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Amazon is Playing Games (AAPL)

seymour_greenz • June 15th 2015 01:16:32 AM

It's hard to deny that Amazon has a lock on the e-commerce market. They also rule the cloud roost with a whopping $5 billion, 1% slice of the internet - and growing. While they may have faltered a bit on their "fiery" entry into the smartphone market (understandable when going toe-to-toe with veteran titans Apple and Google), now Amazon is about to do something pretty radical. They're gearing up to release a new blockbuster video game.

Why would Amazon take a step in this direction? Let's look at some context.

It's been said "content is king" and Netflix knows this. They're spending up to $10 million per episode on House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Marco Polo and dozens and dozens of other original programming. Showtime, HBO and pretty much all "networks" follow this mantra.

The next frontier of entertainment is likely interactive, immersive multimedia, or "virtual reality". Facebook prides itself on trend predicting and bet shareholder's money bigtime on it. In fact, the 2 billion dollars Oculus deal was actually worked out with Mark Zuckerberg on Valentine's day 2014 right in his kitchen. Although I'm quite on the forefront of 3D and interactivity, I'm not hugely optimistic on VR or the big check Zuck wrote yet, but like any medium it takes a solid formula of adoption and content to cultivate success. It could bear fruit sooner or later.

Now Amazon wants in. Maybe not in quite as futuristic and risky direction as Facebook yet though. Videogames are a tried-and-true big business right now with well over $100 billion in revenue last year.

What kind of game would they make? First of all, they recently threw a lifeline to Crytek, of Crysis fame (arguably the most advanced 3D game of 2006) and licensed their 3D PC game engine in a mega-deal for somewhere in the ballpark of $50 to $70 million. Although they've released other games since Crysis, including a sequel, it's speculated that Crytek would've gone under without the Amazon deal.

This, plus the job listings on game industry site Gamasutra tells us it will be a PC game with extremely high-end, realistic graphics. The next interactive film masterpiece? Check out this pair of games, "Uncharted 4" and "The Last of Us: Remastered", they're more like pieces of "interactive fiction" than the next "Flappy Bird":

Another clue: many of the developers who worked on these and other similar games are now aboard the Amazon Game Studios team.

E3, the huge videogame industry expo, is this week and I'd bet there's a good chance Amazon will shed some light what they have up their sleeve, perhaps even generating some investor excitement along the way.

If history is any guide, perhaps Amazon will throw some cross promotional advertising for products, real or virtual, into their fictional, interactive worlds. Maybe you'll be able walk into a virtual shop and pick up virtual Amazon goods, or perhaps your Amazon shopping cart could even see the real world equivalent of them.

The Last of US: Remastered

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