AWS for Games Blog

How ‘Bout Them Apples: Unveiling EC2 Mac Instances on AWS for Game Developers

During our Amazon Web Services (AWS) Late Night at re:Invent on Monday, we announced the new Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Mac instances. Powered by AWS Nitro System and built on Mac mini computers, EC2 Mac instances will, for the first time ever, enable game developers to natively run on-demand macOS workloads in the AWS Cloud. With EC2 Mac instances, we are extending the flexibility, scalability, and cost benefits of AWS to all Apple developers who create games for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Safari. Game developers, especially mobile, can now provision and access macOS environments using Xcode within minutes with simple mouse clicks or API calls, dynamically scale capacity as needed, and benefit from AWS’s pay-as-you-go pricing. Now, you as an Apple game developer can offload the headaches of building and maintaining on-premises macOS environments and refocus your time, energy, and resources on what matters most – building amazing games. Let’s dig in.

In terms of growth, mobile continues to outpace all platforms within the games industry, with player spend projected to grow from 49% on mobile in 2020 to 52% by 2023*. With more than half** of gamers playing on either an iPhone or tablet/iPads, Apple’s industry-leading platforms enable game developers to develop, build, test, and sign games with macOS and its innovative tools, frameworks, and APIs. Until now, Apple game development workloads have not been accessible to any cloud provider due to the lack of Mac hardware availability in the cloud. This challenge prevented game developers from moving their build pipelines into the cloud to support a more distributed development team.

Now, Amazon EC2 Mac instances enable you to build entire cross-platform game development build farms in the cloud that previously were a mix of on-premises and the cloud. With EC2 Mac instances, you can seamlessly provision and access macOS compute environments to enjoy faster game builds and convenient, distributed testing, without needing to procure, configure, operate, maintain, and upgrade fleets of physical computers. You can also consolidate development of cross-platform iOS, Windows, and Android apps onto AWS. This release unlocks the ability to move your game development pipelines from on-premises to AWS, enabling you to:

  • Quickly build, test, and sign. Provision and target macOS environments using Xcode in the cloud, along with popular game engines such as Unity, to build, smoke test, sign, and publish iOS mobile games to the App Store within minutes. Adjust provisioned capacity as needed, while only paying for the systems that are in use.
  • Create cross-platform build pipelines. Increase productivity and accelerate time to market by having all of your target builds in one place. Build across console, PC, and mobile in the cloud with Windows and Mac, then easily deploy your games globally at scale.
  • Extend your toolkits. Reduce costs and durable object storage with Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), scale block storage with Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), enable high storage bandwidth with AWS Nitro System, and monitor your games with Amazon CloudWatch.

To learn more and get started with Apple macOS Instances, check out Jeff Barr’s blog post or dive right into the documentation. Also, stay tuned for an upcoming technical walkthrough along with demo updates and new customer announcements. We would love to hear from you, so connect with us through the AWS Game Tech social media channels.

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*Newzoo Global Games Market Report October 2020
**AWS Game Tech Gamer Profiling Study, conducted Q3 2019, USA, Canada, Korea, China. 52% of all gamers play on either an iPhone or an iPad or other type of Tablet in a month.