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Microsoft + Perforce: Reimagining Game Production

This year at GDC 2022, we're excited to announce that Microsoft and Perforce are entering a strategic partnership to make it easier than ever for game creators of all sizes to extend game production into the cloud. We started our collaboration with the release of the Enhanced Studio Pack, which provides a low-friction way to spin up the Perforce software development suite—particularly a Perforce Helix Core server—to start using Helix Core on Azure today.  To follow that up, for GDC 2022 we're happy to announce a set of GitHub Actions, authored directly by Perforce in collaboration with GitHub, to help automate and orchestrate game development pipelines.

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I'm excited about the potential of this strategic partnership and the work we're doing with Perforce. It was clear from our first meeting with Perforce that we shared a passion for helping game creators tackle the increasing challenges of creative collaboration on projects with large assets. But we wanted to consider not just how creators could easily and effectively host Perforce services on Azure, but also how we could collaborate more deeply across all of Microsoft to make significant improvements in the total value of extending game development into the cloud.  We want to lower the barrier of entry for new studios and ambitious citizen creators to use industry-leading development tools and provide a seamless technical path to grow from just a handful of developers all the way to the largest collaborative teams and biggest projects in the industry.

This opportunity to help reimagine game development couldn't be more timely.  The last couple of years have been transformative in how game creators collaborate and build their experiences.  Modern development of asset-intensive entertainment was previously defined by tightly collocated teams, where very short distances and substantial investments in local hardware made the dynamic work of iteration and creativity thrive.  But we've entered a new age of game development, where hybrid work environments, globally distributed teams, and remote work are the norm.  These elements were always present, but now we find them pushed to the logical extreme.  Helping game development infrastructure rise to the challenge of restoring and exceeding previous high levels of productivity and creativity is exactly what this partnership between Microsoft and Perforce is about.

When considering how we can pull everything from Microsoft together in service of developer velocity with the essential capabilities of Perforce, we quickly brought GitHub into the conversation.  GitHub is the largest and most advanced development platform in the world, serving globally distributed teams of all sizes with tremendous agility and flexibility. The immense asset and build sizes associated with game development can keep the benefits of developing with GitHub out of reach of game creators, but with this partnership with Perforce we want to begin to close that gap.

The initial release of Perforce Helix Core Actions in the GitHub Marketplace by Perforce allows game creators to connect the automation ecosystem of GitHub with the code and assets they have in Helix Core.  Submissions to Helix Core or commits to GitHub repositories can trigger GitHub Actions that build your project directly or further connect to other Azure services to create exactly the right CI/CD system for the specific needs of a game team.  And we know that the needs of game creators are often interesting and specialized to the culture and workflows of the team or studio, which is why this initial release is supported by Perforce and our partnership.  We're excited for your feedback, and to see the amazing and innovative ways you compose these tools to make the best games you can make.

Please let us know what you think!  We're working tirelessly to make Microsoft Azure the best cloud to build, run, and grow your games, and we're really excited about what we can do with this partnership between Microsoft and Perforce.

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Perforce Helix Core brings a versioning capability that can handle very large assets, can scale to serve large and globally distributed organizations, and has rich integration and compatibility with game technology and high adoption from game creators of all sizes.

Microsoft Azure is a global cloud provider with services that are synergistic with the Windows-centric nature of game development studios.

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