The evolution of backend IT functionality moving to the Cloud from private data centers is speeding up. The evolution is becoming a revolution. The functional reality of studio operations and the general business of game development intersects with the Cloud more every day.

Let’s explore some touch points between the Cloud, and Games, and where AWS can help your studio and your game.


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What is Cloud Gaming?

Cloud Gaming is best described as a form of online gaming, and is sometimes called “gaming on demand” and “gaming as a service” or GaaS. There are two main types, one based on file streaming and the other based on video streaming. The goal is usually to provide a simple, online method to play a game though any device with internet capability.

This is usually set with a thin client architecture, where the game is stored, hosted, rendered and execute from a server in the cloud. The server is doing the heavy processing, so it reduces the technical resources needed on the client device. The user makes inputs on their device (button pushes, lever pulls, etc., all the game actions) and these inputs are sent to the server for processing. One other popular option is where a small, initial portion of the game is downloaded to a local device, so the player can start playing quickly, and more of the game downloads as needed as the player progresses.

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Supercell, a mobile game developer in Finland, chose AWS for their Cloud Gaming server.

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Is Cloud Gaming the Future of Gaming?

The first trend is the market for games is truly becoming global. Through the power of the internet for digital downloads, streaming, and the growth of mobile networks, literally billions of people are getting access to mobile devices and networks for the first time. Intersect this with the free-to-play games in the casual game space, and tens of millions of new players are entering markets every year. With 12 regions word wide and growing, AWS has the global footprint you need for your game.

A second trend keying off of this, is that games will dynamically price and position per market, allowing new players to easily begin game play in a growing variety of ways, no matter the platform or game genre. Starting to play will get easier for all these new players, and free-to-play is just one tactic among many.

The Amazon Appstore has programs like Amazon Underground, using a variant of free-to-play to monetize the entire playing audience. They launched Amazon Merch to help studios engage players with fan t-shirts, roping in a retail experience.

Community is a third trend to keep an eye on. Viral marketing relies on the connectedness of social and digital media. Companion apps, like Fallout Shelter to Fallout 4, or Destiny’s app where it puts community alerts on your mobile device tie the “floating screens” of tablets and smart phone to console and PC game experiences. This meta connectivity to a core game and constant engagement outside the core game play experience helps bind a community together. Which then leads to an ultimate expression of user-generated content like Twitch. Players become broadcasters of their own content, and viewing audiences are swiftly going from passive viewer to engaged participant, often in real time. eSports is yet another expression of this, where players are not just consumers of game content.

Amazon Game Services recently launched Amazon Lumberyard, a free game engine, with Twitch integration baked in for community support.

Things are moving fast in the games space, but AWS is there to help solve the issues of these new dynamics shaping the industry. We dive a little deeper into topic below, with links to customer use cases we think you will find helpful.

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Frontier Games scaled their resources to keep up with demand of the current trends.

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Is Cloud Gaming the Future of Gaming?

The smartphone has changed everything. Since the advent of the iPhone in 2007, smart phones and tablets have outpaced PC and Laptop purchases. The smartphone and tablet have become de facto gaming platforms, with device performance standards today that rival early generation consoles. Also, upgrades to cellular and broadband networks globally have stabilized data transfer to those mobile devices, and that stability is only going to get faster and more stable.

This combination of device penetration into the global market, the drop in device pricing and the increase in device capability, plus the increasing access to stable

  • Old games that worked on legacy hardware will be viable for conversion to mobile gaming, especially on tablets. The entire game vaults of console game companies will now be viable options of play to entirely new markets, and global market segment demographics.
  • For many regions and many new players, this will be the first time they will see this game content and own any sort of game playing platform. The amount of new players will number in the billions, especially in emerging markets like India and Southeast Asia.
  • Digital distribution from the cloud will reduce costs to players to game content, and widen access to games at a level where digital music and movie access is today.
  • Super computers in the cloud can cloud render high end games that far exceed the normal hardware players are able to own. The access to stable, broadband will be the only bottleneck to either kind of content.

While Cloud Gaming may not be “the” future of gaming, it will have a large place in the future of gaming.

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King, a web games company that needs to scale as quickly as they grow, uses AWS as they focus on their future as a gaming company.

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Adoption of Cloud Gaming

There is still a mix and churn of business models and companies looking to capitalize on the intersections of the cloud and games. There are no clear market leaders in this space. However, AWS has services and solutions that support cloud gaming, no matter the architecture. Cloudfront for CDN, Redshift for Analytics, and EC2 and S3 for game hosting are fine places to start. If you’re thinking of making a cloud rendered game, or using a CDN to stream your game to players, check out what AWS has to offer.

Customer References »


We can help you get started with a consultation from our sales and architecture organization, you can begin your own pilot today, or you can find out more information on Cloud Gaming.

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