Seattle-based startup AccelByte has raised $10 million.
Founded in 2016, AccelByte is a backend tools provider for “live service” video games. Its platform gives a developer a ready-made set of tools to manage the behind-the-scenes requirements of a multiplayer online game.
The Series A round was led by the New York-based VC firm Galaxy Interactive, with additional funding from the Hangzhou-based NetEase, which publishes many mobile games for the Chinese market; the South Korean firm KRAFTON, publisher/developer of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds; and Dreamhaven, which was launched late last year in Irvine, Calif., by departing Blizzard CEO/co-founder Mike Morhaime.
AccelByte’s current development partners include Deep Silver Volition, Bandai Namco, Gearbox, Remedy, Versus Evil, and Seattle’s Stray Bombay, which plans to launch its debut title The Anacrusis later this year.
“AccelByte is focused on helping studios by offering a proven, efficient, and accessible online backend tech platform and tools at scale, so developers can do what they do best: create awesome games,” Junaili Lie, AccelByte’s CEO and a co-founder of the company, said in a statement. Lie was previously director of online technology at Epic Games; an online games technical director for LucasArts; and a lead technical architect at Electronic Arts.
AccelByte’s overall suite of tools is intended to provide necessary programs and scalable architecture to game developers that plan to operate “games-as-a-service” (GaaS) — releases that make their money from in-app purchases or subscription fees rather than a single up-front purchase price.
Useful examples of GaaS include Riot’s League of Legends, Psyonix’s Rocket League, and Valve Software’s Dota 2, all three of which are some of the most consistently profitable success stories in the modern industry. A “live service” game is typically intended to go on for years, if not indefinitely, with consistent updates that add more content and options.
AccelByte’s emphasis is on letting a company use their platform to handle the behind-the-scenes work, which theoretically frees developers up to work on various facets of the actual game.
It’s not an unusual pitch in game development — an entire company exists to sell time-strapped game developers sufficiently realistic virtual trees, let alone a usable plug-and-play backend — but with more and more studios looking to break off their own piece of GaaS, there’s a natural argument in favor of letting another company deal with much of a game’s multiplayer math.
AccelByte intends to use the Series A money to “expand its strategic partnerships,” according to a press release issued ahead of the announcement. It was reportedly profitable beforehand, but the extra funding will allow it to accelerate its existing business plan.