Skip to main content

Amazon's next CEO says they're going to keep trying to make a hit game

Crucible
(Image credit: Amazon Games)
Audio player loading…

Despite having virtually unlimited resources to throw at any problem it encounters, Amazon has not yet been able to nail down the process of making videogames. The free-to-play hero shooter Crucible flopped so hard that Amazon Game Studios actually unreleased it, and then retroactively canceled the project, the first (and only) time I recall such a thing happening; the fantasy MMO New World has also been delayed repeatedly, and still doesn't have a set release date.

There are also reportedly internal problems at Amazon Game Studios: A Bloomberg report published in January claims that the studio "cultivated a 'bro culture'" and suffered from a lack of experience in upper management, including from studio head Mike Frazzini, who got his start in Amazon's books department. 

Despite all that, incoming Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, who will take over from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos this summer, expressed support for Frazzini in an email sent to staff (via Bloomberg) and said that Amazon remains committed to the game business.

"Some businesses take off in the first year, and others take many years," Jassy wrote. "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. I believe this team will get there if we stay focused on what matters most."

That, of course, leads to the obvious question of "what matters most." Making games is hard for everyone, as Tyler pointed out earlier today, even trillion-dollar tech companies like Amazon. Putting a winner over the line might be something as (relatively) simple as a change in management: Turn around the internal culture, bring in experienced leadership (maybe give Jade Raymond a chance to actually finish a game?), and the rest might fall into place. Money can pave over an awful lot of obstacles, but a firm grasp on the fundamentals of making games and a commitment to creativity rather than just processes and feature lists are clearly big pieces of the puzzle, too.

The timing of Jassy's re-commitment to making games is interesting, too: It comes just a couple of days after Google announced that it's pulling the plug on its Stadia internal studios (hence why Jade Raymond might be available for hire).

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.