Public cloud infrastructure provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) is getting snarky. And it’s not even April Fools’ Day.
In conjunction with the launch last night of the free Lumberyard game engine and the GameLift game backend service, AWS updated its Service Terms — the document that spells out how people can use its tools — to add in some language about, well, uh, a zombie apocalypse, among other things. Behold:
57.10 Acceptable Use; Safety-Critical Systems. Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat. However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.
This is, of course, downright ridiculous. It’s certainly reminiscent of the Walking Dead series of games — and The Elder Scrolls, too, among others. Outside of this change, everything about the terms has been buttoned up and business-like.
But it does prove that AWS, the market leader in the cloud infrastructure business, knows full well that it is working with game developers, who have not historically been its No. 1 audience. Having some fun and showing that it’s not too serious could actually be good for business.
And that’s one more way for AWS to make itself stand out relative to competitors like Microsoft Azure, the Google Cloud Platform, or IBM SoftLayer. Other common types of competitive moves include price cuts.
This isn’t AWS’ first appeal to gaming studios and independent developers. Last year AWS introduced a C++ software development kit (SDK) with game developers in mind.