Published on February 8th, 2021 | by Bibhuranjan


Amazon Commits To Making More Video Games

It’s barely an exaggeration to say that we’ve seen Amazon take over the world during the past ten years. If time travel were possible and you could take a ride in a time machine back to the beginning of 2010, you’d find that Amazon was little more than an internet-based mail-order store. It had a fantastic range of products, and it was extremely popular, but it didn’t step out of its lane. It knew what it was good at, and it focused on that role. By the end of 2010, that had begun to change. This once-humble web retailer, which once sold little more than books, opened Amazon Studios and started a process that would eventually lead to the Amazon Prime streaming service.

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From there, the company has done just about everything in the field of technology. Amazon has become involved in movies, television shows, drone technology, self-driving cars, and Bluetooth speakers. It even popularized the concept of e-readers when it invented the Kindle. The one thing the company has never managed to get the hang of, though, is creating video games. That isn’t for want of trying. Amazon Game Studios was launched in 2013 and is yet to make a single popular game. Far from giving up on the idea after eight barren years, though, they’re committing to making more in the future.

This new commitment, which comes from new company CEO Andy Jassey, comes at a crucial time for the company as it prepares to launch Amazon Luna – a game streaming platform that aims to succeed where Google Stadia currently appears to be failing. The platform works according to the same principle that drives an online slots website like Ever since the very first online slots websites appeared a little under twenty years ago, gamblers haven’t had to visit physical casinos to play slots or other casino games because they no longer need a cabinet to do so. Online slots websites break that chain and allow the games to be played by anyone with a screen and an internet connection. Amazon Luna will allow the latest video games to be played by anyone who has a controller and a device with a screen that’s connected to the internet. Everything that online slots have done to casinos, Amazon wants to do to game console companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft.

What exactly is Amazon going for?

The wording of Jassy’s statement is a little vague. He acknowledges that Amazon Game Studios didn’t “take off in the first year” (which is quite the understatement), but he believes good things can come of it if the company “hangs in there.” if they can get Luna off the ground and get people engaged with it, they’ll never have a better opportunity to do so. Part of the reason that Google Stadia has struggled is that Google, somewhat strangely for a company with its resources, didn’t do a great job of promoting Stadia or making gamers aware that it exists as an alternative. Amazon is unlikely to make that mistake. When Luna goes live, we can expect to see it promoted heavily on television stations, and especially so through Amazon Prime television subscription services. That isn’t to say that money hasn’t been poured into the gaming arm of the company before, though. Some reports suggest that Amazon spends half a billion dollars per year on Amazon Game Studios and has yet to see any significant returns on that staggering level of investment.

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The failure of the gaming division thus far can be put down to several missteps by senior staff. The appointment of people who have no previous video game production experience in senior roles was always likely to result in difficulties, and that proved to be the case. Spending money on niche ideas or imitation products was always likely to be a dead end, too. Big money was spent on a video game adaptation of “The Grand Tour,” which is one of Amazon’s flagship exclusive television shows, but the blending of studio footage with simplistic gameplay didn’t go down well with players, and the game was pulled from stores after receiving overwhelmingly negative reviews. “New World,” which is Amazon’s first attempt at an MMO game, has been pushed back repeatedly after poor responses from playtesters and is now scheduled for spring 2021 after initially being penciled in for a 2018 release. “Crucible” was dismissed by players as a substandard copy of “Overwatch” upon release and then pushed back into beta testing before being written off completely. Another could-have-been flagship game called “Breakaway” was abandoned before it was even finished.

Amazon’s recent strides into the gaming community

Amazon isn’t working alone in its endeavor to create popular video games. It acquired Double Helix Games in 2014, and that partnership should have borne fruit already but hasn’t done so. Now, with Luna on the horizon, it seems that Andy Jassey wants to make getting AGS off the ground properly one of his high priorities as he takes the reigns of the gargantuan company from Jeff Bezos. Bearing in mind the company’s embarrassing failures in the recent past, he’ll want to make sure Amazon Luna is bug-free and capable of performing at a high standard from the moment it goes live. Nobody knows when that’s likely to be. The platform opened up for early access in October 2020 in the USA, but if you didn’t get an invitation for early access, you might be waiting for a while. There’s no news yet on when the rest of the world might get a look-in. A full roll-out of the service is expected to begin in America at the end of the early access stage and will then move to the rest of the world from there. Aside from being assured that everyone will have access to Luna by the end of 2021, no further information is available.

There’s no such thing as having too many great video games to play, so the news that a company with Amazon’s resources is committed to making games in the future should be cautiously welcomed. As Google has found out to its cost, though, having resources isn’t any guarantee of success. Amazon will have to do better if it’s going to make a dent in the crowded gaming market, and it will be interesting to follow their progress along during the next twelve months.

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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