New Xbox unit established to bring gaming partners on board with Azure

As the cloud becomes an increasingly larger part of Microsoft's overall business, the company is looking to bring its gaming partners on board as well. Bloomberg reports that Microsoft's Xbox division has set up a new unit that is entirely focused on convincing its gaming partners to use Azure as the backbone for their games' services.

Called gaming cloud, the new unit is headed up by Kareem Choudhry, who has been with Microsoft for 20 years. According to Bloomberg, Choudhry and his team will focus on assisting developers with leveraging Azure and "creating new services for the industry."

The move aligns with Microsoft's recent focus on its cloud services, which have become a major part company's business due to rapid growth over the past several quarters. Microsoft is also increasingly viewing gaming as a critical part of its business, going so far as to promote Xbox chief Phil Spencer to its leadership team late last year. The company also acquired PlayFab, a company that provides backend services for cloud-connected games, earlier this year.

It makes sense that the company would look for ways to marry two of its major areas of focus, particularly as games become more and more dependent on the cloud as a backbone for delivering online gaming experiences and other services. Looking toward the future, Microsoft could also be setting itself up to be a major player with game streaming.

Azure is already used by games like Rainbow Six: Siege and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. With a team dedicated to selling Azure to developers and publishers, Microsoft is hoping to expand that list.