Amazon has announced that it is creating a team to design and build video games, which will then be sold on the Amazon site, presumably, as downloads. They also announced their first release, a Facebook game called Living Classics. CNET says the move is most assuredly a response to the wildly popular and successful Zynga and others like it.
The timing for the announcement is interesting in light of news of slowed sales of video games overall, thus, it’s likely that Amazon will focus on Facebook tie in games and the like, rather than create full blown games for play on hardware devices made by at least one of its rivals, namely Microsoft. They will likely also follow the path of other game makers and make the games free, but charge for extras.
Because the announcement doesn’t offer much else, other than also announcing that the company is looking for people to join its team of professional designers and programmers, speculation about what sorts of games the company might be thinking about making is likely to be rampant. There is also the possibility that the company is thinking about developing or releasing a hardware game playing device as well, to complement its line of Kindle eReaders, though Amazon has not even hinted at such a possibility. One possibility might involve launching games from eBooks, with characters from the books serving as the central characters in the games.
The company’s first offering, “Living Classics” features a family of foxes that correspond with foxes found in popular children’s stories such as “King Arthur,” Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wizard of Oz. The overall objective is to reunite the foxes from the different realms. This first title offers a glimpse into the niche Amazon plans to create for itself, making games that are connected to books, which is of course Amazon’s mainstay. If Amazon does choose to follow this path, they would likely have the market to themselves, as currently, there are no other game makers making such games, at least not for those that don’t appear in movies such as the Harry Potter series.
The announcement marks Amazon’s first foray into creating video games, thus its initial steps will likely be tentative, likely offering relatively simple games as it learns and grows and probably, stealing talent from other companies. One major advantage the company has over other major game makers is its starting out with both a familiar name, and a lot of more to invest in development and production. Plus, it has a built in distribution channel.