GamesBeat

Is Amazon going to challenge Zynga in social games?

Amazon.com‘s recent hire of a veteran games designer suggests the massive retailer may be about to get into the business of publishing games itself.

The designer, Jonathan Tweet, is presumably working on a social game for Amazon.

Amazon.com hasn’t announced the game, and Tweet has said little about it, except for an entry on his own LinkedIn profile, where he’s now listed as a “game designer/producer at Amazon.com.” Tweet (and yes, that’s his real name) also confirmed his role at Amazon to IndustryGamers. Amazon declined to comment to VentureBeat.

Amazon has made some interesting moves in this direction recently. In May, the company opened its Appstore for Android apps and launched its own mystery and thriller book publishing imprint Thomas & Mercer. These moves suggest that Amazon is willing to create its own unique content.

Tweet is known as a paper-and-pancil role-playing game designer. He made contributions to the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons years ago. He created role-playing games such as Ars Magica and Everway. He most recently worked at Real Networks’ Gamehouse on a variety of Facebook games.

Amazon previously participated in the game business when it purchased Reflexive Entertainment in October, 2008. Reflexive makes downloadable games such as Big Kahuna and Airport Mania 2. Amazon sells those games through its digital services division, but it has been a small player in the digital distribution of games in comparison to Valve’s Steam. Since Amazon is also rumored to be working on tablets, IndustryGamers said it believes that any new games will be launched with the tablet later this year.


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