Here’s a recap of what Microsoft announced at GDC 2018

Dave W. Shanahan

Microsoft, Azure, Xbox

The 2018 Game Developer Conference (GDC 2018) got off to an electrifying start with some special announcements by Microsoft. As noted in a post on Xbox Wire, Microsoft is bringing more focus to game developers to develop even more game titles to the Xbox platform.

For the first time, Microsoft had an Azure booth at GDC 2018 this year to show how Azure can help power game developers game experiences using its cloud technology. Microsoft wants to help game developers build games faster and easier, while still being able to easily monetize their games too.

Microsoft held more than 20 hours of game developer information sessions, including Xbox One X giveaways, and let attendees try out Microsoft games, including Mixer game sessions playing The Darwin Project as well as the upcoming mixed reality game, Pinball Lizard.

Microsoft held special sessions showing what game developers can do with PlayFab and Azure together for cloud gaming. PlayFab only recently became part of Microsoft, after being purchased by the Redmond company in January 2018.

Microsoft celebrated the acquisition of PlayFab by offering attendees $2,500 worth of PlayFab, App Center, Azure services free for one year. In addition, developers received a free copy of “The PlayFab Definitive Guide to LiveOps.” The book helps developers understand LiveOps, offers a number of LiveOps techniques, and lists the LiveOps services that PlayFab offers.

Besides gaming cloud development, Microsoft unveiled new two graphics and AI innovations; DirectX Raytracing and detailed Windows ML API, made specifically for game developers. DirectX Raytracing offers real-time raytracking in a game developer environment. Here’s a look at DirectX Raytracing in Northlight by Remedy Entertainment.

For the time-being, DirectX Raytracing remains in experimental mode and is not yet generally available.  More technical explanations and applications of how the technology works is available on the DirectX Developer Blog.

In addition, Microsoft celebrated the ID@Xbox program, where more than 800 Xbox game titles released and the more than 4 billion hours Xbox players have played those games. Microsoft will continue to look to give back to Xbox fans with more ID@Xbox rewards as well as G4E (Gaming for Everyone) events to provide access for everyone to play on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC.