GameSparks vs PlayFab: Best Price? Trust? Features? Current+Future Value?


Occasionally, we do video reviews of tools/services we use(d) to create our games. Some are better than others, and I want to not only tell you why, but show you!

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  1. Hey guys — it's been a while since I updated this. Quite a long time later, I'm still using GS and still believe it's #1. Here are some quick pros/cons rundowns:
    * NoSQL access (including mongo/json-style queries) — this means you can do/make anything with very little limitations. To compare, PF has no such access and you need to pay extra + renew your contract (last I checked) for most upgrades.

    * The "fair use policy" is truly fair and only about a paragraph or two long. Transparent and easy to read. You can poll reasonably (I think it was 30 seconds, last I checked) for friends updates and such. To compare, PF has a huge list of restrictions and in a post, they said polling should be 1.5 minutes (which means if a friend hops online, you need to wait that long to invite them to a game).

    * Messaging is included. To compare, PF has no messaging at all (there's a hacky way to do it with shared data, but it's limited). Messaging is important more than delivering simple chat, but also delivering game invites with a string of a room ID. To further compare, even Photon charges for messaging separately/monthly.

    * Their debugger is incredible. You step through just like Visual Studio, it has intellisense, color coding (dark theme), some hotkeys, and shared modules. It's very intuitive and it's like a web IDE. To compare, PF has no IDE. You need to click "test" and log everything to text-debug instead of visually (like oldschool Java). To go deeper, PF also doesn't have an integrated IDE – you must edit on GitHub (or your own IDE, but further inconvenient since you must "push" to test).

    * Friendly staff + price is right. Tickets get resolved sometimes within a few minutes. Maximum ~24 hours, which is pretty good considering I'm on a free tier. If you are tiny, you may qualify for their free indie program. Then once you get 100k/mo for free. We're considered a successful game and I've never got close to this amount. Afterwords, 2 cents per. Comparatively, 2 cents per IS more expensive than PF — but they only start charging after 100k, which the average person won't reach. If you're AAA, double check prices to see what's best for you. Sometimes price > features.

    * Socks connections. This means when a player is disconnected, you can handle it when a heartbeat is no longer detected. PF doesn't have socks, so if a player gets disconnected, it's very difficult to handle disconnections. I never figured it out – but then again, maybe I wasn't experienced enough. I find socks more intuitive since you don't have to poll — you can just send messages when you need to and it'll be picked up in a callback.

    * Consistent architecture. Once you have an ideal "template", it's quite easy to copy+paste then edit to add new functions. Everything is super clean looking with their chaining capabilities. Custom events look like this:

    * You can delete or change anything at any time. This may sound funny and assume every service would have this, but if you recall in the video, PF wouldn't allow us to delete stats (asked us to make a new game, said it wasn't in high-demand enough to add this "feature"), which locks the max restrictions and related features (leaderboard; drops; etc), rendering them useless. I recently saw a thread update with more people asking about it and reply saying the same thing. This means they still do not offer this core function. This one always dug under my skin, so it was worth mentioning. It's one of those things you "assume" should be there, but alas.

    * Rhino JS. It's essentially an ancient version of JavaScript with a few exceptions. No templating in strings. No "let". No advanced mapping, no shortcuts like => instead of func(). This ends up making your code really ugly and old. This also takes away from your experienced from the ever-changing JS, so you'll be behind on your other JS projects and create bad habits.

    * Documentation is behind. Much of the documentation also doesn't show current standards of what to do, which may leave you super confused. If you're new, you may experience difficulties. They promised to update this ever since they were purchased by Amazon. We're still waiting, but they're pretty good on promises.

    * They use AWS, so Russia blocks them. Probably not a big deal for most. Most Russian people use VPN's anyway (or should).

    Still loving it and still plan to use it for our next game (whatever that may be).

    If you want to check out my game, jump on our Discord @

  2. This video made sense at the time but with regards to Gamesparks and the Unity Engine, the support just isn't there anymore.

  3. It used to be 2cents per MAU? Dang that's a lot compared to the .008 that it is now. Though they have the $299 fee now which I guess they didn't before?

  4. As of today, this video is considered out of date. I would strongly advise you to make another one and review more backend service options

  5. I have been using Gamesparks as my BAAS for about a year and the support is very bad generally. The forums are almost entirely comprised of directions to open support tickets without any movement and useable feedback after literally years. Their messaging is clunky and riddled with issues that you have to work around constantly.

    No matter which event you call in the challenge even if they are custom events Gamesparks will issue a ChallengeTurnTakenMessage and switch players after the call. This makes no sense and means that after every call you make that wasn't meant to switch players you have to consume turns until you are back to where you began.

    For example, I created an event where a player would spawn a unit onto the map. A player can spawn multiple units as long as they have the resources in a single turn. This should not end your turn. However, after every spawn Gamesparks calls ChallengeTurnTakenMessage thus ending the turn. I then have to jump through hoops to get back to the original player. This means I cannot rely on Gamesparks messaging and have to roll my own turn change mechanics. Their system is plagued with these head scratching issues.

    Very frustrating indeed.

  6. can we make android multiplayer games with this plugin???
    please help me anyone, i am trying to make a android multiplayer but no idea how to host a game on internet with android platform….please help me any one any idea or any link please.

    Thank you.

  7. hey, can you explain how you integrated Game Sparks along with Photon. And did you use Photon Chat along with GameSparks as it is a must when you use Playfab as backend for messaging purpose.

  8. You should name this video: "Why I personally hate Playfab". This video is not neutral. You politically didn't mention some topics where GS loses compared to PF.
    Playfab is definitely more user-friendly. If I want to create some entity with some parameters, I don't want to go deep into MongoDB database and to create tables manually (risking to ruin the entire system). They have Player editor, statistics editor, shops, inventory and so on, easy to setup via user interface, without any databases. In GS it's not an option — you MUST dig the database
    If GS will add a "simple mode", I will love their solution.
    Playfab has a Lifestream, where you can see everything that happens in your game IN REALTIME right in a dashboard, like "Player Ivan is logged in; player Anna got 100 gold; player Peter banned because of cheating" etc. GS doesn't have such functionality. You can only log all events manually into database.
    Gamesparks multiplayer is really awful and outdated! It is very low level. You need to create tons of messages and opcodes and manually dispatch them. After using of incredibly convenient UNet HLAPI, their system looks damn fossil!
    GS was owned by Amazon — but PF was owned by Microsoft!

  9. I came across your channel a few weeks back when I was trying to implement UNet matchmaking. Now that I have tried the nightmare that is UNet I decided to switch to something else. And again, I stumbled upon your channel! Thank you for all the content. You really earned my subscription.

  10. I'm a big Gamesparks fanboy, been using it for 2 years now for SuperTrucks Offroad. Wow I can't believe Playfab has all those limitations and they don't have JS debugging/step through. Nice video though!

  11. Appreciate this! just got started with gamesparks. The documentation appears to be substandard. What is your opinion of their documentation? How does it compare with playfab?

  12. Sir, I really appreciate the effort you put in making this video, just for the sake of letting other ppl know. I also discovered recently those 300 $ fee and it was because a user in their Slack Chat mentioned it. Glad to know they are fully transparent now. That info should have been visible in their page since the very begining. It is malevolent to hide those fees and to clash into them once u have spend 150h+ coding your back-end in PlayFab. They call it marketing/engagement strategy? I call it BS

  13. GameSparks indie License Adheres to the Fair usage policy Thanks for the Video Xblade!

  14. Heads up, I was 1/2 asleep when making this and didn't edit. I probably said a few things wrong — correct me below 😉 in the video, some things I said I'll get back to you:
    * PF Statistics are limited to 25. +100 for +$20/mo.
    * PF Player data entries are limited to …20? I think? It's not transparent on the limitations page. I didn't find out until I had +1 too many. I have 19~20 right now per person, so it must be 20.
    * Near the end of mentioning about GameSparks being on the Unity store, I accidentally mentioned that GameSparks was not on the store — I meant to say PLAYFAB is NOT on the store 🙂 I didn't bother to edit it because I mentioned it correctly at first and had a big screenshot of GameSparks on the Unity store, so hopefully you knew what I meant.

    Cheers guys! There are some unofficial Discord links to GameSparks, PlayFab, and Photon in the description!

    PS — if you want to check out my game, hop aboard!


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