Amazon could soon be a force to be reckoned with in the world of gaming, as the company is said to have invested “hundreds of millions” of dollars into trying to become a major player in the games business. The New York Times reported that figure, and also noted that Amazon’s new push into gaming represents the company’s “most significant investment” in original entertainment since it launched a movie and TV business with Amazon Studios.
Amazon’s film and TV business has enjoyed a lot of success over the years, including the acclaimed TV show Transparent and the Oscar-winning movie Manchester by the Sea. Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel also won high acclaim, picking up multiple Golden Globe and Emmy wins.
Amazon is looking for success in gaming, too, and this begins with the launch of its first original game, the sci-fi shooter Crucible. The game, which is developed by Relentless Studios in Seattle, is due to launch in May, following delays related to COVID-19. Amazon is also working on multiple MMOs, including the 17th century New World (from Amazon’s Irvine, California studio) and a Lord of the Rings MMO from the same studio in southern California.
On top of this, former Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley is running a new Amazon game studio in San Diego, but the company’s game has not been announced yet. Like many other game studios, Amazon’s teams are working from home, and development continues in this new setup.
Amazon is also said to be working on interactive “casual games” that streamers on Twitch–which it owns–can play with viewers “in real time.” In addition to games themselves, Amazon is creating a “full-fledged” cloud gaming platform with the codename Project Tempo, according to the report. This service had been rumored for more than a year already.
Amazon would become just the latest big name to get into game-streaming, joining Google Stadia, Microsoft’s xCloud, and Sony’s PlayStation Now, among others. Electronic Arts, too, is said to be developing a cloud gaming service.
Project Tempo was supposed to release an “early version” in 2020, but the launch might move to 2021 due to “disruptions” related to COVID-19, according to the report.
Amazon’s gaming boss Mike Frazzini, said the company is trying to take the best of Amazon and work it into its games business. “We have been working for a while, but it takes a long time to make games, and we’re bringing a lot of Amazon practices to making games.”
“It was very clear to everyone that people, customers, love video games,” the executive said. “It was so obviously important to customers that we need to be doing something.”
Amazon’s push into video games hasn’t always been smooth. The company’s first big game, Breakaway, was canceled because it did not live up to the company’s high bar. The company also hired big names, including Portal designer Kim Swift and Far Cry 2 director Clint Hocking, but they left the studio without releasing anything.
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