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Microsoft is one of the biggest gaming brands in the world. Xbox is a one of the leaders in consoles, Windows is the PC gaming platform, and multi-billion purchases of companies like Activision Blizzard ant Bethesda makes Microsoft arguably the premier game publisher. However, in cloud where Xbox Cloud Gaming is growing, Microsoft faces stiff competition from Amazon.

Yes, Amazon and Microsoft in a battle for supremacy in a cloud industry, hardly a surprise, is it? Amazon Web Services (1) and Microsoft Azure (2) are the two leading players in cloud services. Both companies are at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this week. While Microsoft’s focus is more all-encompassing across the gaming spectrum, it also includes cloud.

Cloud has become a new frontier across industries, it only makes sense that gaming will be part of the revolution. Microsoft’s plans are more known, whether in the consumer space or as a cloud provider. This week at GDC, Amazon is making a direct push against Microsoft by launched AWS for Games.

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This bundles AWS services into a package for game developers to create, test. Microsoft is countering with Azure Game Development Virtual Machine.

AWS for Games builds on Amazon’s existing game development services. Azure Game Development Virtual Machine sees Microsoft deliver a set of services for developing games in the cloud. For example, Unreal Engine, Visual Studio, Blender and more tools are supported.

New Era

When we talk about Microsoft and Amazon as competitors in cloud gaming, I do not mean Amazon is about to drop a rival to Xbox Cloud Gaming. Formerly known as Project xCloud, the Microsoft platform allows users to stream Xbox games on any eligible device. No, Amazon is not taking that patch into pure gaming software/hardware.

Instead, both Microsoft and Amazon are at GDC saying “we are here to provide the cloud services that underpin your gaming experiences.” In a direct pitch to developers, Amazon is marketing Amazon Web Services and Microsoft is pushing Azure.

“Every few years, the games industry undergoes a transformation — a reinvention of itself,” says Sarah Bond, corporate vice president of game creator experience and ecosystem at Microsoft. “New platforms and new technologies make way for new genres, new gameplay and new IP. Today, we’re in the midst of one of those transformative moments.”

Amazon thinks the same. “Game developers are embracing industry-wide transformation,” says Chris Lee, head of game tech services at Amazon.

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