This may be a strange choice with the new Xbox and PS4 launching this year, but Amazon is my gaming company to watch this year. Amazon has been expanding into everything and is always pushing the boundaries. Their gaming business really only started last year, but there is so much more to come.
Amazon is always looking to expand their digital offerings, and their move into gaming seems to be accelerating. Launching this past September with the new Kindle Fire HD, they introduced Gamecircle. This was followed up by starting their own gaming studio, Amazon Games Studio, and they have already released 3 games.
I will start to paint a picture on what Amazon could be offering and how it could making gaming more exciting. Lets start with Gamecircle. This brings the services everyone expects in a modern gaming service like leaderboards, achievements, and game sync (cloud saving). We will come back to game sync shortly, but the other services are just adding to their gaming library.
Next is their gaming studio. As mentioned, they have released a number of games over all mobile platforms and Facebook. They are currently advertising jobs so the likelihood is that there will more games coming out in the medium to long term.
The Amazon mobile phone rumors are not going away and are in fact increasing following their recent appointment of Charlie Kindel, who has been working on “something secret” in “a totally new area”. For those of you that are unaware, he was the former Windows Phone boss so this adds to the rumors of an Amazon phone is inbound.
This makes some sense for Amazon as this would tie you further into their ecosystem. Slowly but surely Amazon is pulling you into them. This started with books on the Kindle, then apps and games with the Kindle Fire. They also have movies and TV shows with Amazon On Demand Videos in the US and Lovefilm in the UK and other regions.
How does this work for gaming? The next logical step for Amazon is to create a cheap set top box like an Apple TV so you can watch your content. You place a controller into the mix, and you could have a good enough gaming solution for a number of people. Adding into this is the fact that Amazon has a reputation of good customer service and putting the customer first. Amazon strives to make money from the content not the devices.
Then there is the killer feature for Amazon: game sync. This is a cloud storage service which remembers your saves over multiple devices. Just think how this could work. On your way into work, you start to play Final Fantasy 3 on your Kindle Phone. At lunch time you continue the game on your Kindle Fire, and when you’re back home, you continue to play on the Kindle TV. Over 3 different devices you play the same game throughout the day. While the games may not be cutting edge, the possibilities are there for Amazon to change the face of gaming. Would this be a good enough solution for many gamers? I know I would be excited at that prospect.
I think that this year will be remembered as the year that changed gaming. Will Amazon be shaping it? They have the tools to and that’s why I am watching them.