Amazon Games
FormerlyAmazon Game Studios (2012–2020)
TypeDivision
FoundedAugust 7, 2012; 9 years ago (2012-08-07)[1]
Headquarters,
U.S.
Key people
  • Christoph Hartmann
  • (vice president)[2][3]
ParentAmazon
DivisionsAmazon Games Orange County[4][5]
Amazon Lumberyard
Amazon Games Montreal[6]
Amazon Games San Diego
Relentless Studios
Websiteamazongames.com

Amazon Games (formerly Amazon Game Studios) is an American video game company and division of the online retailing company Amazon that primarily focuses on publishing video games developed within the company's development divisions.

History

In 2011, Amazon opened the Amazon Appstore[7] and started to hire developers for mobile social games.[8] In 2012, Amazon Game Studios released Living Classics, a social game for Facebook.[9]

Amazon first announced that it would create computer games in 2014.[10] Amazon recruited Kim Swift (Portal, who has since left for EA), Clint Hocking (Far Cry 2), and developers who previously worked on System Shock 2. Amazon sought to make games in-between the industry standards of small and large teams making casual and AAA games, respectively. Amazon Game Studios wanted to make teams of five to thirty people who would work on games for between a year and 18 months with a focus on "creativity" and "craftsmanship", whether the genre is for kids or hardcore gamers. Studio vice-president Mike Frazzini wanted to make projects like Minecraft, The Walking Dead, and The Room. The studio also wanted developers to impact the direction of their hardware, between its cloud services and Amazon-brand devices. For example, developers can offload processing to Amazon's cloud services and the Amazon Fire TV has expanded memory as a result of developer feedback.[11] A lot of the company's developers left within a year of the company's founding. Amazon Game Studios went on to publish a number of mobile titles, including the horror game Lost Within.[12]

Two years after the studio's initial announcement, at the September 2016 TwitchCon, the studio revealed its first three PC games: Breakaway, Crucible, and New World.[10][13] Breakaway was a team-based brawler in which two teams of four fight to deliver a ball to their opponents' goal. It was designed for tight integration into Twitch, the streaming service Amazon acquired in 2014.[10] Amazon Game Studios announced the cancellation of Breakaway in March 2018.[14] Crucible was a 12-player, class-based game in which players competed to become the last man standing. Crucible was launched in May 2020, but also cancelled later that year, with Relentless Studios citing "inability to see a sustained future" as the cause. New World is a massively multiplayer sandbox game with a supernatural colonial America theme. Players can form settlements, fight each other, or fight monsters out in the world.[13] Crucible launched on May 20, 2020, while New World was released on September 28, 2021, after a 2nd pushback date was announced on July 10, 2020, and a 3rd on August 31, 2021.

In August 2018, Christoph Hartmann, co-founder of video game publisher 2K Games – a wholly subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive – became the new Vice President of Amazon Game Studios working under Mike Frazzini.

In June 2019, during E3 week it was announced that layoffs hit the company. At this time it was unknown how many people were impacted. However, "multiple" unannounced projects had been cancelled.[15]

The company had been involved with a Lord of the Rings MMO with Leyou since the middle of 2019.[16] However, in April 2021, following Tencent's purchase of Leyou in December 2020, contractual disputes between Amazon and Tencent led Amazon to cancel further development of the game.[17]

The company has three game development studios in San Diego,[18] Seattle,[19] and Orange County.[20][21][22] In March 2021, Amazon opened a new development studio in Montreal, Quebec, led by former members of Ubisoft Montreal behind Rainbow Six: Siege, Luc Bouchard, Xavier Marquis, Alexandre Remy, and Romain Rimokh.[23]

During a major leak of Twitch's source code in October 2021, it was revealed that Amazon Games was working on a competitor to Steam, codenamed "Vapor".[24]

New World launched on September 28, 2021, reaching 707,000 concurrent players at its peak on launch day. [25] Concurrent players on Steam peaked at just over 913K, putting it among the top 5 titles on the list of games with the most peak players ever for the platform. [26]

Lost Ark is a massively multiplayer online action role-playing game (MMOARPG) developed by Tripod Studio and Smilegate's game development subsidiary Smilegate RPG. It was fully released in the Korean region on December 4, 2018. The game was also released in North America, South America, and Europe on February 11, 2022, where it is published by Amazon Games. Within twenty-four hours of release, it became the second most played game on Steam.[27]

On September 22, 2021, Amazon Games announced it will publish a new title from game developer Glowmade. Based in Guildford, England, Glowmade’s staff includes veterans of Lionhead Studios. This game for Amazon will be a new IP focusing on online cooperative play. [28]

In March 2022, studio head Mike Frazzini stepped down.[29]

Games

Year Title Developer(s) Platform(s)
2010 Airport Mania: First Flight Reflexive Entertainment
South Wind Games
Amazon Appstore
2011 Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips
2012 Air Patriots[30] Reflexive Entertainment
Simplz: Zoo
Lucky's Escape
Living Classics[9] Amazon Game Studios Facebook
2014 To-Fu Fury[31] Amazon Appstore, iOS App Store
Tales From Deep Space[32] Amazon Appstore
Sev Zero[33] Amazon Appstore, Google Play, iOS App Store[33]
The Unmaking[34] Amazon Appstore[34]
2015 Lost Within[35] Amazon Appstore, iOS App Store[35]
Til Morning's Light[36] Amazon Game Studios
WayForward[36]
Amazon Appstore
2018 Dragon's Lair[37] Amazon Game Studios Seattle Twitch Extension
2019 The Grand Tour Game Amazon Game Studios Seattle[38] PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2021 New World[39] Amazon Games Orange County, Relentless Studios[40] Windows
2022 Lost Ark Smilegate RPG Windows
Cancelled Nova[41] Amazon Game Studios
Intensity[41]
Breakaway Amazon Game Studios Orange County[42]
Crucible Relentless Studios[19] Windows
Lord of the Rings MMO[43] Amazon Game Studios

Divisions

Relentless Studios (formerly Amazon Game Studios Seattle) is an American video development studio based in Seattle, Washington. It is most known for developing the cancelled title Crucible in 2020.

Amazon Games Orange County (formerly Amazon Game Studios Orange County) is an American video development studio based in Irvine, California. It is most known for developing the title New World which was released in September 2021.

Amazon Games San Diego (formerly Amazon Game Studios San Diego) is an American video game development studio based in San Diego, California.

Amazon Games Montreal is a Canadian video game development studio based in Montreal, Quebec.

References

  1. ^ Amazon Game Studios Launches "Living Classics" for Facebook: Is It Any Good?, Adweek, August 7, 2012
  2. ^ "Former 2K Games president joins Amazon Game Studios". Gamasutra. August 7, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  3. ^ "Former 2K president Christoph Hartmann joins Amazon Game Studios as vice president". VentureBeat. August 7, 2018. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 8, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Gilliam, Ryan (February 15, 2017). "Amazon opens new game studio led by EverQuest creator John Smedley". Polygon. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  6. ^ "Amazon Games hires 'Rainbow Six' devs to head up new development studio in Montreal". GeekWire. March 23, 2021.
  7. ^ Amazon Appstore is now live, Apple is suing for the name, GSMArena, 22 March 2011
  8. ^ Amazon Wants to Hire Game Designer to Create Facebook and Mobile Social Games, Inside Social Games, May 27, 2011
  9. ^ a b Amazon Takes On Zynga, Releases First Social Game Living Classics, TechCrunch, August 6, 2012
  10. ^ a b c Furniss, Zack (October 2, 2016). "Is Breakaway Appealing To More Than Streamers?". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on December 23, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  11. ^ Lien, Tracey (April 7, 2014). "How Amazon Game Studios convinced developers to join its team". Polygon. Archived from the original on November 29, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  12. ^ Makuch, Eddie. "Amazon's Gaming Division Loses Three Key Figures". GameSpot. Archived from the original on November 1, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  13. ^ a b O'Connor, Alice (September 30, 2016). "Amazon Game Studios Announce Three Games". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Archived from the original on October 18, 2016. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  14. ^ Gilliam, Ryan (April 2, 2018). "Amazon kills its fantasy sports game Breakaway". Polygon. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  15. ^ "Amazon Lays Off Dozens Of Game Developers During E3". Kotaku.
  16. ^ "New Details On The Lord Of The Rings MMO, Including Its Art Style, Have Emerged".
  17. ^ Schreier, Jason (April 17, 2021). "Amazon Cancels Lord of the Rings Game Announced Two Years Ago". Bloomberg News. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  18. ^ "Amazon hires John Smedley to lead new San Diego studio". GamesIndustry.biz.
  19. ^ a b "Louis Castle joins Amazon to head Crucible team". Polygon. March 9, 2017.
  20. ^ "Amazon Game Studios unveils three PC games - Breakaway, Crucible, New World". September 30, 2016.
  21. ^ "Amazon opens new game studio led by EverQuest creator John Smedley". Polygon. February 15, 2017.
  22. ^ "The curious case of Amazon's deep plunge into the esports industry". March 12, 2017.
  23. ^ Watts, Steve (March 23, 2021). "Amazon Games Opens New Studio In Montreal With Rainbow Six Siege Vets". GameSpot. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  24. ^ Stanton, Rich (October 6, 2021). "Twitch megaleak reveals secret Steam competitor codenamed Vapour". PC Gamer. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  25. ^ Gonzalez, Oscar. "New World surpasses 900,000 players to become one of Steam's most played games". CNET. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  26. ^ "Steam Charts - Tracking What's Played". steamcharts.com. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  27. ^ Warren, Tom (February 12, 2022). "Lost Ark becomes the second most played game in Steam history after just 24 hours". The Verge. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  28. ^ "Amazon will publish a game from Glowmade". VentureBeat. September 22, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  29. ^ Amazon Games Studio Head Frazzini Steps Down
  30. ^ Amazon launches its first mobile game, 'Air Patriots,' for iOS and Android, The Verse, November 1, 2012
  31. ^ Amazon Game Studios' First Fire Phone Games, To-Fu Fury And Saber's Edge, Demonstrate Bad Cases Of Kinect Syndrome, Android Police, July 21, 2014
  32. ^ Amazon Game Studios' 'Tales From Deep Space' Blasts Off Towards A Fire Device Near You, Android Police, November 19, 2014
  33. ^ a b Amazon Games Studios Launches Its First Gaming App On iTunes, TechCrunch, September 4, 2014
  34. ^ a b Amazon Game Studios Releases Free 'The Unmaking', Android Police, December 12, 2014
  35. ^ a b Amazon Game Studios launches new survival-horror game Lost Within on Fire and iOS devices, VentureBeat, April 16, 2015
  36. ^ a b Amazon Game Studios Releases 'Til Morning's Light' An Adventure Game With Puzzles And Monsters Galore, Android Police, May 20, 2015
  37. ^ New Extension Experiences Launching at TwitchCon, Twitch, October 26, 2018
  38. ^ Amazon Game Studios Announces The Grand Tour Game, Yahoo, August 22, 2018
  39. ^ New World Review: A Promising MMORPG Game by Amazon Game Studios, Gamblerkey, February 17, 2022
  40. ^ Hands-on with Amazon's MMO New World, where hundreds of players war over a supernatural continent, PC Gamer, August 30, 2018
  41. ^ a b "Amazon Can Make Just About Anything—Except a Good Video Game". Bloomberg.com. January 29, 2021. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  42. ^ Amazon reveals 'Breakaway,' a streamer-friendly MOBA built with Twitch integration, Yahoo, October 1, 2016
  43. ^ Lyons, Kim (April 17, 2021). "Amazon has canceled its Lord of the Rings MMO game". The Verge.