The hottest game in the world jumped ship from Amazon in a big victory for Microsoft in the cloud wars

Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” the hottest game of 2017, is now running on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

  • Previously, “PUBG” had said it was using Amazon Web Services, Azure’s single biggest rival.
  • It’s a big win for Microsoft – the game is a large part of the Xbox One holiday sales push, and now it’s helping bolster Azure’s appeal to the significant market for video games.


When Microsoft reported earnings last week, CEO Satya Nadella highlighted that ” PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds ” – the hottest video game of 2017 – is now using the Microsoft Azure cloud platform to power online play.

As Windows Central rightly notes , this is interesting because PUBG had previously disclosed that it was using Amazon Web Services , the $18 billion cloud computing giant that’s also Microsoft’s biggest rival in the ongoing cloud wars . It’s unclear if this was a total shift from AWS to Azure, or just piecemeal, but regardless, it’s a notable win for Microsoft.

” Gaming pushes the boundaries of hardware and software innovation, with some of the most CPU and GPU-intensive applications and content, giving us a huge opportunity in the cloud,” Nadella said during Microsoft’s recent earnings call, citing “PUBG” as an example.

If you haven’t heard yet, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” is a bloody battle royale for Windows PC gamers , where 100 players are dropped onto an island, forced to scavenge supplies and fight to be the last person standing. It’s become a monster hit on the Windows PC, already selling over 13 million copies this year at $30 a pop.

And Microsoft recently announced a partnership with the game’s developers to bring it to the Xbox One game console by the end of the year , and the Sony PlayStation 4 later, if ever. It was a big win for Microsoft, which expects “PUBG” to be a major reason why people buy the Xbox One over the PlayStation 4 this holiday season.

Microsoft “Crackdown 3” is an exclusive Xbox One game, coming next year. It’ll use the Microsoft Azure cloud to power its impressive visual effects.

To go back to the cloud for a moment, video games are actually a key battleground in the cloud wars. As Nadella notes, modern video games take immense amounts of processing power to run properly. To meet those needs, titles like “PUBG” are turning to the cloud, where developers can pay-as-you-go for fundamentally unlimited supercomputing power out of these tech titans’ own massive data centers.

Both companies have looked inwards, as they court video game developers to their respective platforms. Microsoft says that ” Crackdown 3 ,” a flagship Xbox One game coming next year, uses the Azure cloud to power its futuristic mayhem .

Meanwhile, Amazon’s $970 million purchase of video game streaming site Twitch was largely intended to push forward Amazon Web Services , giving developers a way to integrate their games directly with the service. However, “Breakaway,” a game developed in-house by Amazon, was recently put on hiatus to be “reworked.”