Social gaming continues to be a growing trend in the game industry and now Microsoft is preparing to help game developers in that genre get their projects up and running via its Windows Azure cloud computing service. Venture Beat reports that later this week Microsoft will release a software tool kit for Windows Azure that should make it easier for game developers to create such games and have them be launched and supported by Azure.
The tool kit will allow game developers to add in features such as "authentication, gamer achievements, leaderboards, in-app purchases, monetization" and more. According to Daniel Apple, the director of marketing for Azure, "If you just want to concentrate on the game and don’t want to deal with hosting or rebuilding your game for a lot of formats, then this is for you. We’ve got a platform that is cost-effective for startups.” The platform is based on the HTML5 language which should allow those games to be run on any HTML5 supported web browser.
Microsoft clearly wants to see if it can get into the social networking game business that has become one of the big foundations for the Facebook social networking web service. Games based on Facebook, such as the many successful games published by Zynga, require lots of server based code. However that can be a burden for a small game developer to deal with. Microsoft's Windows Azure should allow game developers to make social games with less cost. However, as the article points out, HTML5-based games generally have slower performance than Facebook-based game titles.