Once Frenemies, Elastic and AWS Are Now Besties

Paul Sawers writes via VentureBeat: It has been a frosty few years for Elastic and Amazon’s AWS cloud computing arm, with the duo frequently locking horns over various issues relating to Elastic’s ex-open-source database search engine — Elasticsearch. To cut a War and Peace-esque story short, Amazon had introduced its own managed Elasticsearch service called Amazon Elasticsearch Service way back in 2015, and in the intervening years the “confusion” this (among other shenanigans) caused in the cloud sphere ultimately led Elastic to transition Elasticsearch from open source to “free and open” (i.e., a less permissive license), exerting more control over how the cloud giants of the world could use the product and Elasticsearch name. In response, Amazon launched an Elasticsearch “fork” called OpenSearch, and the two companies finally settled a long-standing trademark dispute, which effectively meant that Amazon would stop associating the Elasticsearch brand with Amazon’s own products. This was an important final piece of the kiss-and-make-up puzzle, as it meant that customers searching for Elastic’s fully-managed Elasticsearch service (Elastic Cloud) in the AWS Marketplace, wouldn’t also stumble upon Amazon’s incarnation and wonder which one they were actually looking for.

Fast-forward to today, and you would hardly know that the two companies were once at loggerheads. Over the past year, Elastic and Amazon have partnered to bring all manner of technologies and integrations to market, and they’ve worked to ensure that their shared customers can more easily onboard to Elastic Cloud within Amazon’s infrastructure. Building on a commitment last month to make AWS and Elastic work even better together, Elastic and AWS today announced an even deeper collaboration, to “build, market and deliver” frictionless access to Elastic Cloud on AWS. In essence, this means that the two companies will go full-throttle on their “go-to-market” sales and marketing strategies — this includes a new free 7-day trial for customers wanting to test-drive Elastic Cloud directly from the AWS Marketplace.

On top of that, AWS has committed to working with Elastic to generate new business across Amazon’s various cloud-focused sales organizations — this is a direct result of Elastic joining the AWS ISV Accelerate program. All of this has been made possible because of the clear and distinct products that now exist — Amazon has OpenSearch, and Elastic has Elasticsearch, which makes collaboration that much easier. What does Amazon get for all of this? “Put simply, companies accessing Elastic’s services on AWS infrastructure drive a lot of cloud consumption — which translates into ka-ching for Amazon,” adds Sawers.

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Google Unveils Its B2B Cloud Gaming Platform Built With Stadia Tech

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Forbes: Google had plenty of news about Stadia, the consumer-facing aspect of its cloud gaming products, at its Google for Games Developer Summit. On the flip side of that is the white-label platform Google’s been working on: a way for other companies to license the game streaming tech that powers Stadia. Previously, that B2B offering was believed to be known as Google Stream. Google has now confirmed more details about the offering, including its name.

It’s now called Immersive Stream for Games (which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue as smoothly as Google Stream). The Stadia team built it with the help of the folks at Google Cloud. The company says the service will allow companies to run their own game trials, let users play full games, offer subscription bundles or have full storefronts. In other words, publishers might be able to run their own versions of Stadia with their own libraries of games, branding and custom user interface.

We’ve seen a version of Immersive Stream for Games in action. Last year, Google teamed up with AT&T to offer people a way to play Batman: Arkham Knight for free via the cloud. Thousands of folks took advantage of the offer. AT&T plans to offer its customers access to another game soon with the help of Immersive Stream for Games. While that version of Batman: Arkham Knight was only available on desktop and laptop web browsers, the next game will run on mobile devices too. If all goes well, it could be a decent way for AT&T to show off what its 5G network can do. Immersive Stream for Games will include other features Google revealed for Stadia today, including a way to offer free trials of full games and a project aimed at making it easier to port games so they run on Stadia tech, as well as analytics. Developers and publishers can send Google an inquiry for more details.

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Inside Google’s Plan To Salvage Its Stadia Gaming Service

Google is trying to salvage its failing Stadia game service with a new focus on striking deals with Peloton, Bungie, and others under the brand “Google Stream.” Business Insider reports: When Google announced last year that it was shutting down its internal gaming studios, it was seen as a blow to the company’s big bet on video games. Google, whose Stadia cloud service was barely more than a year old, said it would instead focus on publishing games from existing developers on the platform and explore other ways to bring Stadia’s technology to partners. Since then, the company has shifted the focus of its Stadia division largely to securing white-label deals with partners that include Peloton, Capcom, and Bungie, according to people familiar with the plans.

Google is trying to salvage the underlying technology, which is capable of broadcasting high-definition games over the cloud with low latency, shopping the technology to partners under a new name: Google Stream. (Stadia was known in development as “Project Stream.”) The Stadia consumer platform, meanwhile, has been deprioritized within Google, insiders said, with a reduced interest in negotiating blockbuster third-party titles. The focus of leadership is now on securing business deals for Stream, people involved in those conversations said. The changes demonstrate a strategic shift in how Google, which has invested heavily in cloud services, sees its gaming ambitions.

Google has continued to prop up the Stadia consumer platform with a steady stream of titles. After Google closed Stadia’s internal game studios, known as Stadia Games & Entertainment, insiders said the directive was to build out what was internally dubbed a “content flywheel” — a steady flow of independent titles and content from existing publishing deals that would be much more affordable than securing AAA blockbusters, two former employees familiar with the conversations said. “The key thing was that they would not be spending the millions on the big titles,” one said. “And exclusives would be out of the question.” Executives and employees for the Stadia product have also shifted roles. Phil Harrison, the former PlayStation executive Google tapped to run its gaming operations, now reports to the company’s head of subscriptions.

Patrick Seybold, a Google spokesperson, told Insider in a statement: “We announced our intentions of helping publishers and partners deliver games directly to gamers last year, and have been working toward that. The first manifestation has been our partnership with AT&T who is offering Batman: Arkham Knight available to their customers for free. While we won’t be commenting on any rumors or speculation regarding other industry partners, we are still focused on bringing great games to Stadia in 2022. With 200+ titles currently available, we expect to have another 100+ games added to the platform this year, and currently have 50 games available to claim in Stadia Pro.”

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