Epic Games has expanded its Online Services' offerings, giving developers access to voice communications and anti-cheat software for free. The company originally built Epic Online Services for Fortnite before releasing it as a toolset other developers can use for their creations on any engine or platform at no cost.
This rollout adds Easy Anti-Cheat to the list of tools developers will be able to access as part of the Epic Online Services SDK. Epic purchased the Helsinki-based company that developed the software back in 2018 and uses the anti-cheating solution on Fortnite. There are hundreds of other games that also use the software to keep cheaters out, including Mediatonic's Fall Guys, which suffered from a huge cheating problem.
Developers will be able to control and enforce anti-cheating measures for their game with the software's help. And since Epic plans to provide Easy Anti-Cheat with continuous updates, game-makers will have the ability to keep dishonest players out even as cheats evolve to evade detection. That said, the software isn't perfect and a number of online games that use it still struggle with cheaters. According to data collected by Surfshark VPN just a couple of months ago, for instance, Fortnite had three-times as many cheating-related YouTube views — 26,822,000 hits to be exact — as second-placed Overwatch. While not everyone who viewed those YouTube videos cheated, it goes to show how much interest there is in trying to find a way around the game's anti-cheat measures.
Like the other services included in the EOS SDK, the new voice communications feature was also originally used in Epic's famous battle royale game. It enables built-in one-on-one conversations and group chats for authenticated users across platforms during matches and in lobbies. Connections between users are relayed through servers owned by Epic Online Services, which will also handle and operate a game's voice feature — something that could cost developers millions of dollars — for free.
In addition to launching free voice and anti-cheat services for developers, the company has also revealed that Epic Games now has over 500 million accounts with 2.7 billion friend connections across Fortnite, Rocket League and the Epic Games Store. It's unclear how many of those users signed up for Fortnite alone, but the game had 350 million registered players as of May last year.