Amazon Web Services (AWS) – commonly known for their cloud computing and hosting services – is now offering game dev tools in the form of Lumberyard and GameLift, an engine and multiplayer management system respectively.
Lumberyard is a fully-fledged game engine based off of the venerable CryEngine with input from Double Helix Games, which Amazon now owns. Through AWS web services and Twitch integration into the mix, and you have yourself ann engine claimed to be able to create AAA games.
Those AWS web services is also how Amazon plans on making money off of this endeavour, as the engine is completely free to download and use in your games, including the source code. The company is banking on developers later using AWS’ services for their games, which is when money will need to exchange hands. That being said, if a developer decides to make a purely singleplayer game, Amazon gets zilch.
That’s not some insider trading or back alley advice either, in the FAQ for Lumberyard the question of singleplayer is brought up, and met with the answer: “No, in this case you would pay us nothing.”
Gamelift, on the other hand, is entirely focused on multiplayer. The service is intended to get games online with cloud servers. While free to download and implement, you will be charged for the capacity you use on those servers. Its pricing page is, as you’d expect, in US dollars, but as mentioned before its tied to usage.
What does this all mean for you? If you’re someone who only plays games, not much. More variety in the development space usually gives developers more freedom, and more free software could lead to a discount being passed to the consumers. Amazon is also currently working on games using their own tools, which we should see soon.
If you are a game dev, this may be a new tool in your tool box, and it may even become your software of choice. We suggest you check out the useful links below and get experimenting with the free beta.
These services are available for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 at the moment, with mobile, Linux, Mac and virtual reality support coming later.
- Amazon Lumberyard website
- Lumberyard FAQ
- Download the Lumberyard beta for free
- Amazon GameLift website
- GameLift FAQ