AccelByte, a platform that helps game creators build backend services and tools, has raised $60 million in Series B led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from Sony Interactive Entertainment and returning backers Galaxy Interactive and NetEase.
The company’s last funding announcement was in August 2021 for a $10 million Series A led by Galaxy Interactive. To date, the startup has raised a total of $70 million. Accelbyte did not disclose its valuation.
AccelByte’s platform enables developers to build, scale and operate live service games across the player experience loop, including lobby, friends, matchmaking, cloud progression, achievements, season pass, launcher and patcher and more.
The Seattle-headquartered startup will use the money to enhance the backend platform for game creators and support the continued development of the tools to operate AAA-quality live service games at scale.
AccelByte CEO Junaili Lie, who previously led the backend engineering team at Epic Games, founded this startup in 2016. While working at Epic Games, Lie realized that nothing flexible enough existed to support the hefty backend requirements for the then-nascent Epic platform his team had been tasked to build. Lie told TechCrunch that he wants to democratize game creation and provide independent creators — no matter large or small — the same access to AAA-quality tools and platforms to create games and multiplayer experiences.
The firm has seen strong traction as the game industry has experienced explosive growth in well-funded, venture-backed studios. AccelByte claims it has tripled its customer numbers since the Series A, and more than 30 studios are building on the AccelByte platform, Lie told TechCrunch. Its current clients include Dreamhaven, Build A Rocket Boy, 1047 Games, KRAFTON, Deep Silver Volition, Theorycraft Games, Remedy Entertainment, Raid Base and Starbreeze Studios, among others, Lie noted.
“Many of those creators have started building live service games and they simultaneously realize how difficult it is to build a scalable backend platform from scratch. This results in delayed ship dates, titles that have trouble scaling on launch, and a backlog of live service features that are never implemented in-game,” Lie said in an interview. “Building a bespoke backend platform distracts and diverts resources away from what game makers really want to spend their time on: Perfecting the core gameplay loop for their players.”
AccelByte says game developers can extend individual AccelByte platform services, which are built on a microservices architecture, to meet their unique game requirements. Lie said that AccelByte has a host of microservices, including cross-platform matchmaking, player progression, entitlements and catalogs, season passes and more. Its platform is game-engine agnostic, with Unreal and Unity software development kits (SDKs) available and supports cross-platform play across PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android.
“Unlike competitors PlayFab and GameSparks, AccelByte is a single-tenant offering where each customer is provisioned in a dedicated environment that is massively scalable to millions of players. This means that each and every microservice is fully customizable, extensible, and [if need be] forkable to meet the unique requirements of that particular game studio,” Lie said.
In 2018, Microsoft acquired PlayFab and Amazon acquired GameSparks to bolster their game infrastructure platform business.
AccelByte has more than 300 employees globally, including in Canada, Indonesia and China.
“As games become more complex with the rise of cross-platform multiplayer and live services, there is an increased need for scalable and efficient infrastructure to minimize time to market,” said Robert Kaplan, investment director at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “We believe AccelByte has built a leading backend solution for the gaming industry, giving developers the platform and tools to scale games faster, easier and cheaper.”
“Building massive and extensive online worlds requires significant technical infrastructure to ensure creators can achieve their vision,” said Lin Tao, SVP, finance, corporate development and strategy at Sony Interactive Entertainment.