Microsoft Acquires Cloud-Based Gaming Startup PlayFab

The buy will allow game developers to run their game analytics, management and monetization services on Azure.

Microsoft cloud

Add PlayFab to Microsoft's growing list of cloud-related buys.

The Redmond, Wash., technology giant announced on Jan. 29 that it had acquired PlayFab, a startup from neighboring Seattle whose tools enable developers to build, launch and manage PC, console and mobile games with cloud-enabled components and multiplayer elements. Financial terms were not disclosed.

PlayFab offers a variety of game management and analytics services, including player authentication, leaderboards, virtual currency tracking, player engagement, commerce and more. The platform is used on more than 1,200 games and reaches 700 million gamers, according to the company.

Each day, the platform processes more than 1.5 billion transactions. Customers include Capcom, Disney and Bandai Namco.

Adding PlayFab to Microsoft's growing catalog of cloud-based software development tools aligns with the company's long-standing goal of making Azure a go-to destination for coders.

"PlayFab's backend services reduce the barriers to launch for game developers, offering both large and small studios cost-effective development solutions that scale with their games and help them engage, retain and monetize players," wrote Kareem Choudhry, corporate vice president of Gaming at Microsoft, in a blog post. "PlayFab enables developers to use the intelligent cloud to build and operate games, analyze gaming data and improve overall gaming experiences."

In a separate blog, James Gwertzman, CEO and co-founder of PlayFab, said the transaction will help his company's platform spread across the markets served by Microsoft's globe-spanning cloud.

"Microsoft, with its deep expertise in gaming and cloud computing, is a perfect home for PlayFab as we expand our platform and features," stated Gwertzman. "Our customers are worldwide, and Microsoft's global presence and world-class Microsoft Azure server infrastructure complement PlayFab's services, making it even easier for studios to focus on building great games instead of back end technology."

PlayFab isn't Microsoft's first cloud-inspired acquisition of 2018.

On Jan. 3, the software maker announced it was in the process of snapping up Avere Systems, a cloud HPC (high-performance computing) data storage company, for an undisclosed amount. The Pittsburgh-based firm specializes in SMB (Server Message Block) and NFS (Network File System) storage for cloud, data center and HPC workloads on both Linux and Windows systems.

Last year also saw a number of buys aimed at strengthening Microsoft's cloud portfolio.

In January 2017, Microsoft acquired Simplygon, a Swedish provider of software that enables game and virtual reality developers to squeeze complex 3D models down to size, allowing their creations to render well on PCs, smartphones and other devices with relatively modest graphics capabilities. The company's automated 3D data-optimization technology would go on to form the basis of Simplygon Cloud, which Microsoft launched in December 2017.

Cycle Computing became part of the Microsoft's corporate family in August 2017. The cloud orchestration software provider for HPC workloads, and charter member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, delivers software that enables organizations to harness the resources of massive cloud providers for their compute-intensive applications, rather than invest in expensive supercomputers or clusters.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...