Epic Games is launching free voice chat and anti-cheat services that developers can implement in their games, the company announced on Tuesday. They’ll be offered as part the studio’s Epic Online Services suite, which is available to use with any game engine and supports Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android.
The new voice chat service is cross platform and supports both one-on-one and party chat in lobbies and during in-game matches. When using the service, voice data is relayed through Epic’s back-end servers, and the technology handles all scaling and quality of service features. Epic says the technology has already been “integrated and battle-tested in Fortnite,” which provides some assurance that it can handle millions of players at once.
Alongside voice chat, Epic Online Services is also adding support for Easy Anti-Cheat, a service designed to root out and boot cheaters from online games. Easy Anti-Cheat has previously been available for third-party developers to license for their games, but it’s now free as part of Epic Online Services and should allow many more developers to make use of it. Epic argues anti-cheat software like this is increasingly important as more games offer cross-play between PCs and other platforms, since cheating software is often more readily available on PC.
Like other anti-cheat software, Easy Anti-Cheat can occasionally cause issues for non-cheaters and label innocent software as malicious, so it’s far from a perfect solution. But with cheating still plaguing many of the world’s biggest games, it’s hard to argue against developers having another tool in their arsenal.
Epic is including both services as part of its Epic Online Services suite, which isn’t tied to its own game engine or storefront. In an FAQ on its website the company says it offers the services for free “with the goal of encouraging wider adoption of all of Epic’s offerings” and to build a bigger cross-platform account base for the company and its partners.