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Analysis Bloomberg Report: Amazon Can Make Just About Anything—Except a Good Video Game

ZlleH

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Dec 21, 2020
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Here is the original article that is behind a paywall if you have used up your free look:

But here is a summary from Kotaku:
They highlighted these points from the Bloomberg article:
  • Initial designs for the game New World—in which you play as a colonist in a fictionalized 17th-century America—featured enemy designs that bore an uncomfortable similarity to Native Americans. Per Bloomberg, Amazon “hired a tribal consultant who found that the portrayal was indeed offensive.” New World, which was initially slated for an August 2020 release, is now planned for a spring 2021 release.
  • Developers at Amazon Game Studios were forced to use a proprietary development tool called Lumberyard. (You may have read about this in a piece of similarly excellent reporting by Wired’s Cecilia D’Anastasio from last October.) In 2018, Amazon brought on Christoph Hartmann, a Take-Two veteran, as vice president of game studios. He eased the “mandate” that forced everyone to use Lumberyard.
  • “Bro Culture” is reportedly pervasive at Amazon’s game development studios. One woman told Bloomberg that, following a disagreement with a male member of senior leadership, he made up some new positions above her and hired men into those roles.
  • Amazon on-boarded storied developers who worked on popular series like Portal and Far Cry. Of them, just one remains.
  • The leader of the entire games division, Mike Frazzini, had never made a video game before. He’d reportedly frustrated developers with basic takes and had trouble differentiating between gameplay and concept footage.
  • Rather than designing new concepts, Amazon pushed to create takes on other popular games. A project called Nova, inspired by League of Legends, was cancelled in 2017. One called Intensity, sparked by Fortnite’s staggering success, was binned in 2019. And then there’s the ill-fated, Overwatch-like Crucible, which face-planted so hard it was released and then un-released last year.
  • Amazon Luna, the company’s foray into the hot games-on-demand space, doesn’t even fall under the gaming division. It’s run by David Limp, who helms Amazon’s devices division (responsible for physical products like the Kindle and the Echo).
 

godhandiscen

There are millions of whiny 5-year olds on Earth, and I AM THEIR KING.
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Perfect title. They need to buy good studios. Is the only way to gain ground. Microsoft bought a huge stake in Bungie along with the Xbox for example.
 
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SlimeGooGoo

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featured enemy designs that bore an uncomfortable similarity to Native Americans. Per Bloomberg, Amazon “hired a tribal consultant who found that the portrayal was indeed offensive.”
SJW bull

Developers at Amazon Game Studios were forced to use a proprietary development tool called Lumberyard
It's a fork of CryEngine, by far a mature and competent tool, as good as Unity and Unreal.

“Bro Culture”
Based Amazon.

Amazon on-boarded storied developers who worked on popular series like Portal and Far Cry. Of them, just one remains.
Even more based Amazon.

Rather than designing new concepts, Amazon pushed to create takes on other popular games
Oh, you mean just like EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Tencent, Square-Enix, Sony, Microsoft and every other corporation that exists?

Amazon Luna, the company’s foray into the hot games-on-demand space, doesn’t even fall under the gaming division
Irrelevant comparison. It's still related to games, like Xbox Game Pass.

Not defending Amazon, as they really seem to have some issues in developing their own games. But these observations are just pointless and tell nothing about the issues at all.
 
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SirKicksalot

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Back then CryEngine had poor documentation. Imagine working at Amazon on that fork while UE4 was taking off like a rocket :messenger_hushed:
 
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Sushen

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Engineer driven game development rarely succeeds because the focus often is on the technical achievements rather than the game being fun.
 
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LordCBH

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Amazon should stop chasing that multiplayer dollar. The odds of making a multiplayer game with any kind of staying power is low. The odds of making something to take players away from Fortnite/FF14/WoW are incredibly low. All they’re doing is throwing away money.
 
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Cravis

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Maybe if they had it made in China like all their other crap they sell it would have turned out better.
 

Abriael_GN

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Here is the original article that is behind a paywall if you have used up your free look:

But here is a summary from Kotaku:
They highlighted these points from the Bloomberg article:

Oh look, another hit piece from the usual suspect without a single named source. 😂
 
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Mobilemofo

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And kindles. They are awful at making them. Slow as fuck, full of ads, and shit hardware, even for the time. utter utter shite
 

LittleBusters

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Jun 4, 2018
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Amazon has had a lot of failures. Fire Phone, Spark, Restaurants, Story Writer, pop up stores, dash buttons, Amazon Tap, Instant Pickup, Tickets, Whole Foods 365 and on and on.

The idea that Amazon or any of these big tech companies have a 100% success track record is laughable and not factual. Even Apple has had failures in the Jobs/Cook era.
 

jakinov

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Perfect title. They need to buy good studios. Is the only way to gain ground. Microsoft bought a huge stake in Bungie along with the Xbox for example.
They need to hire better people to run their new studios. People who have previously run and built studios from the ground up or at least been around enough relatively to the top to know how to hire the right people. Microsoft bought a bunch of studios with mediocre recent track records and pumped money into them. But that doesn't help if the problem already works there.

Google approach has been to hire well experienced people to build out their studios which is similar to what Microsoft did with the initiative. According to the article, Amazon decided to get a guy who never made a video game before to be in charge of all the projects/studios. Matt Booty was CEO, studio head and developer at Midway. Jade Raymond, was producer and studio head for multiple studios across multiple projects. Stadia's first studio got the studio head from Sony Santa Monica.

It's not like there are a bunch of good studios that are independent and easy to buy right now. It's slim pickings. Most studios work with publishers and usually when they have a very successful game they get acquired.
 
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Derktron

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And that's why it would be a really bad idea if they did actually buy any studio that is major. That would immediately kill that said studio.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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I think it goes to show that assets, distribution chain, and $$ aren't necessarily enough to make a hit game let alone a desirable gaming platform/ecology. You need genuine talent and vision. But we didn't need Amazon (or Apple, or Google) to prove that. Just look at all the indies -- objectively disadvantaged in the assets, distribution, and $$ areas -- that've swept up various genres in the past 15 years. Meanwhile, the embarrassed AAA devs spent the entire generation scrambling to come up with their own Minecraft and clone the successful indie ideas, with varying success.
 

carlosrox

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May 19, 2020
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Well they certainly can't make a good Suspiria either

cuz that remake was just about the most boring piece of shit I've ever seen in my entire life

aside from like 10 mins of good content in a - what - 2+ hour movie? Complete snore fest, it was amazingly boring. Awful remake. Awful horror movie. Didn't deserve to be called Suspiria.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't totally without merit, but my God the pacing was just dreadful. Truly yawn inducing pace. I'm not sure how I was meant to care about anything past a certain point.
 
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