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Microsoft executive Phil Spencer speaks at the GeekWire Summit in 2015. (GeekWire Photo)

Microsoft has established a new gaming cloud division, giving the tech giant another way to stand out in its quest to catch Amazon Web Services.

The Verge’s Tom Warren reports that the new division aims to entice game developers to use Microsoft’s cloud services when building their products. The gaming cloud division is headed by Kareem Choudhry, a 20-year Microsoft veteran, The Verge reports.

Choudhry will report to Phil Spencer, the Xbox head who was promoted last year to Microsoft’s senior leadership team under the title executive vice president of gaming.

Microsoft has telegraphed its desire to provide cloud services for gaming companies through recent acquisitions. In January, Microsoft acquired a Seattle startup called PlayFab that gives developers a back end platform to build, launch and manage games. Last January, Microsoft acquired Simplygon, a Swedish startup focused on 3D game optimization, and parlayed that deal into a new cloud service to help companies quickly create and optimize 3D assets.

Game streaming is another part of Microsoft’s more comprehensive gaming emphasis. Microsoft last year rebranded the Beam streaming service it acquired as Mixer and integrated it into Xbox.

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