Amazon has a well-deserved reputation for taking over whatever industry it gets itself into, but its record of success is far from flawless. The online retailer has spent years hesitantly flirting with the gaming business with little to show for it. But as the wide-open field of game streaming picks up steam, it appears Amazon might see an opportunity to really become a player.
The most noteworthy game streaming service that already exists is the underwhelming Playstation Now. Sony was definitely ahead of the curve but the service offers older games that invariably have performance issues. That could all be changing soon and according to a new report from the Information, Amazon hopes to ride the cloud-gaming wave alongside its close competitors at Google and Microsoft.
Citing two sources who were briefed on Amazon’s plans, the Information claims that the company has begun the process of reaching out to publishers in the game industry about distributing their products on its service. Assuming that everything goes well, it still wouldn’t launch the streaming product until next year at the earliest, according to one of the Information’s sources.
Following up on the Information’s tip, the Verge found Amazon job listings online for: two engineers to work on “cloud games,” a “Lead Cross Platform Game Engineer,” and an AI Engineer who can work on “a never before seen kind of game” alongside cloud experts.
As you know, Amazon’s Fire TV is a gaming platform. Wait, you didn’t know that? You don’t regularly play games on your Fire TV? Do you even game, bro?
OK, yes, the Fire TV has not exactly set the gaming world on fire. But Amazon’s worked in the sphere for a while now and even has its own game studio. So far, the most noteworthy thing that Amazon Games has done is cancel the development of Breakaway, the big sports game it had in development. Far from the basic smartphone apps you can play on the Fire TV, Breakaway was intended to be a real-deal PC game that would attract the e-sports crowd.
Amazon also owns the live streaming service Twitch, which is an extremely powerful space in gaming. And its AWS cloud computing service has a dedicated unit for working with games publishers. Speaking of AWS, as of April 2018 it had a 33 per cent share of the cloud infrastructure market, according to Synergy Research Group. Companies like Microsoft and Google are catching up with AWS, but it still remains the biggest in the business.
Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Google, and Nvidia are all getting into the game streaming business with an increased sense of urgency and Amazon has a lot going for it. Its cloud infrastructure is probably its biggest asset, but it also has more money than god and a CEO with a sociopathic drive to crush competition.