It all started with the acquisition of Twitch for the cheap change of close to 1$ billion. Twitch is this platform on which people go to see other people play video games. If that sounds weird to you, just translate it in today’s term: sports channel. Because in sports, players play games. Might not seem obvious right now, but watching other play video games will only grow in the future.
Going back to Amazon, AWS was a long term weird bet that it worked. This company has demonstrated they’re willing to be patient, something rare today. Though this last statement contradicts our assessment of the Amazon Fire Phone, a device -which I thought- was ahead of its time, which amazon killed fairly quick. Point is, Amazon bets on long term, one of the reasons to justify buying Twitch.
Therefore, after buying Twitch is sort of logical to start building tools that expands the use of AWS (i.e. Amazon’s cloud service), so whatever content is being produced to be broadcast in Twitch, is produced using Amazons tools.
A gaming engine, is sort of Photoshop for game developers. It’s a software that allows programmers to build entire games. On this sub-world the two main platforms are Unreal and Unity. The former it’s an established platform, the latter is very popular mainly due to its low cost (i.e. almost free).
Two years ago Amazon released Lumberyard, a game engine. The objective is to -again- expand on the Twitch platform. Amazon supports AWS on Unreal and Unity, Lumberyard is just another one, and it’s completely free. We don’t know how many developers are using Lumberyard, then again, if Amazon hasn’t kill it yet, it means is within the objective of long term.
On the AR/VR development world, Unity is the standard. Specifically on AR, Unity serves 80% of needs to make an AR project. Documentation is great, the product is very popular, which guarantees support. So now, Amazon comes with Sumerian, an AR/VR development tool. Why Amazon didn’t include AR/VR functionality within Lumberyard? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Maybe it was better to start fresh with a new tool for AR/VR, than trying to expand the use of an older tool. Then again, Lumberyard is just 2 years old and with no big user base. Lumberyard could have afforded to change and focus on AR/VR. Just for reference, Apple changed both iMovie and Final Cut Pro completely. Initially this change was grumbly received by its users (your truly included), however, the change was done, no rollback option offered. Should Amazon have followed that route? Maybe.
The peculiar thing is that Sumerian way of use is very similar to Unity, so they’re making a new development engine keeping game design old concepts? -me scratches head-. Again, it all goes to the objective of attracting more developers towards Twitch, AWS and even Alexa. This last one known in the Sumerian world as Hosts. Which BTW, is quite a cool concept. Hosts are sort of Alexa’s for the AR/VR world, meaning instead of just a voice assistant as Alexa is today, Sumerian Hosts are 3D characters, which -of course- are hosted (pun intended) on AWS.
Still, Silicon Valley companies tend to kill their products fairly quick if those products don’t reach a big usage. Notice is not that they kill it if it’s not being used, they might kill it because is not use by hundreds of millions (I’m looking at you Google+).