Amazon Game Studios, a division of Amazon’s game development, announced the development of three PC games in 2016, but the currently released titles are rarely released, but rather have been found to have been suspended during the development of several projects. Why didn’t Amazon’s game development go well?
Amazon Game Studio was originally established in 2012 as a division of developing smartphone game apps. Afterwards, in 2014, Amazon announced the development of a game for PC in response to the puzzle action portal developer Kim Swift and the open world FPS Far Cry 2 director Clint Hawking.
According to reports, Amazon Game Studios spend $500 million annually. The $500 million budget doesn’t include Amazon’s Twitch and Amazon FireTV or smartphone game app development projects.
The original idea of developing games on Amazon came from CEO Jeff Bezos. He set a goal of allowing 10,000 players to play in one game session to attract gamers to the Amazon Prime ecosystem. Most of the games announced by Amazon Game Studios were based on these goals and investments of Bezos, which were multiplayer online games, and two of the projects developed by Amazon Game Studios were called Bezos Games in-house.
Amazon acquired Twitch, a live game platform, for $970 million in 2014. Since then, Twitch has grown into the world’s largest gaming platform, and Amazon’s rivals Google, Microsoft, and Facebook also tried to build their own live streaming networks, but as a result, they couldn’t go beyond Twitch. Bezos said he thought of using Twitch as a free marketing tool for Amazon games by combining it with Amazon Game Studios.
However, Amazon game development did not go smoothly even though it attracted a large number of game developers. Games announced by Amazon Game Studios include Crucible, a viewer-participating multiplayer shooter that uses the live game platform Twitch, New World, a survival MMORPG based on colonial America, and ancient times. These are three MOBAs, Breakaway, set in Rome. However, among them, Breakaway stopped development on March 31, 2018, Swift and Hawking also left the company without waiting for the game to be completed, and it was reported that Amazon Game Studios had largely laid off in 2019.
Crucible was released as a basic free multiplayer TPS in May 2020, but it received rigorous evaluation from various game review sites and media, and after reverting from the full version to the closed beta in June 2020, it announced the suspension of development in October 2020.
Amazon’s in-house culture driven by data requires about six pages of paperwork each time to approve major decisions, but the in-house culture of moving on this data puts the user experience over data in game development, makes detailed modifications and refines it. It is pointed out that one of the factors of Amazon’s game studio’s failure was that it did not match the ethos of making it happen.
It is also pointed out that Amazon game studio Mike Frazzini, vice president of the game, also contributed to the failure. In the game development world, it is common for a boss to play the title prototype developed by a project and give feedback. However, Prazini wasn’t familiar with the game, and the feedback from him seems to be interesting or why this color is, but it wasn’t something that could be called feedback about when it could be done.
In addition, Prazini is said to have been a common cause of confusion by collecting information about the most popular and money-producing games currently covered in various media and instructing them to follow this trend at monthly meetings. As a result, the project developed by Amazon Game Studios has only been chasing other popular games.
For example, a project called Nova is influenced by the popular MOBA League of Legends, the project called Intensity is influenced by Fortnite, a popular battle royale, and the only officially released Crucible is influenced by the popular action shooter Overwatch. It is said that he received strongly.
In addition, the failure of the Twitch partnership that was originally aimed for was a blow. Originally, Twitch said it was passive about cooperation on the Amazon Game Studio project. For example, there was a request to build a Twitch game sales platform for a project promoted by Frazzini in 2017. Steam, a PC game sales platform, is obligated to pay a 30% sales fee, and to avoid paying this sales fee, Amazon tried to create a game sales platform at its own expense.
However, as there was no big game to attract buyers in the game content, Twitch was not reluctant to do the Frazini project at all. A former Amazon Game Studio employee testified to his boss that trying to avoid Steam would shrink the market for Amazon Game Studios itself, and that not trying to sell games on Steam was not trying to sell books on Amazon.
Moreover, Frazzini mandated all Amazon Game Studio games to be built with Lumberyard, a game engine developed by Amazon. Lumberyard is a completely free game engine announced by Amazon in 2016 that is supposed to run on AWS, and is intended to lead to the use of AWS services and connect to Amazon revenue.
However, Lumberyard’s orders were difficult and the system was fatally slow. So, while processing the art and compiling the code, the developer is said to have been watching Amazon Prime videos or playing other people’s games.
Amazon Game Studios released The Grand Tour Game, a game based on the popular program The Grand Tour, which was transmitted as Amazon Prime video in 2019, for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, the game didn’t gain popularity, and Amazon took an unusual response, stopping handling after a year of launch.
Reportedly, numerous testimonies from all employees pointed out that despite the impact of Corona 19, which led to a significant increase in spending on video games around the world, Amazon Game Studios, which started with Bezos’ CEO idea, failed a lot, and that the former vice president of Frazini is responsible for most of the responsibilities. have. In addition, unlike Amazon Game Studios, where the project was discontinued and Prazini was not involved in the cloud game service Luna, which Amazon announced in 2020, it is said that it will continue to make efforts. Related information can be found here.