Amazon Web Services has just made a serious play for the video game market. The cloud computing giant on Tuesday launched Lumberyard, a free, open-source 3D game engine for building cloud-connected, cross-platform games.
With Lumberyard, AWS is courting game developers, integrating its Twitch video service and ultimately eyeing virtual reality. Support for mobile devices and VR headsets is in the works and should be available within a couple of months, Amazon said.
The engine is "deeply integrated" with AWS cloud computing services, as well as social and streaming capabilities from Twitch, which now has more than 1.7 million monthly broadcasters and more than 100 million monthly viewers, according to Amazon.
To that end, one of Lumberyard's key strengths is connectivity. Amazon is pitching the engine as a way for developers to design games that can support massive social communities right out of the gate, rather than wrestle with potential server issues and building custom engine components to do so.
Lumberyard comes with a Twitch ChatPlay feature that lets game viewers interact with broadcasters in real-time. There's also Twitch JoinIn, which allows a broadcaster to invite a member of the chat audience into the game.
AWS also announced Tuesday the launch of Amazon GameLift, a service for deploying, operating, and scaling session-based multiplayer games. The combination of GameLift and Lumberyard allows developers to scale game servers up and down based on player demand, the company said.
Unlike Lumberyard, however, GameLift will charge a small per-player fee.
"When we've talked to game developers, they've asked for a game engine with the power and capability of leading commercial engines, but that's significantly less expensive, and deeply integrated with AWS for the back-end and Twitch for the gamer community." said Amazon Games VP Mike Frazzini.
Lumberyard is currently in beta and free to download now.