Celebrating One Year of ID@Azure

Since launching a year ago, ID@Azure has joined forces with Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub and has grown to support over 500 independent game developers, helping teams develop and launch their games using the cloud.

March 21, 2023
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One year ago Microsoft announced the launch of ID@Azure, and since that launch, our program has helped more than 500 independent game developers from 55 countries worldwide to bring their games to the cloud.  ID@Azure offers game creators free tools, resources, and support to quickly get started using gaming cloud services like Azure and PlayFab, regardless of the platform they are targeting. ID@Azure was created by the same team as ID@Xbox, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year and has laid the philosophy behind what we do: listen to developers, then empower and enable them to do their best work using our tools and services.

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At the end of last year, we announced that ID@Azure was joining forces with Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub. This means that qualifying game developers have access to the amazing benefits provided across both programs. For example, Founders Hub now means the maximum level of Azure credits game creators can access has increased from $5,000 to $150,000. In addition, creators can access professional software licenses for tools like GitHub, Visual Studio, Azure OpenAI and Microsoft 365 at no cost. In the few months since  ID@Azure and Founders Hub started working together, we’ve granted an additional $1M of Azure credit to game developers. We can’t wait to see what our developers can achieve with this support across all stages of their game’s development!

Through ID@Azure, game developers also get free and discounted access to critical cloud services, including a free PlayFab Standard Plan for 2 years, with generous allowances for key services like PlayFab Party that enables peer-to-peer multiplayer across platforms. Other benefits include access to hundreds of game-related resources via the ID@Azure Developer Hub, which also enables developers to get support and insights direct from Microsoft’s cloud gaming experts. We’ve also been able to support the launch of Turbo Golf RacingYou Suck at ParkingShredders, and the upcoming Lightyear Frontier on Xbox Game Pass.

Keyart from the game Lightyear Frontier
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Since launching ID@Azure, we’ve run over 24 ID@Azure Expert Sessions hosted by Microsoft’s cloud gaming experts and members of our product teams. These sessions have covered a range of topics, from the basics of getting your Azure account and tenant up and running, to working with the Godot engine using PlayFab, to how to create a Destiny-style backend on a budget! ID@Azure members have the opportunity to attend live and ask questions, but all sessions are recorded so you can catch up regardless of when you joined the program.

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The most common feedback we hear from many developers is “I’m building a single player game, so I don’t care about using cloud”. This year we wanted to share the story of UK-based developer Variable State, one of the earliest ID@Azure program members and creators of innovative and award-winning titles like Virginia and Last Stop. Variable State develops the type of experience that many developers believe has no use for cloud technology – narrative-driven single player games with no online or live service component. Contrary to those expectations, Variable State has been an enthusiastic adopter of cloud and is using Azure today to improve their development team’s experience as they grow their fully remote studio. 

A logo for the studio Variable State
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Check out our GDC Tech Talk on March 22 to learn more about how Azure has helped them to build their biggest and most ambitious game to date.

At Microsoft, we’re still looking at how we can continue to support the game development community. This year at GDC we’ve introduced another exciting new initiative called the Xbox Developer Acceleration Program that provides financial support to help underrepresented game creators prototype their ideas and expand onto more platforms.  We’re continuing to expand and improve our existing tools and services, such as releasing the latest version of PlayFab Economy that adds exciting feature updates to the Inventory, Virtual Currencies, Catalog and cross-platform item redemption across various marketplaces.

It has been a busy year, but we are proud to be helping independent game developers develop and launch their games using Microsoft’s cloud services. Here's what some of our partners have to say about working with ID@Azure and Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub:

"Azure technologies have allowed us as a fairly small and inexperienced team to implement online features that just wouldn't have been possible otherwise, like cross-platform play and robust authentication. Their teams have also been eager to help every step of the way." - Jack Lindgren, Lead Programmer at FRAME BREAK (Lightyear Frontier)

"The ID@Azure program has provided us with helpful knowledge on how we can use Azure services during development and in our games. We are currently using PlayFab to collect events on player behavior in our game demo Dead Pets Unleashed. We use the collected data to understand our audience while developing the full game." - Jonathan Jørgensen, Programmer at Triple Topping (Dead Pets Unleashed)

"As a small studio taking on an ambitious live game, the ID@Azure program has been of great help to us. We have benefited from responsive tech support and generous credit offerings!" - Peter Maasen, Technical Director at Happy Volcano (You Suck at Parking!)

"For our first multiplayer VR game we needed an online solution that handles game deployment, server scaling, and player matchmaking with ease so we can focus on building the best game possible. PlayFab provides it all." - Kristoffer Benjaminsson, CTO & Co-founder at Fast Travel Games

"Azure gave us the flexibility, power and scalability we needed for all of our multiplayer needs in Shredders" - Dirk Van Welden, Captain at FoamPunch (Shredders)

“With ID@Azure we were able to bring our new telemetry system into production in an incredibly short time, without any problems, and with it dealing very smoothly with any kind of load we throw at it.” - René, Developer at Bippinbits (Dome Keeper)

For more information about what cloud services can do for studios and game development, please visit www.azure.com/id to start your cloud journey and join the ID@Azure and Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub community.