Gaming it Up in the Cloud with AWS for Games
The gaming industry as a whole is huge with total global revenues of over $180 billion in 2021. For game tech in the cloud, however, the size of the global market was $691 million in 2021, so this part of the gaming industry is still quite young. In 2022, it increased to $1.02 billion and is expected to expand at a compounded annual growth rate of 45.8% to an anticipated $20.94 billion by 2030. Some of the key players in this market are AWS/Amazon, Apple, EA, Google, Intel, IBM, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Sony, Ubitus, and Tencent. This article is the first in what will be a series of blog posts on the topic of Game Tech in the Cloud.
Online video streaming is another incredibly large market with hundreds of millions of people streaming content from Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max; all of which are powered by AWS. While game tech is a more complex and challenging technology to stream, trends toward media streaming in the cloud are clearly increasing exponentially. With AWS’s experience of powering online streaming content along with their proven record for reliability, innovative cloud development and operations services, AWS is an obvious choice when it comes to doing game tech in the cloud.
AWS for Games is AWS’s response, and it includes 28 services encompassing cloud game development, game servers and networking, game analytics, AI and Machine Learning for games, and live game operations. Over the course of this blog series, we will explore these solutions areas in greater depth. For now, let’s briefly introduce them.
Cloud Game Development
Game development studios face the challenges of an increasingly geographically disparate workforce and the push to accelerate content creation and development time to production. Additionally, game studios are faced with the need to be vigilant in protecting their intellectual property. AWS provides global infrastructure for game development studios so that teams can create, build, and test no matter where they’re located. Additionally, compute power and development and infrastructure services can be spun up and down whenever and wherever as needed. IP and overall security can be increased through secure cloud pipelines, detailed monitoring, and automated remediation. Nimble Studio, virtual workstations, high speed, scalable storage and content rendering are all part of AWS’s global service solution for cloud game development.
Game Servers & Networking
Running game servers for multiplayer games can be challenging and expensive. Players expect a solid, low latency gaming experience while playing online multiplayer games. If the experience is poor, they will go elsewhere. AWS provides Amazon GameLift to globally reach players wherever they are so that latency is kept to the absolute minimum. Amazon GameLift is a managed game server hosting platform that supports all major game engines and cross-platform play. It will take care of auto-provisioning needed resources, deploying game servers, guarding against DDOS attacks, and provides full visibility into game performance and health. In short, Amazon GameLift takes the complication out of multiplayer game hosting and allows studios to devote their time and resources where needed instead of managing infrastructure all while significantly reducing on-demand costs associated with serving games.
Data Analytics is a powerful tool for innovation and creativity. Analytics for game data is no different, as it’s being used to make games more fun and engaging. This is being done primarily by analyzing behaviors of the game, the devices, the players, and how they interconnect to influence the experience, reveal what’s being done well, and where improvements and creativity should come to bare. AWS has robust, proven data tools such as Amazon Redshift, S3, SageMaker, and AWS Lake Formation that can help transform a business challenge into an idea and on to a solution. For game data analytics, ingestion and visualization of live streaming data is extremely important. The AWS Game Analytics Pipeline solution is one specific serverless solution that AWS offers that incorporates a number of their data analytics tools to focus specifically on the challenges and opportunities of game analytics.
AI & Machine Learning for Games
For the world of gaming studios and game hosting, content moderation can often become a burden on resources, people, and the bottom line. AI content moderation tools can work to protect against toxic or illegal behavior and content. Amazon ReKognition and Amazon Translate use artificial intelligence and machine learning to proactively solve the challenges of image, video, and language content moderation in order to help create safe gaming experiences. Additionally, game studios can use SageMaker Canvas for no/low-code game analytics, as well as BI and an accurate what-if analysis. Amazon provides the resources and services to allow gaming studios the ability to harness AI and ML for deep learning and content creation in order to power dynamic stories and environments and NPCs.
One new service that AWS has added to AWS for Games is Amazon Gamesparks (currently only in preview). Amazon Gamesparks allows game studios and gaming hosts to create the backend infrastructure to operate a live game without having to handle or think about all the extra infrastructure details. Gamesparks will optimize and scale the backend to adjust to the demand of the live game.
In upcoming posts, I will look in greater detail at these AWS for Games solutions and services for doing game tech in the cloud.
Daniel Fales, Solutions Architect for HPC and Media Streaming
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