August 7, 2012
Amazon.com Gets In the Game (Studios)
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The latest from Amazon.com is the development of Amazon Game Studios, the internet seller announced this morning with a post from its development team. The first game from Amazon Game Studios is Living Classics, a social game played on Facebook.
The development team answered the question, "Why is Amazon making social games, you ask?" on its introduction page. "We know that many Amazon customers enjoy playing games - including free-to-play social games - and thanks to Amazon's know-how, we believe we can deliver a great, accessible gaming experience that gamers and our customers can play any time."
The first game is a take on the popular genre of hidden objects. Instead of hidden, Amazon's team built a "moving object" game where users must click on objects within a scene that are moving in order to reach goals. The title, Living Classics, hints at the theme of the game, which is fairy tales and classic folklore. The game uses Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and King Arthur as a backdrop for its gameplay.
Amazon follows several popular Facebook games in its quest to entertain its customer base. But will it find success? Zynga, a publisher of social games that play primarily on Facebook, has seen its audience drop in recent months. The company's stock price continues to sink steadily as its audience finds other games - and often on other platforms.
It's too early to see whether Amazon will find its game on the charts, since it was only released today. However rankings on AppData show that Zynga has rebounded somewhat, holding the first three spots in the App Leaderboard rankings. Zynga's The Ville has 47 million monthly active users. Farmville follows second with 39 million and Cityville with 37 million monthly active users.
For Amazon.com to play in this arena, it must compete with app developers such as Zynga, Microsoft, Woobox, Electronic Arts, King.com and Thunderpenny, among others. Most of the top developers have more than one title running on Facebook. This means that Amazon Game Studios must quickly get up to speed with a few titles.
This isn't the first move by Amazon to compete on the online market. Amazon opened its own app store to sell apps for the company's own Kindle Fire, but also for other Android-based devices including phones and tablets.
The online retailer is making a significant investment in its games department. ITProPortal.com says the company has been recruiting game developers for some time. The article also says that Amazon is actively hiring more. It's likely that Amazon will enlarge its team to develop more apps for Facebook, but also look to other platforms including mobile to release games. The company could cater to its growing Kindle audience and develop a number of games specific to Kindle e-readers, and develop for tablets so that Kindle Fire owners will have Amazon-made games to play when they're not reading books on the tablet.
Amazon hopes it will be a storybook saga for its Living Classics game that takes elements from popular childhood stories such as Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz.