When is the last time you bought a CD or a DVD?
Been a while right?
Now why is that?
Well, in one word, the cloud, Cloud Tech has enabled everything from mp3 downloads to 4k movie streaming, and now the cloud is ready to transform video games.
Okay, so now what?
I’m Dan Patterson for CNET and joining me is Eric Mirallas.
from Amazon, he has insight into the tech side of gaming, from downloads to storage and the future of streaming.
So you just announced you just released the Luna streaming service.
Tell us a little bit about this, the product, and the service attached to it.
Yeah, just a few days ago, we announced the beta launch for Amazon Luna.
And to be clear, this is our parent company, Amazon.com, that launched it.
But this is a consumer based service where players are going to be able on their fire TV stick or, you know on mobile devices including iOS stream a variety of games directly to their home without having to download or install anything.
So we’re really excited about technology we’re excited to get it out there and excited to get feedback from customers.
All right so help us understand this evolution we’ve seen a parallel evolution happened in music and movies with you know CDs or DVDs and then downloads and then finally streaming seems to be the it is the the dominant paradigm for both music and movies.
Why did it take longer for video games?
Yeah, I think there’s a few reasons.
One is, when you’re streaming a video or streaming music, the streaming protocol knows what’s coming next, right?
A song has, has a length of time video has chapters, right?
With a game kind of by design, you don’t know what’s going to happen next.
And so streaming that technology is actually Can be really challenging, right?
And it introduces a lot of variables that end consumers and customers can really feel.
So if something has a little bit of latency if moving your mouse takes a little bit of extra time, you can really feel that as a player.
And so one of the things that we’ve really focused on We’re developing Amazon Luna, and why we’re excited to announce this and why they chose to build this on AWUS is, we have global infrastructure all over the world.
It’s physically closer to customers so we can actually cut down the speed of light concerns that people have when they’re streaming a live game.
So this is kind of an newly crowded marketplace with Google stadia and Microsoft and x cloud, Titan, game pass and Luna, tell me where Amazon fits into the consumer part of the cloud game streaming equation.
Kind of the vision behind Luna generally is customers wanted an all you can eat option.
You know, when when people think of a streaming service, they think of prime video or a Netflix, right, where you have a lot of different options and you can try a variety of different tools.
And so that’s the that’s the vision behind Luna.
We wanted to take the channel concept that a lot of folks that use our fire TV devices are already familiar with and apply that to games.
And kind of one of the key things that I think is really interesting and compelling about Luna in particular is Luna is built on top of AWS And specifically, it’s built on top of our graphics compute system.
And when when developers are building A new game and a new console generation for example.
We have the PS5 and Xbox series X, just around the corner.
You see these big leaps and visuals and fidelity and sometimes the games change.
And one of the beautiful aspects of building on top of AWS is, when we update the underlying infrastructure every single time, Lunar and that development team gets to take advantage of those resources.
So every couple of years we’re talking about effectively a completely new console generation for a variety of different games all over the world.
So we think this is actually gonna be.
A huge sea change for the games industry moving forward.>> Okay, that graphic, the graphical fidelity and the tech behind it is fascinating.
Tell me more about the tech that powers this all you can eat model.
You have AWS, you have a Database services that are pretty dynamic.
What are the different technologies that go into building a service like Luna?
So you know, at its most kind of foundational level, it’s raw compute power, right?
So right now you can actually open you can log into AWS and you can get access to our TX capable Nvidia graphics Hardware in the cloud, physically close to where you are.
And that’s the same back end infrastructure that the Luna team is using for Amazon Luna.
And that’s really exciting.
So we the when the team is building Luna.
They were using what we call instances that we launched in 2017.
And then just about a year ago, we launched a brand new generation of RTX-capable hardware, right.
So that enabled things like ray tracing.
If you’re familiar with video cards, on your Local computer and all that team had to do was reboot.
And they’re on top of this brand new hardware so they were effectively building on top of a brand new generation.
So that’s kind of one.
Secondly is on we have At physical locations all over the world.
We have more than 24 regions, physical locations all over the world, and 77 availability zones.
And we actually have three more regions coming in Indonesia, in Osaka, Japan, and in Spain, coming on the horizon.
So our goal is to be physically closer to customers all over the world and we think that Luna Sitting on top of that technology, it’s gonna be a really great beneficiary of it.
So at least in my own coding and development projects, when I think about AWS, I think about scalability and elasticity, I don’t have to be committed to a huge
Project plan in order to kind of squeeze the best tech juice out of the product, which lets amateur developers like me, kind of **** around it also lets professionals build really interesting tools and especially during this It’s of COVID when when I think about gaming, I think about scalability.
How has the the service responded in the COVID era to this increase in not just gaming but gamers in general The individual consumers can feel this every single time they login to Fortnite to shoot at each other, right?
Is one key example.
Fortnite is drawn entirely on top of AWS.
Every single time you invade another clan in Clash of Clans, that’s powered by AWS as well.
So, we’re working already with 90% of the top game developers all over the world, big and small.
But I think that just specifically answer your question, what really accelerated, like from a change perspective of the last year, I think partially due to COVID was really.
The expansion of use cases in the games industry for the cloud so it’s not just about hosting for honor matches, right?
Or individual multiple game servers.
We have customers like Quantic Dream, the French studio behind heavy rain and Detroit become human when COVID hits You know, this is a high fidelity cinematic style studio.
Right when COVID hit, I mean that that killed productivity initially.
So what they decided to do is actually move the entire design ecosystem into the cloud.
And that way they could ship like a Wacom tablet to their individual artists and they could use AWS to have Powerful workstation that didn’t have to sit under their desk anymore.
And they and that actually enabled them to hire brilliant artists all over the world.
They didn’t have to just do this in Paris anymore.
So it actually really changed the business and the design process.
One more example.
So the folks behind Angry Birds they’ve used AWS actually To take the really like the really annoying parts of quality assurance, right?
So looking for bugs and testing things and the things that aren’t fun and don’t require opinions by humans, and they’ve offloaded that to machine learning algorithms in the cloud.
They released a game a couple years ago called Angry Bird stream blast.
And they are releasing upwards of 40 levels per week in this game.
So what they did was they built a bot on AWS that would basically act like a, two year old who just ate nothing but pixie sticks for a week.
And it would just like play complete chaos, you would hit the menu button 400 times to see what happened.
And it would look for bugs and these levels.
And they aggregate data that they gathered from those bots, help them make more fun gains faster by offloading that the drudgery of their quality assurance.
So there are just a couple of examples of how making games has changed in the COVID world, but thanks to the cloud.
Let’s widen the aperture a little bit here.
Let’s say I don’t care at all about video games but I do care about technology, especially technology that could change my life as a consumer or or in business in enterprise or startups.
What technologies are critically important, or even lessons have been critically important that you’ve learned in this process of building a cloud product for streaming video games that I could learn if I run an SMB or startup or even an enterprise firm.
I think the first thing I would do is kind of challenge the premise a little bit and say, you actually don’t need to think about infrastructure to the context of are you a small company or a big company?
I mean, the beauty of AWS is we have 175 services.
That’s a lot, right?
But if you take a step back and actually look at what’s on the menu, what you have is the full capability of Netflix and Amazon and Airbnb.
Lyft right, these giant companies at varying stages of their own maturity.
They’re using the exact same tools as an individual developer with an Amazon account experimenting and building for the first time.
So from a from a capability perspective, that’s what we think is so amazing about working with the cloud is We want to work with the entire generation of people building the next Stardew Valley’s right.
But we also want to work with the gearbox of the world building Borderlands three and we can do both at the same time, right and more importantly, those developers can evolve and grow it.
into those different companies.
All right, Eric mirallas.
This is fascinating.
I’m going to kill the tie and fire up some games.
I’m going to stream games.
What are you playing right now?
What are you streaming right now Am I streaming right now?
Well, firstly, what am I, again that I’ve been really enamored with lately is Carrion.
It’s published by devolver Digital.
It’s a really fun Metroidvania survival horror game.
It reminds me of john Carpenter’s the.
Thing a huge fan.
And then separately I am, you know, marrying off members of my family and Crusader Kings three and having very complicated, you know dynastic relationships that lasts more than 100 years and failing at it.
Okay, thank you very much Eric Morales from Amazon About the new Luna streaming device and the future of video games and streaming for CNET.
My name is Dan Patterson and this is now what.