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Microsoft looks to get game developers on board with Azure with new Game Cloud division

Microsoft has reportedly created a new Game Cloud unit within the Xbox division to get developers on board with the Azure cloud. The new unit looks to further help the company catch up with Amazon Web Services and will be headed by Kareem Choudhry, a 20-year Microsoft veteran (via Bloomberg.)

While in the new position, Choudhry will report directly to Phil Spencer, who recently was promoted to head of Xbox. In fact, Spencer’s promotion may have been part of the plans, as Choudhry tells The Verge the company was considering this new unit since the last summer:

Phil really wanted a dedicated team focused exclusively on the gaming cloud..Those were conversations that started happening last summer, and we really started creating the structure of the organization at the end of last year.

At a time when more games are going multiplayer, the Game Cloud unit specifically aims to help game developers leverage Azure for the online components of their games. Xbox publishers like Ubisoft already use Microsoft’s cloud services, and Microsoft sees the opportunity to sell Azure to even more Xbox partners. “We already have deep relationships with most of the big players in the gaming industry… They trust us,” said the head of Xbox Phil Spencer.

Today’s news comes after Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently remarked to shareholders that the company was planning on expanding its pursuit of a billion dollar gaming industry. In fact, the company recently expanded its portfolio by acquiring PlayFab, a startup which provides a platform for building online games.

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Do you think Microsoft is right to get developers on board with Azure?