Amazon, a company which was originally an online bookstore, has slowly been getting into the gaming space. In 2014 they acquired Twitch, then the lead service in video game streaming. Last year they licensed a sophisticated game engine, CryEngine. There was not a lot of news about this, and it wasn’t until earlier this week that Amazon’s plans came into focus when they announced Lumberyard, an Amazon powered game engine.
What does it mean to be Amazon powered? Amazon’s web services are very easy to integrate into developers’ games, allowing them to add multiplayer or other online capabilities without having to worry about maintaining their own servers and scaling. Developers can choose to use private servers for online content, but they are restricted from using competing services like Microsoft Azure.
Lumberyard is open source and free to use. You can publish to a number of platforms without any licensing fees and it seems like Amazon is hoping that an influx of developers paying for AWS will cover the cost.
Another key feature of Lumberyard is integrated Twitch streaming. This will allow anybody to start streaming their game. ChatPlay is a Twitch API that developers can use so that viewers’ chat messages have real impacts in the game itself. There are a number of cool games that could be built with this concept. Game developers can leverage other types of Amazon services. What if Amazon Redshift was integrated for real time analysis of player movements?
Right now game engine does not support mobile platforms, just PC and game consoles. However, given Amazon’s Fire TV, it is very likely that TV support will come alongside support for smartphones. Amazon will have the ability to control the hardware, game engine, and app store, putting them in full control of their platform. Android being an open platform means that any Lumberyard-built game should also work on Android TVs.