Amazon Launches First Major Proprietary Video Game

Amazon’s move into the video game game market begins today (May 20) with the debut of Crucible, a free online shooter game in which users in teams or solo hunt down creatures and animals on a foreign planet. A second game, New World, is set for release in August and reportedly priced at $40.

The debut comes as the video game industry is experiencing a rejuvenation due to large segments of the gaming community being homebound due to the coronavirus. Gamers in the first quarter (ended March 31) spent a record $10.86 billion on hardware, software and accessories, according to The NPD Group.

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“There’s tremendous room for invention in games,” Mike Frazzini, VP of Amazon Games, said in a statement. “We’re just getting started.”

Indeed, Amazon first entered the gaming segment in 2012 with digital titles targeted for its Fire TV streaming devices and Prime members. That was followed in 2014 with the acquisition of Twitch — an online gaming platform and the launch of Twitch Prime. Along the way Amazon has hired gaming talent to jump start business with limited success.

“Amazon Game Studios is still finding its way,” Susan Eustis, president of Wintergreen Research, told Bloomberg.

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Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, doubts Amazon would release titles on disc, opting instead for its digital platforms. He said gamers don’t care where the game comes from.

“If the game is good, it will get traction; if not, it won’t,” he said in an email.

The analyst said Amazon’s deep pockets are no guarantee of success with video games. He cited Netflix spending $160 million on Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, which was nominated for myriad industry awards and still came up empty at the Oscars and Golden Globes.

Crucible is launching into a competitive marketplace, and it will perform based upon quality,” Pachter said. “People don’t care about the publisher, they care about the game play.”