· 9 min read

Who are the top mobile game backend providers?

The right backend technology can propel your mobile game's growth. But with a wide range of BaaS providers in the market, how do you choose the right one for your game?

A robust backend infrastructure is the engine that powers all top-grossing mobile games. It enables engaging gameplay experiences and handles essential functions such as user authentication, multiplayer capabilities, LiveOps, leaderboards, cloud storage, and much more.

However, there are numerous mobile game backend providers (also called backend-as-a-service) in the market. By the end of this article, you’ll have an understanding of who they are, and how they differ from each other.

Should you build or buy your backend tech?

Most of the companies you see in the top-grossing gaming charts use bespoke backend technology that they’ve built in-house. This allows for customization and total control of the backend tech stack, but it requires hiring a team of engineers – a time-intensive and costly process.

The vast majority of game developers, however, do not have the time, human resources, or money to invest in building in-house backend tech.

Instead, they use external backend providers, which offer “plug-and-play” solutions that make the process far more affordable and efficient. In turn, this lets them focus on creating exceptional gameplay experiences.

So which mobile game backend providers are leading the way?

Leading backend providers for mobile games in 2024

Metaplay: the backend of choice for games with top-grossing ambitions

Metaplay’s backend is particularly suited to developers building a game with a long-term mindset, one that accounts for the evolving tech needs, innovation, and dynamism required to take a game from good to great. Metaplay offers tools to power feature-complete games from day one all the way through to hit status, such as:

  • Game programming
  • Backend engineering
  • Product and LiveOps
  • QA and customer support

Metaplay’s backend solution is suitable for a wide range of games built on Unity, from casual titles to real-time multiplayer experiences.

What sets Metaplay apart from other backend providers is the flexibility of the technology?

Alternative providers offer a limited set of functionalities, which are good enough to get you on par with your competitors. However, when the time comes to innovate, to add custom game features that are not supported by the limited off-the-shelf functionalities, problems emerge.

Specifically, in these cases, developers need to do a major code refactor or migrate their game to a different backend provider. At best, this is a necessary nuisance that drags on for a few months. At worst, it’s a disaster that eats years of development time.

Metaplay, by contrast, offers a tech upgrade path, ensuring game innovation is never stifled by technological limitations.

Their fully programmable stack is also server-authoritative and, as such, cheat-proof by default, which guarantees developers peace of mind as they scale. And because Metaplay ships as source code deployed into a game developer’s own cloud, when making games with Metaplay, a game studio never has to worry about vendor risk.

The Metaplay SDK includes a pre-built but fully customizable LiveOps and player management dashboard, which has everything ambitious game developers need to engage, retain, and monetize their players as their game grows.

Click here to learn more about Metaplay’s backend for mobile game developers.


Pricing for Metaplay’s backend technology starts at €995 per month for managed development environments, opportunities to add production and staging environments as you globally launch your game.
Game studios can also choose from a variety of expert support packages tailored to their needs, as well as bespoke Private Cloud options for self-hosting at scale.

metaplay backend
Metaplay’s LiveOps Dashboard comes with all the tools you need to manage your players at scale.


Beamable provides tools for monetizing players (in-game stores, payment infrastructure, notifications), connecting players (leaderboards, chats, guilds or clans, multiplayer gameplay, tournaments), and optimizing the game experience (analytics into player behavior, A/B testing for new features, content management for deploying new content).

From a more technical angle, Beamable also provides admin tools for development, microservices that eliminate the need to build and operate a game server, and more.

They also offer both Unity and Unreal SDKs, allowing developers to add Beamable’s backend service to games built on either of the leading engines.


Beamable’s subscription tiers begin at $10 per million API calls, also providing an indie tier for solo or small teams without revenue or funding. For large companies who expect over 200M API calls, Beamable offers special pricing.

Beamable’s LiveOps Portal lets you build and deploy content error-free without engineering.

Azure PlayFab

Azure PlayFab, owned by Microsoft (and formerly known only as ‘PlayFab’), provides a solid set of building blocks to launch a fully functional game and is one of the longest-running backend solutions, having launched in 2014.

On a high level, PlayFab’s offering can be divided into three pieces: multiplayer tools, LiveOps tools, and analytics.

PlayFab’s tools for multiplayer games include party networking and chat, cross-network identity and data, multiplayer servers for low-latency real-time gameplay, leaderboards and statistics, and matchmaking and groups (like guilds or clans).

PlayFab’s LiveOps tools include game economy infrastructure, player communication, automation to set up custom operations and react to events in real time, content management (like remote updates to game assets), and experiments (like running tests on player segments).

Finally, PlayFab’s real-time analytics let developers understand how their game is performing and how users are interacting with it. And in terms of data, PlayFab also ensures GDPR and COPPA compliance.


PlayFab’s pricing has several tiers: a free tier for games with less than 100K users, a pay-as-you-go plan, a standard plan at $99/month, and a premium plan at $1,999/month.

Heroic Labs’ Nakama Console allows both technical and non-technical users to quickly perform any needed service tasks.


Photon’s inclusion on this list could be seen as slightly contentious as, strictly speaking, it’s not exactly a backend (or at least not in the same sense as the other vendors on this list).

More so, Photon is a multiplayer engine that is particularly valuable for developers aiming to create highly scalable and real-time multiplayer experiences.

One of the standout features of Photon Engine is its low latency and reliable networking capabilities, which enable seamless real-time multiplayer interactions. This makes it an ideal choice for fast-paced multiplayer games, such as first-person shooters or sports simulations.

Photon also offers extensive matchmaking and lobby management functionality, allowing developers to create custom matchmaking algorithms and efficiently connect players. This feature is invaluable for games that rely on fair and balanced matchmaking, enhancing the overall player experience.

Another great aspect of Photon is its authoritative server support, enabling developers to enforce game rules and prevent cheating. This is crucial for competitive multiplayer games where maintaining a fair and level playing field is so important.

Note that Photon is not a complete backend provider – it focuses on multiplayer game infrastructure. Some developers, for instance, use Photon in tandem with other backend tools like Metaplay to cover all of their mobile game’s backend needs.


Pricing for Photon is tiered according to concurrent users (CCU), with options available for indie developers and larger studios.

Azure PlayFab’s Game Manager allows developers to design, implement, and manage in-game economies.

Heroic Labs

Heroic Labs is a composable product stack featuring an open-source game server, a LiveOps platform, a game development toolkit, and managed cloud services.

Nakama, Heroic Labs’ flagship tool, is a scalable and flexible backend server for multiplayer games. It provides essential features such as user authentication, real-time multiplayer functionality, social features, leaderboards, and server-side scripting.

Nakama is particularly valuable for developers looking to create large-scale multiplayer experiences across different platforms, as it offers high-performance networking and seamless synchronization.

In addition, Heroic Labs’ latest tool, Satori, provides a real-time data platform designed for building live, interactive, and immersive experiences. Satori enables developers to stream data in real time, facilitating dynamic gameplay, chat systems, and live events.

Satori is particularly useful in instances where real-time data updates and instant communication are essential, such as massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), live competitions, or other collaborative experiences.

Heroic Labs’ cloud tool is another handy feature, letting developers deploy dedicated Nakama and Satori clusters on a managed and private cloud.

Hiro, which is Heroic Labs’ game development kit (GDK), is a client-server library built on the Nakama game server with built-in game economy, social, and LiveOps features pre-made to be flexibly integrated into your game.


Heroic Labs offers a flexible pricing model, including a free tier for indie developers, and custom plans for larger-scale games.

Photon’s range of products lets you develop and deploy multiplayer games worldwide across all platforms.

Choosing the Right Backend Provider for Your Mobile Game

When it comes to backend infrastructure for mobile games, partnering with an external provider rather than building your own technology offers numerous benefits. Aside from saving significant time and money, developers are able to maintain focus on the number one priority: building an engaging gameplay experience that keeps their players coming back for more.

Choosing the right backend provider is a big decision and requires a lot of research. Ideally, the backend service you go with from day one will remain your provider over the long run, as the cost of switching later is higher and will continue to rise as a game matures.

This article was designed to serve as an overview of the leading mobile game backend providers, but it is far from definitive. Use this as a starting point for conducting deeper research, and remember that your game is likely to evolve in ways you haven’t thought of yet – so ensure your backend provider gives you all the functionalities, scalability, and reliability to support your future tech needs.