Cloud NEXT for Game Developers

If you are a game developer that works on any kind of mobile, multiplayer or online internet connected game, you may want to attend Google Cloud’s premier conference in San Francisco, Cloud NEXT, especially since it is conveniently timed right after GDC. Even if you aren’t attending GDC, if you are building any backend infrastructure for online or multiplayer games, analytics or machine learning over player data, there is plenty to see at Cloud NEXT.

That said, there are over 200 breakout sessions over the three days of the event, and it can be hard to work out which sessions might actually be useful to you, as a game developer, so this guide is here to help!

While there are wide variety of sessions that would be applicable if you do any kind of backend development for all types of online games, here are a few that are directly impactful for game developers, and are a definite must see at Cloud NEXT.

Open Persistent, Multiplayer Worlds

The session I’ll be co-presenting with Rob Whitehead, CTO of Improbable is Building Massive Online Worlds with SpatialOS and Google Cloud Platform.

Late last year we announced our partnership with Improbable who run their product SpatialOS on Google Cloud Platform. This is particularly exciting because it makes building almost any kind of large, persistent open world with multitudes of players as well as autonomous agents, such as NPCs, in the hands of indie developers. It’s built as a back end as a service, so SpatialOS will manage scaling to meet your needs without your team’s intervention, saving your team a lot of infrastructure management responsibilities and the costs associated.

Location Based Games

With the explosion that was Pokemon Go, location based gaming is also becoming a really hot topic. The session Location-based gaming: trends and outlook will look at emerging trends in this space and how you can use Google tools to get an accurate representation of the world around you and use them within your game. I particularly love the combination of this technology with augmented reality games. I’m predicting we’ll see a lot of these types of games coming out in the future.


While not specifically a session directly for game developers, if you need GPUs for your virtual machines to render models, or run games in real time in the cloud, I would also put Supercharge performance using GPUs in the cloud as a must see session. I’m particularly excited about games streaming alternate viewing cameras in online games, especially in e-sports, via running connected client instances games in the cloud – and for this, you have to have GPUs.

Game Analytics

Finally, if you want to see the Product Manager for Games at Google Cloud Platform, Daniel Grachanin, who is co-presenting this talk, or are looking for a very practical session on how you can use Big Data to instrument and introspect your game, you should check out the session Game changer: Google Cloud’s powerful analytics tools to collect and visualize game telemetry and data. I always really enjoy talks like this, because so often players don’t end up doing what you would expect them to do as a game designer. Using tools like this gives you insight into how your players are actually engaging with in your game, which is always fascinating.

While on the surface it may not seem like Cloud NEXT is an event that is aimed at game developers. But if you are looking to build any kind of backend infrastructure to support your game, there is a plethora of information available at this event. From the talks above, to many sessions and bootcamps on general application development, security, big data and analytics, machine learning and more.

Finally, if you come – make sure to wander up and say hello!

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