From its Retro Zone shopping department to its acquisition of Twitch, Amazon's interests in gaming is plainly evident. It even started its own studio. So it might not be much of a surprise that it announced a new service called "GameOn" at the Game Developers Conference today.
GameOn is a set of tools for developers that allows them to create cross-platform competitions for their games quickly. The APIs leverage Amazon's AWS cloud infrastructure to eliminate the need for end-to-end server maintenance. The service will also allow developers to offer physical prizes for in-game competitions --- with Amazon's marketplace being the supplier naturally.
The mega online retailer will charge about $0.0033 per play for the service, but for a limited time, the first 35,000 plays per month are free. Developers are also welcome to use the APIs for no charge until May 1.
GameOn is available anywhere AWS exists, but unfortunately, the Amazon supplied prizes will only be available in the US. Those in other countries will have to settle for in-game rewards provided by the developer.
"Competitive gaming is much more than eSports. Any time you play against another person, you are participating in a competitive game."
The service has been in testing with Eden Games, nWay, Mindstorm, and others. GameOn supports a wide variety of titles and because it is platform agnostic will allow competitions between players regardless of what device they use.
"GameOn saved us months of development and a whole lot of maintenance and logistical overhead in the long run," Eden Games CMO Pascal Clarysse told Engadget.
Amazon has shown an active interest in competitive gaming that is more casual than eSports, even offering webinars on how to implement competitive gaming to increase revenue. GameOn looks to be another way that the company can help developers while simultaneously creating a new revenue stream.
"Game developers have consistently told us they are looking for ways to increase player engagement and retention," said Amazon Competitive Gaming Director Marja Koopmans at the company's GDC 2018 keynote. "We built Amazon GameOn to give developers simple, yet powerful tools to foster community through competitive gameplay."