Microsoft's new Game Stack Aims to Simplify the Game Development Process
We are on the cusp of a significant change in how games or developed and played. With cloud services from multiple vendors growing at a significant rate, the ability to develop games, natively in the cloud, and then stream them to any device in the world with low latency is quickly becoming a reality.
To little surprise, Microsoft is heavily pursuing this vision along with many other vendors like Google, Amazon, and Sony. And with today’s announcement of Game Stack by Microsoft, the Redmond-based company is hoping to make its the platform to develop your next generation title, the best in the business.
Game Stack at a high level is putting a bow around several services Microsoft already offers with a new marketing spin. The products include Azure, DirectX, Visual Studio, Xbox Live, App Center, and Havok. While all these services have been available previously with Azure, Microsoft is bringing PlayFab into the Azure family which the company acquired a year ago via acquisition.
Say Goodbye to Traditional PC Lifecycle Management
Traditional IT tools, including Microsoft SCCM, Ghost Solution Suite, and KACE, often require considerable custom configurations by T3 technicians (an expensive and often elusive IT resource) to enable management of a hybrid onsite + remote workforce. In many cases, even with the best resources, organizations are finding that these on-premise tools simply cannot support remote endpoints consistently and reliably due to infrastructure limitations.
With this addition to the Game Stack suite, PlayFab will bring with it managed game-development services, real-time analytics, and LiveOps capabilities that will utilize Azure compute and storage on the backend.
The idea is quite simple, building a game is becoming increasingly complex with each new generation and Microsoft is bundling together a suite of services that they hope will attract developers to its platform. The goal is to let PlayFab+Azure do the heavy lifting of backend functionality for the games with a near turn-key solution.
Starting today, in public preview, Microsoft is introducing PlayFab Matchmaking, a simple way to add matchmaking capabilities for multiplayer games that is available to every platform and all devices. And in private preview, are new tools to streamline the process of including voice chat, game analytics, user-generated content, and notifications, into your game.
As part of this announcement, Microsoft is also bringing Xbox Live to more platforms, that you can read about here, to increase the footprint of where its online platform is available.
While Game Stack may not be a revolutionary new announcement for game developers, and you could likely see this coming from a mile away, it’s a formalization of all the game development technologies Microsoft has under its roof. And by integrating gaming functionality across its cloud service layer, the goal is to make Azure the best place to build out the new generation of gaming titles.