can help you evaluate the service and get started.

To learn more about these different virtual machine please see Azure VM Sizes.

Note

The amount of free evaluation capacity that is provided per month is based on your PlayFab billing mode.

Consumption pricing for PlayFab Multiplayer Servers

Games that require Multiplayer Servers must purchase additional capacity through PlayFab's consumption pricing plan. Below are the PlayFab resources that are used to bill for server utilization:

  • Virtual machine instance hours - The hours of virtual machine time that your game servers are utilizing. Different virtual machine and container selections are priced at different rates. See Multiplayer Servers detailed price sheet for more information.
  • Network egress - The volume of data transmitted by your game servers to the Internet (in gigabytes). Network egress is billed at different rates depending on the originating data center.
  • Storage - The storage used by PlayFab (in gigabytes) to host and replicate you game server assets and containers.

A typical monthly bill might be:

Line item Consumption Unit Rate Sub-total
Multiplayer Servers - D2v2 - US East 1000 VM Hours $0.252 $252.00
Multiplayer Servers - D2v2 - US South Central 1000 VM Hours $0.252 $252.00
Multiplayer Servers - D2v2 - US West 1000 VM Hours $0.252 $252.00
Multiplayer Servers - D2v2 - West Europe 1000 VM Hours $0.252 $252.00
Multiplayer Servers - D2v2 - Australia East 100 VM Hours $0.302 $30.20
Multiplayer Servers - D2v2 - East Asia 100 VM Hours $0.277 $27.70
Multiplayer Servers - Cloud Storage 10 GB $0.10 $1.00
Multiplayer - Data Egress - Zone 1 1000 GB $0.05 $50.00
Multiplayer - Data Egress - Zone 2 100 GB $0.08 $8.00
Total $1,124.90

Estimating cost with an example

The primary inputs into your multiplayer server deployment are:

  1. The amount of multiplayer activity (total user-minutes).
  2. The number of users playing in a single session.
  3. Compute, storage, and networking resources are required for a session.
  4. Overhead for stand-by sessions.

An example:

Input Definition
12 minutes Average multiplayer gameplay minutes per user per month
100,000 users Unique users per month
4 users Average users per session
  12 User Minutes          100,000 Users        1 Session                  Session Minutes
------------------    × -----------------  ×   ------------   =  300,000  -----------------  
     User⁄Month               Month             4 Users                        Month

At 100,000 users, each averaging 12 user minutes per month, this comes out to 1.2 million user minutes. Dividing this number by the average users per session (4) results in 300,000 total session minutes used.

In this example we are packing 3 servers on a 2-core D2_v3 virtual machine:

Input Definition
3 Servers Servers per virtual machine
D2_v3 Virtual machine size
300,000 Server Minutes       1 D2_v3 VM        100,000 D2_v3 VM Minutes
----------------------- x    ------------ =    ------------------------
         Month                3 Servers                Month

Since we are running 3 servers on our D2_v3 VM, we can divide the total session minutes used (300,000) by the number of servers (3) to figure out approximately how many D2_v3 VM minutes (100,000) have been used this month.

Traditional multiplayer server hosting may require you to pay for significant overhead capacity, to handle natural variation in player activity.

It is common for games to have higher levels of concurrency during the weekends and holidays that require you to "pre-pay" for more servers than necessary, as shown below.

Multiplayer demand

PlayFab Multiplayer Server builds automatically scale with your player base. Servers are transitioned to the active state by calling RequestMultiplayerServer, and are later recycled when your game server terminates (typically the end of a "multiplayer round").

However, delivering this dynamic scaling with minimal allocation latency requires some overhead, which originates from 2 key sources:

  1. Standing-by servers - Players do not want to wait for servers, and PlayFab targets a 3 second response time for fulfilling a server request. PlayFab will maintain a set of standing-by servers to ensure that servers are immediately available. As this standing-by pool is consumed by new allocations, PlayFab initializes new standing-by sessions. The amount of standing-by sessions required is dependent on how fast new sessions are requested during peak utilization, and how quickly they can be created and initialized.

  2. Virtual machine fragmentation - If you host multiple sessions on a single virtual machine, there can sometimes be extra stand-by capacity due to fragmentation. In our example of 3 sessions per virtual machine, a virtual machine might have only 1 active session, and the remaining two "spaces" are added to the stand-by pool. Until the active session is terminated, the virtual machine must stay online - even if the additional stand-by capacity is not needed.

Note

Typically, these sources of overhead increase the required compute-hours by 20%.

Calculating networking

Network egress can be a substantial expense, especially for large multiplayer sessions with many simultaneous connected players (32+). During development and testing, run your server locally to get an estimate of its network utilization during play.

Input Definition
1 Megabytes per second transmitted from the server during active play
300,000 Session Minutes × 60 Seconds/Minute × 1 MBPS/Session   = 18,000,000 MB

In this example, assume that testing shows that a multiplayer session sends 1 MB of data per second of active play.

Since we earlier calculated 300,000 server minutes used in a month, we can estimate that 300,000 users x 60 MB per minute equals 18,000,000 MB of data sent per month.

Storage costs

Cloud storage for your uploaded assets and containers is the last billed resources for PlayFab multiplayer servers, and generally the cheapest element. The peak total file size of what you've uploaded over a month is summed and charged at $.10 per GB per month.

At 100,000 users, each averaging 12 user minutes per month, this comes out to 1.2 million user minutes. Dividing this number by the average users per session (4) results in 300,000 total session minutes used.

How to pay

PlayFab offers three pathways for billing.

  1. Billing through credit card.
  2. Billing through PlayFab invoicing. This is ideal for many professional projects, but requires you to contact our customer services group to get set up.
  3. Billing through Azure & Microsoft Enterprise Agreements. This is ideal for organizations that may have a volume deal with Azure or another Microsoft product line. Please contact our customer services group or your Azure solutions specialist to learn more.

In all three options you will receive a detailed analysis of your multiplayer server activity in Game Manager. However - for Azure/EA customers - the final invoicing through Azure is simplified, and will show these high level line-items denominated in dollars:

  • PlayFab Essential Services
  • PlayFab Multiplayer Servers