does the "cost per connected user" pricing of photon realtime penalise simple games?

edited March 2023 in Photon Server

If you develop a game like WoW or fortnight you pay per connected user (e.g. $185/m for 1000) to host the entire game. Thats very cheap for the massive amount of server side computation including physics, hit boxes, maps, words, object inventories, lag mitigation, voice and chat etc.

If you develop a simple multiplayer game, such as poker or bingo, the server side logic and processing is absolutely tiny, but you pay the same as an MMO. I.e you use a fraction of the hosted service side CPU and memory, and maybe half of the features.

This would appear to be ludicrously unfair?


  • chvetsov

    hi, @nutmix

    first, it is not possible to host games like WoW and fortnight in public cloud. such games go to Enterprise (personal) clouds with special prices.

    if you are indie studio, you could write to with request. I assume you will be able to negotiate about prise.



  • Tobias

    The Photon Cloud servers don't run any game specific logic. Enterprise Servers do. So there is no drawback for simpler games, as complex games need to run on different machines.

  • nutmix

    @Tobias thanks for the reply. Does photon have server side hosting for simple games like bingo (that dont have any 3D, and use very little CPU/memory)? Or do we need to host server side login in our own servers, and just use photon as an external chat/room service?

    Enterprise is chicken and egg - there is no free version (I can see), and we dont want to pay without knowing if it can support something like server side (cash) bingo, and how (e.g. not a hack). we are quite confused about the array of products.

  • Tobias

    If you are after the cheapest approach to host games like bingo (turn based), then look into HTTP servers and maybe long running connections where the server can reply late instead of clients polling. We don't do this, so you have to find someone else to explain in more detail.

    If you want to offer faster updates and maybe more than just sending the turn, then Photon brings a benefit. E.g. when a player browses through a card deck, you could send which card in the hand is currently being looked at (without revealing it), etc. This provides more interaction.

    For mostly turn based games, the Realtime API is the basis and Server Plugins provide a way to create the game logic. How hack secure it is depends on you, as we don't provide any game logic.

    As you can develop and run a Server Plugin on your machines, you don't need to buy anything before deciding if you can use it.

    Photon does not come with user accounts, friends systems, inventory or other. This is done well by other teams and can be booked as a service to cooperate with Photon. You can tie Photon to their account authentication easily (topic: Custom Authentication). This also means you can easily re-use existing communities, if that's something you can leverage.

    I hope that helps.