How to create a game Launcher?

Piotr Korzuszek

05 December 2021

Welcome to the exciting world of game development! One of the most important components of launching a game is having a robust and user-friendly launcher. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming to figure out which one is the best fit for your game. That’s why we’re here to help guide you through your options and provide you with valuable insights based on our experience. Whether you’re a seasoned game developer or just starting out, we’ve got you covered. So buckle up, grab a pen and paper, and let’s dive into the world of game launchers!

Before we dive in

It’s important to take a moment to consider what you need from your game launcher. Here are some key questions to keep in mind:

  • What features do I need in my launcher (e.g. custom branding, automatic updates, multi-platform support, etc.)?
  • Will I be using this launcher for a standalone game or a mod of another game?
  • Do I need authentication for my players?
  • Will I be using this launcher to collect payments?
  • Do I want to build the launcher myself or pay someone else to do it?
  • What kind of user support do I expect from my launcher?

Having clear answers to these questions will make it easier for you to make a decision about which option is best for you. Now, let’s take a look at your options.

Building your own launcher from scratch

This option is the most straightforward: if you need a launcher, build one yourself! However, keep in mind that the difficulty of building a launcher will depend on your specific needs. For example, if your launcher needs to perform network operations, be prepared for a challenge. And if you need to manage the installation of your content on a user’s hard drive, that can also be a complex task.

The reason that network and hard disk operations can be difficult to manage is primarily because of potential failures and how to handle them. Without proper failure management, your launcher may work well 95% of the time, but that remaining 5% can cause problems and lead to a high volume of support requests and negative reviews.

Technologies to consider:


  • May be cost-effective for a simple launcher that only needs to start the game.


  • Can quickly become expensive if network or IO operations are required.
  • Requires knowledge of the technology or the need to hire someone with that expertise.

Purchase and customize

Another way to get a launcher is to purchase a license and customize it to meet your needs. This option may require some effort, such as learning new technologies and tools, but it offers the benefit of getting a product that has already been tested and used by many users. All you need to do is adjust it to fit your specific requirements.

Let’s try running over some examples.

Unity Asset Store

Unity game engine is a great option for creating a launcher as it is based on Mono, which allows for flexible access to the network and filesystem. The Unity editor also makes interface design straightforward. However, it may require some training to use effectively.

There are several popular assets available on the Unity Asset Store, such as PATCH and SG Patcher.


  • Affordable license prices
  • Access to source files
  • Easy UI customization in Unity
  • Multiplatform support


  • Some customizations may require a deep understanding of Unity
  • No guaranteed developer support
  • Managing game and launcher updates can be challenging

Standalone launcher

A standalone launcher, such as Game Launcher Creator, is another option to consider. This solution features a UI editor, networking, and content management tools. It may be a good starting point for those who are new to creating a launcher. However, distribution is the responsibility of the user and requires the use of the tools provided for convenience.


  • Affordable license
  • User-friendly UI editor
  • Responsive support


  • Limited to Windows platform
  • Closed source code
  • Requires management of game and launcher updates
  • Need to set up a web server

Launcher as a service

This type of launcher is backed by a web service that offers management of launcher-related tasks from a web browser. This includes game version publishing, user management, and purchases.

Examples of this type of launcher include PatchKit and XSolla.


  • Simple setup process
  • Direct publishing from dashboard
  • Easy customization of the launcher
  • Free accounts available for indies and students (PatchKit only)
  • Supports multiple platforms (PatchKit only)
  • Enterprise-level support available
  • Built-in analytics


  • Typically more expensive compared to other solutions


If you’re a beginner, the standalone launcher might be a good place to start, especially if you’re on a budget. It provides a rich UI editor, responsive support, and a cheap license. However, it has some limitations like only working with Windows, being closed source, and requiring manual updates.

For those who are looking for a more comprehensive solution, launcher as a service could be a good fit. Services like PatchKit and XSolla offer a dead-easy setup, easy customization, and built-in analytics. They also allow for publishing games directly from the dashboard and provide enterprise-level support. However, these solutions tend to be more expensive compared to other options.

In conclusion, it’s important to carefully evaluate your needs and budget before choosing the best solution for your game launcher. Each option has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s up to you to determine which one is the right fit for your project.

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