Though Amazon has not left the books business yet, the company no longer considers books as their customer’s prime source of entertainment. That’s been a fact for some time now as Amazon has evolved into a one stop online shop for everything, except illegal stuff of course. Amazon developed its own e-book reader the Kindle, which evolved into a tablet, the Kindle Fire and the company later developed its own smartphone, the Fire Phone. It’s invested in many companies and technologies its most ambitious project yet is delivery using drones. With its own mobile devices to support, Amazon has also gotten into games development through Amazon Game Studios and has finally recognized that it needs to get serious with gaming by invading the PC and console platforms.
Games development for PCs and consoles is a very lucrative industry, especially when a game becomes a blockbuster and later becomes a franchise. One lucky hit could propel Amazon Game Studios and Amazon to new heights of profitability in the PC/console market. Amazon knows this and wants to make a grand entrance. To do this, they hired some of the best and brightest from various games studios. Names like Clint Hocking, credited for working on Far Cry 2 and formerly from Ubisoft; Kim Swift from Portal; Double Helix, developer of the latest Killer Instinct and other developers that worked on A-List games such as The Last of Us, Half-Life 2 and Halo. Such a portfolio is enough to make many gamers’ mouths water in anticipation. Just what is Amazon planning to make? What does it have in store for gamers? With such a stellar cast, how could Amazon Game Studios possibly fail like it did with the Fire Phone?
Yes, the Fire Phone was a spectacular failure the likes of Blackberry’s Playbook, HPs TouchPad and HTCs Facebook Phone. But like a wounded animal, Amazon doesn’t want to get hit the same way again. Amazon Game Studios is serious it comes to gaming and hopes to come up with a great hit with the help of great talents.
The company still seeks to invigorate its existing devices such as the Kindle Fire and the Fire Phone with games developed with the help of more than 300 veteran game developers and game studios. What better way to force the sales of devices than a good game library? Games make up a huge percentage of apps available for any platform, the lack of which often spells doom for fledglings. A good example is Windows 8 RT, which even though it has a few gems, failed to take off because it didn’t have the support of most games developers; while with Windows 10, Microsoft went out of its way to make partnerships with many game studios like King resulting in the inclusion of Candy Crush Saga in Windows 10’s preloaded games.
To emphasize that Amazon Game Studios isn’t playing around when it comes to games, they’ve developed several cool games not just for its own devices but for other mobile platforms:
Lost Within is an immersive survival horror game available for the iPhone, iPad, Fire Phone and Fire Tablets. The game takes advantage of the Fire Phone’s four front mounted cameras for a more immersive experience where a turn of the head changes the game’s view and a zoomed view results when the player takes a closer look at the phone. The game works just as well on other devices. The game has great haunting graphics and compelling story. Another similar game made by Amazon is Til Morning’s Light where the player must guide a teenage girl trapped in a haunted house combines puzzle solving and rhythm based combat
The Unmaking is what happens when Plants vs Zombies is combined with the Lord of the Rings. It’s a harrowing Tower Defense game with a great story. The gods have been angered and have marked the player for annihilation by sending ravenous hordes to attack the player’s castle. Amazon’s collaboration with talented developers resulted in a game that successfully exceeds the limitations of its hardware. The game has great gloomy and sinister visuals, handles hundreds of sprites without slowing down and has great controls. Other notable games include CreepStorm and the upcoming Tales from Deep Space.
With such offerings, a great PC hit would not be impossible for Amazon. However, if not for this and other write-ups, Amazon has relatively been unnoticed as a games developer. Amazon is still better known for delivering consoles, cartridges and DVDs of games from other studios and gamers have long been anticipating their games delivery via unmanned drone. Apart from the games mentioned, the company has a good library of mobile games made with the help of seasoned gaming vets. The problem perhaps lies more on marketing. It’s a bit weird saying that with regards to Amazon, but perhaps more ads on TV and social media is needed, especially now if the company wants to make a splash in PC or console gaming. The gaming landscape could sure use another developer hopefully with an innovative, bug-free, minimal-DRM game. If this endeavor takes off, expect a Fire-PC or KindleBox delivered via drone near you.