Multiplayer Game Server with a comparison of Colyseus vs GameLift vs Playfab vs Photon
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Multiplayer Game Server with a comparison of Colyseus vs GameLift vs Playfab vs Photon

13 September, 2022

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Let’s consider a game of Spades which can be played solo or by up to four players with a fixed partnership between players sitting opposite each other. We would be implementing features like Shuffle and Deal, Bidding, Scoring and Rounds.

Playfab vs Gamelift vs Colyseus vs Photon

There are several multiplayer game servers that can help game developers build, deploy, and scale online games. They provide a range of tools and services that allow Game developers to focus on game development, while providing the infrastructure and management tools needed to create engaging and secure online gaming experiences. While Azure Playfab is a backend-as-a-service (BaaS) platform that provides a range of features and services for game developers, AWS Gamelift is a managed game server hosting service, Colyseus and Photon are widely used multiplayer game servers.

It would be good to have a game server comparison of Playfab vs Gamelift vs Colyseus vs Photon to help us choose what suits our game development most. This post tries to get you the highlights of each so that you can compare various game hosting servers.

Colyseus Game Server:

Colyseus is a flexible framework that can be designed to fit any multiplayer experience. We can implement our game logic entirely in the Colyseus server. It has excellent inbuilt features to support multiplayer game features like Rooms, Lobby, Relay, Matchmaker, Timing Events, Matchmaker APIs, etc.

What are the features we would like in a Multiplayer Game Room?


  • Maximum clients should be able to join
  • High performance, Low lag time
  • We can incorporate built-in Rooms like…
    • Lobby rooms
    • Relay rooms
  • A customized Room Id would be nice to have
  • Password-protect Rooms
  • Provision to deny permission to a player to join a room
  • Rate limiting to control network traffic

Azure Playfab Managed Services:

Azure’s Playfab is a complete LiveOps back-end platform for building and operating live games. It is a managed service that may also be used to deploy the Colyseus game logic. We can use a Docker container for deployment of our multiplayer game. Playfab Matchmaker can be used to assign servers once a room gets full of valid number of players. If there is large waiting time, we can introduce Robot players through our game logic.


Playfab deploys and sets up N number of servers for us. Whenever one room gets full, Playfab Managed Service provides us the server details to join the next room. In the background there are N number of idle servers each deployed with the Docker image containing our game logic. Playfab’s Player Data can keep all the data globally accessible for a player.

We can link Azure Functions through Playfab cloud script to bring modularity to our code. Playfab gives us ability to test our cloud functions against each Player separately thus making development easier. Playfab’s insights for calling functions and REST APIs provide a good history of execution trail for calls made on the server. This makes debugging easier. Playfab has a particularly good Player-Management section where we can see all details related to each Player.

AWS GameLift

Amazon’s GameLift is another dedicated game-server hosting solution for multiplayer games that deploys, operates, and scales cloud servers. GameLift leverages the power of AWS to deliver the well-matched low latency game sessions, lowering player wait-times, and maximizing cost savings. Gamelift is the preferred solution for 3D Game Engines over Playfab and Photon. That could be a point in the Azure Playfab vs AWS GameLift comparison.


Another point in the Azure Playfab vs AWS GameLift Server hosting comparison is that GameLift is preferred over Playfab for features like Data Analytics, Animation, Asset Management, Network Management, Player Management, Prototyping and Virtual Reality.

Comparison of AWS GameLift vs Azure PlayFab

FeatureAWS GameLiftAzure PlayFab
Game server hostingYes, managed hosting for game serversNo, focused on backend services
FlexibilityYes, supports custom game server codeLimited, focused on backend services
ScalabilityYes, auto-scaling for game serversYes, scaling for backend services
Integration with other AWS services
Yes, part of AWS ecosystem
Limited, part of Azure ecosystem

In summary, AWS GameLift provides a more comprehensive solution for game server hosting and integrates well with other AWS services, while Azure PlayFab is focused on providing a wide range of backend services for game development. The choice of service will depend on the specific needs and requirements of the game project.


Photon is a popular game engine known for its super accessibility and for its out-of-the-box multiplayer game provision that is incredibly easy to set up. It provides managed services as well as game server development.

photon There’s in-built load balancing on the Cloud for efficiency of room instances. Photon Cloud provides global connectivity to allow low latency gaming all around the world. This is done by hosting servers in various Regions. Each region is entirely separate from the other and consists of a Master Server (for matchmaking) and Game Servers (or hosting rooms). Each Photon Cloud region is identified by a “region token” which is used to connect to the region. We could distribute client builds tied to a region, so users from different regions connect to different Photon Cloud regions or we can enable the user to choose a matching region from within the game`s UI.

Photon is relatively easy to set up and the Photon team is pretty helpful in the initial stages of development. It is a convenient tool, and yet it comes with a few drawbacks. Some developers have expressed opinion that Photon’s binary protocol is quite inefficient. This provides developers easy reliable RPCs, but at the cost of lag and high bandwidth.

Game Development

While these game servers allow you to focus on game development, what you need is expert game developers who have worked with these game servers. Game development can be done in various languages; for example by Node js developers, or by Unity developers, or by Python developers. You can instantly augment your game development team or create a new one by hiring expert game developers from companies that have relevant experience. Experts in backend development using Node Js, as well as in GameLift or Playfab, etc. can be a ideal combination.

Synsoft Global is a team of web developers and mobile developers based in India who work remotely on projects for clients in countries like the USA, UK, Germany, UAE. We have good experience and talent in game development. Many a American businesses have streamlined their software development process and improved their overall efficiency by swiftly hiring resources from us in India.

Looking To Hire A Playfab Expert?


Ashish G.

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