Who needs external assets to build a studio culture?
Amazon might not be actively acquiring Electronic Arts as some questionably sourced reports originally stated, but that doesnt mean the mega-company doesnt have a strong path laid out for continuing to grow in the gaming space moving forward.
Sure, nabbing a big player like EA would have provided Amazon with a catalog of pre-existing games, upcoming titles, a large library of IP, and more studios. But over the last year, Amazon Game Studios has really turned things around.
With the release of New World, Amazon had its first true gaming hit, reaching an all-time peak of 913,027 players in October 2021 on Steam. That broke a narrative surrounding Amazons gaming efforts, which were heavily criticized following a lack of success and multiple game cancelationslike its first multiplayer title, Crucible.
And while New Worlds numbers have steadily decreased over time, the game still averages over 16,000 users per month, according to Steam Charts, which is a respectable number after nearly a year on the market for a new IP.
The gaming division hit gold once again by publishing the action-focused MMORPG Lost Ark, which was released as a free-to-play title globally in February after being available in various, limited forms since 2019 in certain regions. It immediately exploded in popularity, reaching as high as the second most-played game on Steam during its launch month with 1,324,761 active users, and it maintained over 200,000 average users up until August, according to Steam Charts.
Looking back, we can clearly see the areas where [Crucible] could have benefited from additional development time, AGS VP Christoph Hartmann said to the Washington Post. We applied that lesson to New World, pushing back the release until we were confident it was ready. New World’s launch, in turn, informed Lost Arks releasein particular, we gave the game a few more months by pushing to February, and we were bracing for a lot more players this time.
Launching New World and bringing Lost Ark to a new audience outside of South Korea was the first step, but Amazon now has five different studios working on projects internally as it looks to continue expanding.
From the failures of its original titles prior to New World through the development of its next set of titles, Amazon Game Studios has an identity nowand it is one that involves building experiences that go beyond games and wont just be dropped for new projects based on the market.
We want to do games which are a hobby and not just a game you pick up and drop, Hartmann said to TechRadar. If it’s a hobby, it might be lifelong, or at least for many years to come.
This clear evolution to a long-term development approach and plan to double-down on supporting its projects once they release is a direction Amazon Game Studios and its leadership are comfortable in heading with its current resources, with or without an acquisition like EA.