Google and the publisher of 'Assassin's Creed' are teaming up for a new weapon in the cloud wars
- Google and Ubisoft have teamed to create Agones, an open-source software project designed to makes it easy to set up servers for online games.
- While Agones is still in its initial stages, Google and Ubisoft hope it will attract interest from other developers and publishers.
- Agones is built on Kubernetes, a key Google-created cloud-computing technology.
- Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are all jockeying to develop features to attract online gaming companies as customers of their cloud services.
Google is teaming up with video-game giant Ubisoft to make it easier to get online games up and running.
Together the companies have created Agones, an open-source software project for game developers that they are unveiling on Tuesday. Agones is designed to make it super simple to set up the servers that power online games."We know what it means to make games and make game servers," said Carl Dionne, a development director with the online technology group at Ubisoft, the publisher of the popular "Assassin's Creed" game series. With Agones, Ubisoft can "iterate faster," he said.
Agones is built on Kubernetes, a Google-created technology that's taken Silicon Valley by storm. Kubernetes has become a major standard for software containers, a trendy way to build software that works the same way, whether you're running it on a MacBook or a cluster of high-powered servers in a data center.
By using Agones, game developers will be able to reap the benefits of Kubernetes. It should make it relatively easy for them to scale up a lot of servers for their online games. And, because Kubernetes is already so popular among developers, using Agones means systems architects likely won't have to learn a lot of new skills.
What's more, Google and Ubisoft have designed Agones so that developers can customize it as they see fit.
"To provide the best experience for gamers, we need to have more control over the data centers where the games are deployed," Dionne said.
Because Agones is open source, developers will be able to download it for free and tweak or build on it. Google hopes a wide array of game developers will help improve it, said Mark Mandel, developer advocate for Google Cloud.Agones isn't yet being used to power any games, but Google and Ubisoft hope that changes as the software matures.
Agones is a part of a much bigger battle
Agones is one front of a much larger battle in cloud computing. Google Cloud is currently in third place behind market leader Amazon Web Services and Microsoft's second-place Azure service.
Cloud-computing service providers love to have video game companies as customers. Smash-hit online video games typically require absurd amounts of computing resources - and their developers are often all-to-happy to pay the Googles, Microsofts, and Amazons of the world for those resources.
"We're interested in running those kinds of workloads," Mandel said.
All three of the major cloud providers are trying to prove they have the chops to make life easier for game developers. Earlier this year, Microsoft bought a gaming infrastructure startup called PlayFab. Amazon recently confirmed that it bought a gaming backend service called GameSparks.
Google worked together with Ubisoft to create Agones in part because the search giant was looking for a way to further its own reach into the gaming industry. At the same time, Ubisoft, was exploring ways to get more out of its computing infrastructure so it could spend more time actually making games.
Agones was a "happy story of serendipity," Mandel said.Agones could tap into Google's advantage with Kubernetes. Although Kubernetes can be installed on any server in any data center or on any cloud-computing service, Google has a reputation for being the best place to run it, since the company created it.
Google's clearly hoping developers will approach Agones in same way, associating it with the search giant, even though it can run anywhere.
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