February 9, 2016 Amazon has both announced and released a new, free game engine, Lumberyard, which offers deep integration with its Amazon Web Services server infrastructure to empower online play, and also with Twitch, its video game-focused streaming service.
Lumberyard can be used to develop for PC and consoles, Amazon said in a news release. It's rolling out alongside a multiplayer service called GameLift.
Lumberyard is powerful and full-featured enough to develop triple-A, current-gen console games (and the company has signed official tools deals with Microsoft and Sony, so you can immediately build games for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 with it.) Mobile support is coming down the road.
Lumberyard is entirely free, Amazon says, including no requirement to share revenue. Monetization for Lumberyard will come strictly through the use of Amazon Web Services' cloud computing. If you use the engine for your game, you're permitted to roll your own server tech, but if you're using a third-party provider, it has to be Amazon.
Integration of Amazon's Twitch video streaming tools at a low level also helps to cement that platform's dominance in the game streaming space.
Alongside Lumberyard, the company has also announced and released GameLift, a new managed service for deploying, operating, and scaling server-based online games using AWS. GameLift will be available only to developers who use Lumberyard, though it's an optional add-on. GameLift will cost $1.50 per 1,000 daily active users; AWS services will be charged at the normal rates.
Lumberyard's core engine technology is based on Crytek's CryEngine. Amazon licensed the German studio's engine and got "full, unencumbered access to the technology" to build upon, says Mike Frazzini, vice president of Amazon Games.
The game engine is in beta, but is freely usable and downloadable today.