The largest web retailer in the world revealed a trio of original games today, and it’s using some of its other high-profile tools to draw consumers in.
Amazon Game Studios is the company’s game developing and publishing division, and it’s showing off some of the work it’s doing for the Amazon Fire Phone and Fire tablet today. The publisher introduced Til Morning’s Light, Tales from Deep Space, and CreepStorm, which are all original creations exclusive to Amazon mobile platforms. The company is clearly wanting to use games as a means to make its Fire line of products more desirable, but it’s also using its other products to make the games more interesting as well. This matters because no other company (short of maybe Valve, which owns the Steam digital-distribution platform) has such a strong network of websites that it can use to sell games. Consumers spent $16 billion on mobile games last year, and Amazon could get a big piece of that by producing original content for its smartphone and tablets.
As for the new games, Til Morning’s Light is a spooky adventure that stars a girl named Erica Page from developer Wayforward (the studio behind the Shantae series of platforming games). Page must explore a mansion, solve touch-based puzzles, and combat enemies. Tales from Deep Space is a humorous adventure set in a space station. CreepStorm is a multiplayer action game that has players hunting down the world’s most powerful vampire.
Til Morning’s Light is exclusive to the Fire Phone, while Tales from Deep Space and CreepStorm are both going exclusively to the Fire tablet (which we call “the ideal cheap slates” in our review). While most companies would call that a day, Amazon isn’t. It has already revealed plans to use its other media companies to better position its new games with customers.
The first example is Til Morning’s Light, which has a free audio blog written from the perspective of the hero Erica Page that players can get from Amazon’s audio-book website, Audible. The 36-minute story helps establish the world and the game’s mystery.
The other example is Tales from Deep Space, which will come with a free e-comic that customers can download from Amazon’s digital-comic distribution app Comixology.
By taking advantage of Audible and Comixology (and maybe eventually its Amazon Prime original TV shows), Amazon is flexing its muscles. It is using every tool it has to make its new games stand out, which is an option that most other publishers and developers just don’t have.
Of course, even using Audible and Comixology won’t make that much of a difference if the games are no fun. But Amazon has plenty of talent to ensure they are. The company’s game studios has some of the people who made smash hits like the mind-bending first-person puzzler Portal and the open-world action game Far Cry 2.
The three games Amazon announced today are not from its internal teams; they are part of co-development and co-publishing deals with independent studios. Wayforward is a prolific company that has produced a number of popular games on Nintendo portable devices. Tales from Deep Space studio Frontier Developments is a U.K. company that is responsible for the Wii eShop platformer Lost Winds and Xbox One launch game Zoo Tycoon. CreepStorm is the new game from mobile developer Happy Tuesday, which previously released iOS game Pumpkin Sweet Adventures.
While Amazon works with its publishing partners, it still is creating its own original games at its own developers. In addition to the aforementioned talent, Amazon also acquired Killer Instinct (for Xbox One) studio Double Helix Games. It also has many of the people from table-top game company Wizards of the Coast that made the collectible-card behemoth Magic: The Gathering.
Those teams are likely all still toiling away on their own new games, and we can all expect that Amazon will likely prepare the works for them in terms of crosspromotion deals on Audible, Comixology, and more.