Amazon has a new set of tools for game developers that lets them build in-game competitions, with prizes that can be fulfilled by Amazon itself.
The new service built on Amazon Web Services is called GameOn, and it bolsters Amazon’s offerings to entice game developers to use its cloud services. This announcement from Amazon comes a just a few days after Microsoft debuted its own cloud service for game developers.
Amazon says GameOn is a series of APIs for PC, console and mobile games that allow developers to create custom tournaments and leagues with leaderboards and prizes that Amazon can fulfill for customers. Developers can also empower players to create their own interactive events, which up their visibility among their peers.
GameOn is meant to get people more invested in games through these competitions and incentives, thereby helping developers make more money. The gaming world has increasingly become more social in recent years, thanks to the rise of streaming on platforms like Twitch — which Amazon purchased in 2014 for $970 million — YouTube and recently Microsoft’s Mixer, and engagement is an important part of every game.
As part of this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Amazon said more than 90 percent of the world’s biggest public game companies use AWS. The company in a press release name-dropped work it is doing with Activision, publisher of the acclaimed Destiny series, and Supercell, the company behind popular mobile games Clash of Clans, Clash Royale and Boom Beach.
Amazon says it is leveraging many of its other technological advancements, from its voice assistant Alexa to the Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly machine learning technologies to help these companies create new ways of building games and new experiences for plays.
Amazon said AWS has the power to handle more than 45 billion in-game events and 10TB of data per day.
Amazon’s gaming prowess sometimes flies a little under the radar with all the other arenas they operate in. Amazon builds its own games through Amazon Game Studios. And AWS offers a host of developer tools, game engines and more products for companies looking to use cloud services to build their games.
Microsoft is one of the world’s biggest gaming companies, but it is playing catch up with Amazon in terms of providing the infrastructure for developers to build games on its cloud platform. Microsoft has sunk a lot of resources into its cloud gaming push, making multiple acquisitions in recent months to set the stage for its new offering.
Right now, Amazon’s GameOn is available to developers for free. After May 1, Amazon said the first 35,000 plays per month are free for a limited time, and after that developers will be charged $0.003 per play. For now, Amazon said, prize fulfillment is only available in the U.S.
Amazon said a number of gaming companies including nWay, Game Insight, Eden Games, Umbrella Games, Nazara, Mindstorm, Mokuni, Avix and GameCloud Studios are already using the service.