Microsoft has figured out an interesting way to get into the social games business. The social gaming market continues to grow in terms of number of users and profits. These social applications have the potential to grow from a few users to millions of users in an incredibly short period of time, and therefore, they need a robust, scalable, and dependable platform.
According to the Social Gaming: Marketers Make Their Move report by eMarketer, the social gaming market will increase to $1.32 billion in revenues by 2012, up from $856 million in 2010. Today, Amazon hosts many online games, including big Facebook games, developed by Zynga and others. Companies like Playdom, the makers of Bola Social Soccer – a Facebook, Sonico, and Orkut game with over 5 million users, are already using Windows Azure as their backend platform.
Microsoft is focusing on building tools to help other game developers ramp up quickly, while they host their games on Windows Azure. Windows Azure is built on the principles of on-demand scalable computing resources, storage, and geographic delivery. These principles mirror the needs of social games. With that premise, the Windows Azure team has launched a preview of the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games. The toolkit allows you to quickly get started building new social games with Windows Azure whether you want to build social games as a hobby or you want to reach millions of gamers.
The Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games allows you to quickly get started building new social games in Windows Azure. The toolkit includes accelerators, libraries, developer tools, and samples that you can use in your own .NET or HTML5 game. It enables unique capabilities that are prerequisites for an average social game, such as storing user profiles, maintaining leader boards, in-app purchasing and so forth.
As a proof-of-concept, the toolkit also includes source code for a game called Tankster, created by Grant Skinner, a popular game developer. The game is also available online to play for free. The game is built with HTML5 and supports a variety of social interactions including messaging, wall posts, and comments while player achievements and game stats are presented on a live leaderboard so gamers can interact with each other.
The toolkit is available for free, and game developers can use the same to build social games and applications in a short period of time.