Microsoft has purchased PlayFab for an undisclosed sum. The USA-based firm specialises in cloud-operated back-end services for games, such as player management, social features, testing and analytics. Similarly, as confirmed back in March, GameSparks has been bought by Amazon, another specialist in games-related live-ops.
There’s a swell of available platforms in the games landscape right now, across a variety of device groups. This is happening alongside the broader trend of operating games as services, making for a more complex industry topography for developers to have to navigate. There’s never been this scale of opportunity, but also has there never been such pressure on game-makers for diligence, both before and after a game’s release.
Games development is also in an extremely productive phase, with both quality and quantity of output meeting the appetites of an expanding audience. But offering an appealing platform to content partners isn’t just about the extent of addressable market. There’s a greater accent being placed upon the support that platform owners can deliver to developers and publishers, in terms of facilitating ease-of-use or removing pain points related to running games as intricate, connected propositions.
A key point of differentiation for platforms will be the speed and detail of responsiveness their back-end services can enable, so it’s no surprise to see the consolidation of smaller back-end specialists into the owners of larger platforms (such as Amazon and Microsoft). The B2B courting of developers and publishers will only become more intensive, as the industry continues to evolve.
We intend to publish a detailed profiling of this situation, in terms of Microsoft’s move toward becoming a more involved service-oriented solution for games, in the near future.