Microsoft Acquires Gaming Services Startup PlayFab

PlayFab Microsoft

The online gaming industry is growing at an exponential rate with every passing year and major tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, are investing heavily in the market. Earlier this month, Google invested $120 million in a Chinese live-stream mobile gaming platform and now, Microsoft has acquired PlayFab, a Seattle-based startup which offers game developers a platform to host and operate online games.

PlayFab, which helps game developers launch their titles online quickly by offering simplified back-end services, will be integrated into Microsoft’s Azure gaming group. In a blog post regarding the acquisition, Kareem Choudhry, Corporate VP of Gaming at Microsoft, said:

“Together, Azure and PlayFab will further unlock the power of the intelligent cloud for the gaming industry, enabling game developers and delighting gamers around the world.”

The company had previously raised around $13 million in funding from investors and it operates 1,200 ‘live games’ on the platform. PlayFab claims that it currently processes more than 1.5 billion transactions per day. To help game developers, the platform hosts and operates online games, and also provides analytics tools to help them understand and monetize users.

PlayFab’s CEO James Gwertzman announced the deal in a separate blog post and said:

“Matt and I launched PlayFab four years ago to solve a burning need. Games were rapidly shifting from packaged goods, sold in boxes, to “always on” digital services, requiring sophisticated server-based infrastructure to host and operate. Built well, these backend systems enabled games to engage, retain, and monetize players like never before, with longevity in the top grossing charts measured in years. Built poorly, they crashed and burned on launch day.”

Other than the recent acquisition, Microsoft has also been active in other consumer-facing gaming acquisitions, including its acquisition of the interactive streaming services Beam and the social VR app AltspaceVR, in the recent past. The companies have not disclosed any terms of the deal.

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