It seems Microsoft is finally getting serious about cloud gaming. Recently they purchased cloud computing company Avere, and now they’ve snapped up PlayFab, which provides backend support and tools for cloud-based game developers. Microsoft corporate vice president of gaming Kareem Choudhry explained what PlayFab brings to their Azure for gaming service:
“Many industries are moving to the intelligent cloud, and this trend is true in gaming as well. This means an increasing number of developers are looking to create connected games for mobile, PC and console devices that have a significant emphasis on post-launch operations. However, the cost and complexity of achieving this through custom-built, server-side tools and technologies is high, and PlayFab offers developers a compelling model that scales naturally with their games’ players.
PlayFab’s backend services reduce the barriers to launch for game developers, offering both large and small studios cost-effective development solutions that scale with their games and help them engage, retain and monetize players. PlayFab enables developers to use the intelligent cloud to build and operate games, analyze gaming data and improve overall gaming experiences. The PlayFab platform is a natural complement to Azure for gaming, which provides world-class server infrastructure, allowing creators to focus on building great games with best-available global reach.”
By locking up companies like PlayFab Microsoft hopes to make Azure the choice of game developers over the likes of Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud. They’re likely also planning to add more cloud-enhanced features to their own games. Microsoft was eager to talk up cloud gaming around the launch of the Xbox One, but the actual games have been slow coming (we still don’t know if Crackdown 3’s promised cloud-powered multiplayer is actually happening). Expect that to change -- the expansion of Xbox Game Pass definitely hints the company sees digital downloads and streaming as the future of gaming.
PlayFab was founded back in 2014, and already has numerous clients, including Disney, Wizards of the Coast, Nickelodeon, Bandai Namco, Rovio, Atari, and Capcom. Microsoft hasn’t revealed how much they paid for the company.