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Amazon is rolling out its own virtual workstation tech

Amazon's GDC-week offerings include a suite of virtual game development machines built on Amazon Web Services.

It's getting real cloud-y at GDC this week. Today Amazon is announcing that it's rolling out an array of new cloud-based tools for game developers, including new virtual machine workstations that will let users access high-end developer machines via cloud computing.

These workstations and other bundles are being deployed under the banner of AWS for Games. Amazon is touting six different services under the banner, including Cloud Game Development, Game Servers, Game Security, Live Operations, Game Analytics, and Game artificial intelligence and machine learning.

But it's the announcement of virtual workstations that really should turn heads. They're bundled under AWS for Games' "Cloud Game Development" banner, and will come pre-loaded with tools from Parsec, Teradici, Tehama, Revolgy, and Epic Games. 

"With Cloud Game Development solutions, developers can create flexible, remote studios and deploy GPU-powered workstations allowing artists and designers to work on multiple large files in the cloud," Amazon noted in its announcement blog.

Head of AWS Game Tech Chris Lee told Game Developer that setup in Cloud Game Development services can reduce remote onboarding from "weeks" to "minutes." "While you would still have to download a build the first time on your machine, you can quickly get very high throughput depending on the instance type, as everything is in the cloud," he explained.

"Without the cloud the process could take up to three weeks, as you would have to order hardware and deal with possible supply chain issues, put the machine together, get it imaged and then download the build."

Amazon is also debuting two new tools for live game production: Amazon GameSparks and and Amazon GameKit. GameSparks is "a fully managed game backend-as-a-service launching in preview that provides the tools to simplify backend development."

Meanwhile Gamekit is "an open-source solution that enables game developers to add cloud-based game features with AWS Well-Architected backend solutions and retain the full ability to customize them directly from their game engine."

Any cloud-based services need to grapple with the fact that many developers don't live in regions with high-quality internet access. In a statement to Game Developer, Lee addressed this concern, stating that Amazon is working on its own services to expand internet access. "We are continuing to expand our infrastructure with AWS Wavelength, AWS Local Zones, and AWS Outposts," he stated. 

"Each of these bring the connectivity of the cloud closer to developers and in turn support low-latency, uninterrupted gameplay."

Given how many mid-to-large-sized game developers rely on Amazon Web Services for numerous backend solutions already, it seems useful for Amazon to expand its toolset more into the development side, especially in the space of remote game development. 

Now developers looking to recruit from more geographic locations can use Amazon's services to expand those possibilities.

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