Dedicated server questions.

Ok, bear with me for a while here.

I’m making a game with another friend of mine. Recently after going through the design document once more, we decided on some pretty fundamental changes in the structure of the game.
A lot of the functionality we have built so far will stay there so that wasn’t such big of a problem, I just have to go through the blueprints and change them with networking in mind.

Thing is we decided to go from an RPG game with quests, bunch of NPCs etc to the much more manageable by two people sandbox mmo. No mmorpg, just a hub with a couple of extra areas with the very basic NPCs and bare bones questing, but with the players able to create their own stories, make alliances, fight other players or play with the economy. Basic sandbox mode with multiplayer features. We don’t expect to ever have thousands upon thousands of players, with the sweetspot being around 50-60 online the way we think about it.

I went through a few guides and tutorials on networking and blueprints since I’ve never done it before and while the whole replication seems pretty straight forward, the problem I see is that in every case the game is hosted locally. I find guides and tutorials about steam servers, which is not what I want as I don’t care about achievements, friends lists or co-op games. Other guides I find are the same without the steam, hosting a game locally. What we want is a persistent world and server that’s always up like in traditional mmos.

On that front I found some very basic info about SpatialOS and a bit more about Amazon’s GameLift.

So a first question would be, what does SpatialOS offer that GameLift doesn’t to explain the higher pricetag?

From a first look over the past week, I’ve seen that in order to connect with GameLift, I need a source version of UE4. Why’s that the case and most importantly can I build that source version and move my game there later on down the road? Or I need to build it on it?

And the most important question of all. Can I just ignore the whole dedicated server thing for now, finish the game while testing with localhosting and THEN once we’re ready to release build the dedicated server to skip on costs while developing?

PS. I know this all sounds very stupid to some, but all these years I was only working as a prop modeller, and for the past 9 months or so I started doing blueprints for this game and as such I never had to deal with networking. I’d appreciate any help on it because I stopped development for over two weeks trying to figure out how to move on from here on out.