The online retailer that started in the business back in 1994, selling books and e-book readers, is now everywhere – even in space. Amazon.com sells pretty much anything you can imagine. Not by chance, it has become a case study of a successful eCommerce model. Amazon has also created fantastic movies, TV shows and streaming platforms.
In 2012, the company started investing in games and founded Amazon Games Studios. Yet, after almost ten years of investment and working with top professionals from the field, it struggles to release a good game. Why is it so? Keep reading and find
A matter of approach
Two titles that were expected to put Amazon on the map of the gaming industry failed big time. While New World was cancelled for being offensive, Crucible was simply ignored. However, no one overlooking the preparation of Crucible could guess it would be such a train-wreck.
It had all the ingredients of a great title. A comprehensive budget, solid technology, and great professionals involved. After all, multiplayer shooter games in exotic worlds are all the craze these days, aren’t they? Still, the game had to be awkwardly “un-launched” earlier this year and was downgraded to a closed beta version. What went wrong?
Experts from the industry believe the main reason is the lack of a gaming mindset. Amazon’s ‘corporate culture’ has got the company this far. Still, not all aspects of the gaming industry can be measured in pie charts.
Amazon tried hard to bring the best minds to its Game Studios. Still, their talent seems to have got somehow lost amid online forms and ‘business goals’. According to former staff, some of the best names in the industry were hired for very high wages.
Amazon Games hired Clint Hocking, director from Far Cry 2, and Madden’s mastermind Richard Hilleman. Also, they’ve hired one of the pioneers of online gaming, John Smedley. Despite large budgets and fat wages, only Smedley remained at the company.
Some specialists and former co-workers blame the head of the Game Studios, Mike Frazzini’s lack of experience with gaming. It didn’t seem to be formulating a recipe for user success and didn’t prioritise what the end-user wanted. Business strategies were a priority instead of being proactive by creating a carefully tailored list of Amatic casinos or scoping what the demand was. Others point out that ‘corporate culture’ simply kills creativity. Amazon promised to launch two ground-breaking titles last year. Both ended up being quite disappointing.
Out of touch
No one in the company thought that the title New World could be problematic. The game has players colonising a fictional land while skilling local inhabitants who look like Native Americans. It raised no red flags before coming to the public. Its release keeps being postponed. The Multiplayer shooter title Crucible followed the same path.
Amazon is still struggling to find its way into the gaming industry. Despite reports of suffocating ‘corporate culture’, it seems to be merely a matter of management. The company has enough funds to keep investing in it until it finally works. Ultimately, the goal is to create games that attract more users to Amazon platforms, where they’ll access other web services.
Amazon is ready to provide all the structure needed for a great gaming experience. It includes excellent web and cloud services, plus online business expertise. In 2014, the company acquired the video game streaming platform Twitch, gaining about 26 million users worldwide. It proved to be a clever move since similar attempts from Google and Facebook flunked.
Jeff Bezos wants to use this platform to advance Amazon’s games to a larger audience. Additionally, the Amazon Games Studios and Twitch would work together to offer unique features to their users. However, the plans haven’t left the blueprint stage yet.
Amazon’s efforts in the field have been converging to the goal of bringing more subscribers into the Amazon Prime environment. The problem is that it’s not a good enough reason to make games.
Games like Crucible seem to have been designed to aggregate services, not having a ‘soul’ itself. It shows in many reviews that complain the game feels like a mixture of other successful games.
Amazon’s debut in the gaming industry was quite disappointing for a trillion-dollar company. Still, Bezos hasn’t given up the online gaming market. Online gaming generated over 21 billion dollars in revenue only last year. The company is trying to make the best with its online services to find their way in the industry. Gamers await a game that leaves the bureaucratic mindset behind.