The CEO of AccelByte Junaili Lie told us about the company's history and explained how they provide accessible online backend tech and tools to game developers.
Hello! I’m Junaili Lie, and I go by Jun. I’m the CEO and Founder of AccelByte Inc. I was born and raised in Indonesia and earned my undergrad in computing science at Simon Fraser University in Canada. I’ve been in the games industry for over 15 years in various roles. I love games and technology, so I have been fortunate to work in roles that have allowed me to create new processes and technologies that enhance player interaction and community experiences. After a number of years at EA and LucasArts, I joined Epic Games where I helped build the team behind Epic’s online backend infrastructure from the ground up – which powers Epic Games Store, Unreal Engine Marketplace, Fortnite, Epic Online Services, etc.
We believe that independent games studios with AAA-level platforms are necessary for the game industry to continue to grow and to be strong in the future. I founded AccelByte in 2016 with ex-Epic members to realize this vision to create accessible online backend tech and tools so that game studios can focus their financial resources on making games. It’s not a commonly discussed area of game development and support, sometimes an unsung role, but it’s such a critical component and can take a hefty investment of time and resources to properly build, and not all companies are in a position to do so. That’s why companies like ours exist and continue to gain more partnerships and momentum. We also maintain that AAA-quality backend tech should be single-tenant to allow game developers to customize and extend their platform. We strongly believe that game developers should also have direct real-time access to their player and game data, so they can create the best possible experience for their communities.
Our clients often asked us to provide engineering professional service to help them customize and extend our backend platform, which we happily do. It’s been five years that we’ve served as an independent service provider, and we now have a team of more than 260 worldwide that can begin supporting the game development cycle in the early stages by providing crash reporter, performance profiler, and build distribution for our clients.
We attract game studios who are building online-persistent games, most with heavy multiplayer components, to date. We’re fortunate to have a diverse portfolio of partnerships from around the world, ranging from big companies to smaller teams. Some of the partners we’ve assisted include KRAFTON, NetEase, Deep Silver Volition, and Versus Evil, as well as many others. We’ve got the experience to support AAA teams while also scaling to best work with AA-to-indie teams. Our clients appreciate the comprehensive feature set that comes with our backend platform, as well as the flexibility to customize and expand. Clients also value the fact that our backend can sustain multiple titles as studios plan for expanding their projects, and our partners appreciate that they can foster direct relationships with their players, not just for current titles, but also future titles. We normally are in close communication with our clients with weekly calls, daily messaging via slack or discord, and active involvement in engineering, including – not just code reviews – but our engineers aiding with shipping the game as needed. Also, we try to be supportive by providing tools that assist during development (e.g. crash reporter, build a distribution that supports PC and dev/test kit, and performance profiler).
One of the biggest challenges we face with our clients is when we are helping migrate existing live-service games from a backend that was built internally. It requires an understanding, not just of the existing in-house backend, but also the game itself. However, we’re excellent at creating solutions, like porting a portion of a game’s code and pushing it to a custom service, which we tailor-make for specific instances on top of our existing platform. Another thing that can present a small challenge is data migration as there can be a lot of inconsistent data.
We have a white-label customizable backend platform that we deploy for each client. This way, our clients don't have to build it themselves (which could have cost them 10-20% of the total headcount over 2-3 years). We aim to be helpful during development by providing complementary tools like a crash reporter, performance profiler, and build distribution. Deep collaboration from the onset keeps AccelByte in tune with our clients’ needs as development progresses, often accommodating needs by setting up multiple environments to help make things simpler for their development teams. Our tools are also designed to be helpful in preparation for going live, including projecting what the cost of running game servers could be. Additionally, we assist our clients with certification and load testing of the backend based on the traffic pattern of the game leading up to the launch.
Latest Funding Round
We’re really proud of our recent announcement where we shared the news of closing our Series A raise. We didn’t need the funds, per se, as we’ve been generating revenue through our ongoing business partnerships, but we saw this funding as a good opportunity to raise more capital to accelerate our plans and create new partnerships, and foster relationships. We plan to make our technology and platform more affordable and accessible during development for our clients. Our clients should also expect us to add more features in an effort to be more supportive and useful for them. We seek to improve our backend platform across the board by adding new functionality as well as focusing on the non-functional aspect of a platform, including reducing the cost of infrastructure, security improvement, etc.
Our plan here at AccelByte is to use the funding to take bigger risks and be more aggressive in assisting our clients. We want to be more helpful by making it even more accessible and affordable for many studios, adding more features and capabilities to be as useful as possible early in the game development lifecycle.
We look forward to collaborating with our partners and continuing to build the best solutions for game backends – and to expanding our support for awesome teams making awesome games. In our vision of the near future, we’d love to help support a new ‘federation’ of sorts composed of independent game studios. We envision things like creating a forum for studios to share ideas, player bases, and resources (e.g., trading dedicated server time for example) in a way that helps empower them with scale – while retaining their individual creative autonomy. Additionally, we plan to build up our account management and client success team to further align ourselves with our clients. Last but not least, we are also looking to spend resources to develop partnerships with other technology and solutions providers to benefit our partners. It’s a great time to be in the games industry, and we’re really excited about the future of AccelByte as there’s lots more to come from us.