Although Amazon continues to rattle the retail industry with massive acquisitions such as Whole Foods Market and Souq, its highly successful enterprise cloud division is leading the company in yet another direction — building and hosting game development platforms.
Amazon has reportedly acquired GameSparks, a backend platform provider for game developers, for approximately $10 million. The Telegraph first reported the acquisition, but neither party has confirmed the deal.
GameSparks already is an Amazon partner, using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform as its main hosting platform. Amazon hosts GameSparks on its AWS Marketplace.
Amazon’s interest in GameSparks fits in with what it has built so far in the gaming space, and specifically with games hosted in the cloud. AWS has targeted gaming as one of its verticals; it already offers a range of back-end servers and hosting services for mobile, console, PC and online game developers.
Upon joining the game development cloud services arena, Amazon built services such as Lumberyard, a free game engine integrated with AWS, and GameLift, for deploying and managing servers for multiplayer games.
AWS remains the company’s main growth driver, expanding 42% year-over-year in Q2 and generating $916 million in operating income. That’s more than double the North American business’ $436 million in operating income, which experienced a massive 38% dip from last year. With AWS such a key revenue component for the e-Commerce giant, Amazon needs to continue driving growth through the division. Deals like the rumored GameSparks acquisition do just that.
TechCrunch reported that the AWS division is working on new mixed reality (augmented and virtual reality) services for an anticipated launch later this year at its annual re:invent conference. Additionally, Amazon is reportedly working on a messaging app that will feature a way to deliver games to consumers. If all these possibilities become realities, Amazon may be fully committing itself to a clientele of game developers.