Amazon’s had its eye on the gaming industry for several years. First it launched Amazon Game Studios, which mostly concerned itself with producing mobile games. Then it bundled a game controller with its Fire TV console, along with slightly more advanced gaming titles such as Sev Zero (screenshot above). Now it’s apparently set its sights on the lucrative—and massive—PC gaming business.
In order to ramp up its PC gaming efforts, Amazon is hiring a busload of developers and gaming experts, from senior gameplay engineers to visual-effects artists and game economy designers. However, the company hasn’t shared many details about the actual project, aside from terming it “ambitious” in a press release on Gamasutra.
“Our team in Seattle has worked on a lot of other great titles like Half Life 2, Left for Dead, Dota 2, Halo, Infamous, Shadows of Mordor and The Last of Us,” the release added. “If you want to be on the tip of the spear for game design and technology, contact us.”
Based on its need for a game economy designer, it seems that Amazon is working on something massive and multiplayer, as that job tasks tech pros with figuring out how large numbers of players navigate through (and interact with) the game environment. Such games, if they prove successful, can transform into enormous revenue drivers for a company—Blizzard made a fortune off World of Warcraft, to cite one famous example.
But from a production standpoint, PC games also have a nasty way of spiraling out of control, burning through millions of dollars and dozens of exhausted workers with precious little to show for it. If Amazon releases a half-finished or bug-riddled game, it could face the same sort of blowback that greeted the makers of Assassin’s Creed after one of the games in that venerable franchise turned out to be a mess; and it would be difficult for Amazon, as a comparatively young gaming studio, to handle that sort of blow to its nascent reputation.
In other words, whomever Amazon hires will have their work cut out for them.