Microsoft has announced the acquisition of PlayFab — a company that provides services to game developers which will enable them to build, launch, and sustain cloud-connected games on mobile, PC, and console.
As games transform from a one-time purchase to a service-oriented affair thanks to timed events, micro-transactions, and new modes being part and parcel of most big console and PC game releases, the move starts to make more sense on Microsoft’s part. More so when you consider that PlayFab’s tech powers over 1,200 games including Angry Birds: Seasons and Roller Coaster Tycoon Touch.
PlayFab processes more than 1.5 billion transactions a day and nearly 20,000 transactions a second. The deal gives Microsoft access to an unprecedented amount of information and the means to target games across platforms over and above the Xbox One business.
The last time Microsoft broadened its approach to gaming in a large enough scale, it resulted in the Xbox One and the subsequent backlash over the many decisions taken over its online connectivity and Kinect. PlayFab’s purchase could ensure a greater focus on growing Microsoft’s live service offerings for its upcoming titles such as new entries in Halo and Gears of War or perhaps allow it to tackle multiple platforms.
With speculation rife on Microsoft going on a spree to buy out companies to bolster its gaming efforts, we won’t be surprised to see this being the first of many this year. Though with a mixed track record in recent memory, given its handling of Lionhead and Bungie, it will be interesting to see what this means for consumers in terms of games and services like Xbox Game Pass in the time to come.