Amazon Isn’t Walking Away From Video Games, New CEO Promises

Amazon Isn’t Walking Away From Video Games, New CEO Promises
Image: Crucible

Amazon’s history with video games hasn’t been great. The studio has consistently struggled to make waves with its own video games, cancelling Crucible months after release, shutting down the 4v4 hero brawler Breakaway before launch and losing high-profile developers before they could launch anything. But after a major Bloomberg report outlining some of the mismanagement within Amazon Game Studios, the new Amazon CEO has reportedly confirmed that the conglomerate won’t be getting out of video game development just yet.

Unsurprisingly, the story comes from Priya Anand and Kotaku alumni Jason Schreier, who reported that Amazon executives referenced the report in an internal email to staff this week. With competitor Google shutting down their own internal video game development studios Tuesday morning, there was naturally concern that Amazon — who has been trying and failing longer than Google on this front — would follow suit.

However, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy told staff that wouldn’t be the case:

“Some businesses take off in the first year, and others take many years … Though we haven’t consistently succeeded yet in AGS, I believe we will if we hang in there.”

“Being successful right away is obviously less stressful, but when it takes longer, it’s often sweeter.”

Amazon also addressed a couple of allegations raised in the original report, particularly around a “bro culture” that had alienated staff. “We have zero tolerance for this type of behaviour, or anything less than a fully equitable and inclusive environment,” Mike Frazzini, the head of Amazon Game Studios and a target of criticism in the original Bloomberg report, also reportedly said in an email to staff. (Frazzini and Jassy have a long history within Amazon: Frazzini has been reporting into Jassy since Amazon Game Studios was established, per a Wired report, and Frazzini oversaw the licensing of Crytek’s CryEngine in 2015, which would eventually become the Amazon Lumberyard freeware engine used for Breakaway, the New World MMO, The Grand Tour Game and Star Citizen.)

Upcoming games from Amazon Game Studios including New World, due out sometime in the Australian autumn, and Deadhaus Sonata, first revealed in October last year. Deadhaus Sonata does not have a release date or window at the time of writing.


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