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Microsoft purchases cloud gaming platform PlayFab

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Microsoft announced (opens in new tab) today that it has acquired PlayFab, a "complete backend platform for live games" that is used in more than 1200 games, including Killing Floor 2, Pathfinder Adventures, Battletech, and Planetary Annihilation. The company described the move as "an important step forward for gaming at Microsoft" and said that it will help make the creation of connected games more accessible for smaller-scale developers. 

PlayFab is a premade platform that provides a range of online services and analytics that enable developers "to focus on building great games instead of backend technology," the company said on its blog. The technology will compliment Microsoft's Azure cloud-based server infrastructure, which currently has servers operating in 42 locations around the world.   

"Our platform of scalable game services, game analytics, and LiveOps tools are helping more than 3,000 studios progress from shipping static software to creating games that scale gracefully and evolve over time with new content, live events, and frequent updates," PlayFab co-founder and CEO James Gwertzman said. 

"Today we power more than 1200 live games, and have served over 700 million players. We process more than 1.5 billion transactions a day, nearly 20,000 transactions a second. Our technology is used by some of the biggest entertainment companies, including Disney, NBC Universal, Wizards of the Coast, Nickelodeon, Bandai Namco, Rovio, and Capcom, as well as fast-growing indies like Fluffy Fairy, Nvizzio, and Hyper Hippo." 

"We’re mobilizing to pursue our extensive opportunity in a 100-plus-billion gaming market," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during a recent shareholder meeting. "This means broadening our approach to how we think about gaming end to end, about starting with games and how they’re creating and distributed, and how they’re played and viewed." 

The acquisition also appears to jibe with Microsoft's announcement last week that all of its first-party games will be included in its Xbox Game Pass subscription service. "We’ve only scratched the surface of the opportunity this new model brings to the industry and what we can deliver to our fans," Xbox boss Phil Spencer wrote last week (opens in new tab). "We firmly believe Xbox Game Pass will be a catalyst to create new opportunities for game developers and publishers to innovate in the way games are developed and delivered, leading to entirely new ways to play." 

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.