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Pronnoy Dutta
Pronnoy Dutta

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AWS for Games: Worth it?

Why AWS is so Popular?

If you’re in the cloud industry, you already know AWS is the most broadly adopted cloud platform, with a plethora of services(more than 200) being offered to us from their global data centers.
From infrastructure technologies like compute, storage, databases to more platform based technologies like Analytics, Internet of Things, Data Lakes, Blockchain, Machine Learning and AI.

Heck, they have services for fields which I thought it was impossible to have the cloud provide functionality for(Quantum Technology and Robotics).

Plus, they have like 84 Availability Zones within 26 geographical regions and many more to come soon all over the world.

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With the boom of the gaming industry and the emergence of Web 3.0 in accordance with the metaverse, cloud providers are competing to change the techniques of traditional game developers and their way of creating games.

Both Amazon and Microsoft have recently unveiled their game-development centric solutions for game developers and it is pretty evident that both seek to capitalize on game studios to move to the cloud.
AWS has recently launched 2 services on top of their existing stack of Game services: AWS GameSparks and AWS GameKit (more in detail later)

So why, you would ask, would you want for game developers and game studios to shift from traditional ways and transition to the cloud?

  • With the cloud, there’s no managing infrastructure now! Developers can focus on what they do best, that is building fun and innovative games. No need of spending your time and resources on thinking if your servers are going to scale in the way you would want to or managing terabytes and petabytes of data with the ever changing data.
    Cloud takes care of these and more!
    With AWS Game Tech, AWS provides you virtual servers to carry out game development ON THE CLOUD!
    That means the unmatched high performance, scalability, high availability, durability that you’ve come to expect from AWS.

  • Due to its integration with partners like AMD, Nvidia, Epic, Rovio etc. you get preconfigured machines offering tons of functionality to your game (You can get an Unreal Engine AMI from the AWS Marketplace which comes loaded with the latest version of UE and all its prerequisites for instantaneous creation in the cloud).

  • One of the more interesting things that you can do with AWS for games is, if you’re an iOS game developer, you can provision their EC2 Mac Instances(virtual machines running macOS) to develop, test games rather than buying a fully functional 4000 dollar iMac.

These solutions also enable studios to build distributed development pipelines reducing the security risk of distributed hardware and intellectual property across remote employee environments, while using Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Mac instances to build and test iOS and macOS games.

  • You can create full studios, workstations, create build pipelines, do version control, create 3D worlds using their Open 3D Engine. The limits are endless.

AWS solution areas for game developers

Let’s break down the six solution areas AWS promises to provide services for:

  1. Cloud Game Development: Touched a bit upon earlier, developers can now create GPU powered workstations or flexible, remote studios to build your games.
  2. Game Servers: Rather than focusing heavily on game operations(design, develop, operate dedicated server solutions to support highly variable global traffic for session-based games, game servers allow teams to run games on the cloud at scale with secure, resizable compute compacity which provide uninterrupted game experiences through their fully managed services.
  3. Live Operations: This houses 2 of the newest products by AWS: AWS GameSparks and AWS GameKit. GameSparks: With GameSparks, you can now add prebuilt backend game backend features such as authentication, player messaging, managed player data, or create custom game features by writing server code(A fully managed backend-as-a-service). GameKit: GameKit allows game developers to add cloud-based game features with AWS Well-Architected backend solutions and retain the full ability to customize them directly from their game engine. AWS GameKit is launching with four features — Identity and Authentication, User Gameplay Data, Achievements, Game State Cloud Saving.
  4. Game Analytics: Using the AWS Game Analytics Pipeline, you can now configure and deploy scalable, serverless data pipelines to ingest, store and analyze your game data which can help to give you quick insights on your games and applications.
  5. Game AI and ML: From detecting fraud and predicting player behavior, to generating lifelike speech from text and automating playtesting, ML and AI can give a massive edge to your games and make game development easier.
  6. Game Security: DDoS attacks, data breaches on your games can hamper player experience causing decrease in your player base. You can now make use of services like AWS Shield, AWS GuardDuty and AWS WAFs to protect your games against DDoS attacks, monitor game health and in game errors/anomalies.

There’s a ton more functionality that AWS provides, this was just a high level overview of the services AWS provides and what you can incorporate in your games.

Eh.. Who would use it anyway?
Fortnite, one of the most played games in the world, with more than 200 million players around the world, runs entirely on AWS. I was awestruck when I found out that one of the games I used to play so much was hosted fully on the cloud!

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Even games like PUBG, Clash of Clans, Call Of Duty make use of AWS services to improve the gaming experience.
Riot, Rovio, Epic, Activision, Supercell, WB Games, Ubisoft and many more game development studios are partnered with AWS and make use of AWS’s resources one way or the other.

Final Thoughts

If you are a standalone game developer or a full grown company, deploying your game on the cloud is a must for you. You won't believe the resources- money, time and workforce you will be saving which you can provision onto other things.

This was my first attempt at writing a blog, so if you enjoyed reading, like and follow for more quality content :)

Links to go through:

AWS For Games Blog
AWS Gamekit
AWS GameSparks

Discussion (3)

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dasanasak profile image
Dosa Nasyak • Edited on

Ok, if there is a serious budget and you have an extremely large project, then AWS is very cool, but they do not specialize in Gamedev, in fact, neither does DigitalOcean. If you need maximum efficiency for gamedev tasks, you should consider Gcore. The company, by the way, puts a serious emphasis on gamedev, they even worked with such giants as Wargaming and Albion Online, you definitely heard about World of Tanks. So, they were very flattering about them as an alternative to AWS, Microsoft, DigitalOcean. And the prices are much better at Gcore.

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lola_tray profile image
Lola Tray Rosendo

G-core is a cool option for games, for sure. We raised server lineage 2 by working with them. I don’t know how it is now, it was 3 years ago, but then everything was great.

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dasanasak profile image
Dosa Nasyak

Now they are even better, of course. Generally the best option as an alternative to large companies