Microsoft: Cloud Gaming Day

19 January 2015

This event is being run as part of London Mobile Games Week. During the day we will discuss the true opportunity of Cloud Gaming: Simplicity for the world of multi-platform, multi-game, multi-player, multi-device development.

The goal of cloud games is to provide gamers with the ultimate gaming experience and we will outline some of the best practice from across UK indies, Studios and research. We will share with you guidance on cloud services, developer tools, and support and prove that we are making it easier than ever for game developers to quickly grow their businesses. Microsoft will share details of the $1.2 M innovation fund which enables iOS, Android, Windows, Xbox game developers to benefit from cloud computing. Independent game developers across the UK can apply to receive substantial benefits from the fund including free cloud services from Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio development tools, other software, plus access to Microsoft’s Technology Advisory team to support indie game studio development.

Read on for more details about the day...

There’s a new trend in gaming called cloud gaming. What’s cloud gaming all about? Think of the cloud. Now, think of gaming. The UK is a hotbed for great games innovation, and Microsoft is committed to helping startups and independent games developers accelerate their route to market.

Outline of the day:

  • 9.30 – 10.00: Welcome. With Lee Stott, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft
  • 10.00 – 11.00: CRM in Gaming: Leveraging customer insight to improve their experience - and your bottom line. With James Nieswand from Illyriad Games.

"In this talk, James will share Illyriad Games' experiences and insight into how to attract the players, retain them and improve their gameplay experience by using metrics, analysis and modeling. The talk will explain how even a tiny indie can use CRM techniques such as cluster segmentation, deep dive analysis, predictive analytics and realtime decisioning to improve the experience of not only an individual player, but all your players."

  • 11.10 – 11.15: Break
  • 11.15 – 12.15: Know and engage your player. With Karl Piteira.

"Karl helps apps engage and retain hundreds of millions of users as a Product Owner and Customer Success manager at Capptain which was acquired in 2014 by Microsoft. Prior to that he managed strategic partnerships at Myriad Group which is part of the billion mobile software club."

  • 12.15 – 13.00: Lunch
  • 13.00 – 13.30: The Indie View on Profitable Cloud Gaming. With Chris Sterling.

"Chris has 25 years of professional software development experience in games and tools, and has founded several technology start-ups. In 1997 he designed the real-time strategy PC game "Beasts and Bumpkins", published by EA. He later built the commercial 3D engine and editor toolkit "DX Studio", used by both indie studios and industrial simulators. More recently he worked with Ian Livingstone to reboot the retro Fighting Fantasy game books on modern devices. He now builds social games, the latest of which being the popular word game "WordBog", and offers consultancy for cloud gaming development."

  • 13.30 – 14.00: Machine Learning within Games. With Richard Conway from ElastaCloud.

"Richard Conway has been programming since his ZX81. Since the inception of Azure he's been smitten by the cloud and learning to use all of the resources it can offer. He works for Elastacloud (yes you can probably guess what we do!) and loves using technologies which scale (Big Data and Big Compute). He's one of the founders of the UK Azure Users Group which now has registered members in the thousands and sets up monthly meetings, conferences and hackathons showcasing really cool cloudy tech. His most recent fascination is with machine learning and although his aging and addled brain struggles to keep up with the maths it's way cool! 

In this talk Richard will cover some of the ways that gaming companies can build in analytics capabilities in an infinitely scalable way and using the power of the cloud (or as much as your wallet and Azure will scale to!). He’ll be covering some patterns he’s used in gaming in the past using both Microsoft’s analytics platform services and Elastacloud’s own Azure-based analytics service Brisk."

  • 14.00 – 15.00: The new Cloud Experience of Aysnc Games. With Louis Deane from Gateway Interactive.

"Gateway Interactive are Microsoft Venture Accelerator graduates and have developed cloud based services for their new title on mobile and console."

  • 15.00 – 15.15: Break
  • 15.15 – 15.45: Building a new world with Docker. With James Mintram from Lemon Moose Games.

"Lemon Moose Games Ltd has developed a number of successful titles which have been distributed across a total of 8 platforms and numerous marketplaces, this session will focus on the new opportunity of containerization of application with Dockeer."

  • 15.45 – 16.45: Ahead In The Cloud. With Sam Barton-Nicol froom Mediatonic.

" As Director of Product Management, Sam provides a link between Mediatonic's games, their audience and the wider marketplace. Commercially responsible for the success of their titles, Sam works closely alongside internal teams and external publishers (in 2014 this includes Microsoft, Square Enix and Bandai Namco) to guide projects toward business opportunities while ensuring players remain engaged and delighted within compelling virtual worlds.

Mediatonic work with the world's finest entertainment companies to create original games-as-a-service that connect millions of players across the globe. In this talk, Sam will share how game development can be de-risked by employing the cloud to uncouple art, design and engineering co-dependencies, to understand the needs of audiences and to release seamless, instant updates across multiple platforms."

  • 16.15 – 16.45 Player ranking and matchmaking on Xbox Live. With Thore Graepel from Microsoft Research.

"Thore Graepel is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and Professor of Machine Learning at University College London. His research interests revolve around large-scale applications of machine learning including skill estimation, user modelling, recommender systems and game AI. Thore is one of the co-inventors of the TrueSkill algorithm for ranking and matchmaking used in Xbox Live, and has also contributed to various aspects of user modelling and recommendation in Microsoft’s services. More recently, his work on estimating personality and other user attributes from social networking data has received a lot of attention. 

In multiplayer online gaming one of the key questions is how we can match players together that are a good fit and hence will have a great gaming experience together. Different aspects such as existing social connections, personality, quality of connection, and skill can play a role. In this session I will focus on the skill dimension and explain how the TrueSkill system works out the individual skills of players from the observed game outcomes. I will discuss the impact on the quality of matchmaking and give some good practice advice for competitive matchmaking. Time permitting, I will discuss some future ideas for matchmaking including personality based matches."

  • 16.45 Conclusion. With Lee Stott from Microsoft.
  • 17.00 Close

To register and see more information about Microsoft: Cloud Gaming Day, please visit the London Mobile Games website.