The services, called Lumberyard and GameLift, were announced Tuesday.
Lumberyard, which is currently available as a beta offering, is a 3D game engine designed for creating games and connecting them easily to other AWS cloud services.
"Amazon Lumberyard helps developers build beautiful worlds, make realistic characters, and create stunning real-time effects," the company said. "With Amazon Lumberyard’s visual scripting tool, even non-technical game developers can add cloud-connected features to a game in minutes (such as a community news feed, daily gifts, or server-side combat resolution) through a drag-and-drop graphical user interface."
Lumberyard currently supports console and PC game development. Mobile and virtual reality support will arrive soon, Amazon says.
Lumberyard is free to developers, but the company hopes to make money on the offering by encouraging programmers to pair it with GameLift, a service for deploying cloud-based games. GameLift costs a per-user fee, in addition to standard AWS fees.
But Amazon appears optimistic that game developers will find the costs worthwhile. In particular, the company seems eager to encourage programmers to leverage the AWS cloud to make development for games as simple as other types of app development, by outsourcing many of the services and programming interfaces that are required for building modern games.
That's an interesting move. Previously, the gaming industry hasn't seen much love from big-name cloud providers, least of all in the realm of development. AWS-based development tools, combined with game hosting features, could prove particularly attractive for an industry that hasn't seen them before.