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Amazon on Monday is introducing a cloud service that will help developers add competitions and giveaways into video games.
GameOn, as the service is called, is outside Amazon's cloud business, Amazon Web Services, but it's nevertheless an attempt by Amazon to outcompete the likes of Google and Microsoft to gain business from game developers. Last week, Microsoft announced the formation of a cloud gaming division, as the Verge reported. Besides going after specific industries, Amazon has also sought to grow its cloud by building data centers in more places around the world and lowering prices.
GameOn makes it easy for developers to add several features to games, including competitions that players can invite friends to, leaderboards for ranking players, leagues and tournaments. Microsoft recently acquired PlayFab, whose technology includes tournaments and leaderboards for games.
"When you play on a device, you can't play with someone who's on a different device. We want to break that boundary," Marja Koopmans, Amazon's director of competitive gaming, told CNBC in an interview. The technology can be added to games for mobile devices, consoles and PCs.
GameOn also provides an integration with Amazon's e-commerce marketplace. Developers can choose from certain products to provide to people who win games, and winners won't need to worry about paying shipping costs or whether products can be shipped to them, Koopmans said.
GameOn is like Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant and the Amazon Dash Services portfolio in the sense that it's not under the AWS umbrella — even though it does use AWS computing resources. But the people who developed GameOn work closely with teams whose products are directed at game developers, Koopmans said, and she acknowledged that AWS is a brand name unto itself.
"Amazon is not that siloed in terms of organizations versus companies I've worked for in the past, and so it's a little bit more fluid," said Koopmans, who has worked at Microsoft and Philips.
AWS' first services for gaming appeared in early 2016, with the Lumberyard game engine and the GameLift game server hosting tool.