LumberyardNo, I’m not trying to turn TeleRead into an Amazon fan club. But there’s just so much interesting news coming out about the world’s most important digital publishing platform that it’s hard to ignore. And now Amazon has released its own game development platform, Lumberyard, for free download.

According to Amazon, “Lumberyard is free, including full source code. You can deeply customize Lumberyard for your team, vision, and project today, and for future projects in years to come. There are no seat fees, subscription fees, or requirements to share revenue. You only pay for the AWS services you choose to use.”

That AWS acronym will give you the key to Amazon’s monetization plans with Lumberyard – and its strategic intentions. Lumberyard is designed to integrate deeply with Amazon Web Services, the cloud infrastructure platform that is an ever more important component of Amazon’s revenue streams and growth plans. Specifically, this is about Amazon GameLift, “built on AWS’s highly available cloud infrastructure,” which “allows you to quickly scale high-performance game servers up and down to meet player demand – without any additional engineering effort or upfront costs.”

Lumberyard itself offers “native integration to the AWS Cloud to make it easier to create live and multiplayer games, and native integration of Twitch features that help you connect games to the world’s leading social video platform and community for gamers.” Twitch, originally an online gaming platform, was acquired by Amazon in 2014, and obviously the big A hasn’t been idle in trying to put its new toy to work.

As a games engine, Lumberyard certainly sounds attractive, “based upon CryEngine, which has created award-winning graphical fidelity and benchmark-setting graphical performance. Your artists get powerful rendering technology and authoring tools to create near-photorealistic 3D environments and stunning real-time effects.” It’s also not conspicuously targeted to mobile games or apps for Amazon’s own App Store at all. As the Amazon blurb states, “Lumberyard provides free access to its native C++ source code. C++ is the language that over 90% of top PC and console games are written in.” Obviously, these are the preferred platforms for Lumberyard at rollout at least.

If Lumberyard is anything to go by, we can expect to see Amazon lever and combine its creative assets and its cloud infrastructure into building bigger and bigger integrated media and content portfolios. On the ebooks and digital publishing side, Amazon Books and KDP could be only the start. After all, why leave that great AWS infrastructure lying idle? Lumberyard is proof that Amazon is ready to serve up all the content creation tools for  eager creatives to play with, and is just as ready to be hands-off, upfront at least, in income sharing and technical lock on the results. It looks like AWS integration will give Amazon all the monetization opportunities and exclusivity in needs, through the back door …


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