Last May, Christoph Hartmann stepped down from his role as president of Take-Two Interactive’s 2K Games — and he’s landed as vice president of Amazon Game Studios. In his new role, he’ll be leading Amazon’s internal game development teams in three cities, overseeing first-party titles New World and Crucible.
Amazon has found some successes in the gaming space — most notably with the livestreaming platform Twitch, which it acquired in 2014. This year, it has been pushing more into esports. It hosted its second annual Mobile Masters tournament this year, where players competed for a $100,000 prize pool in games like World of Tanks Blitz and Critical Ops. In March, it launched GameOn, a service geared toward helping developers integrate esports features in their PC, console, and mobile titles so long as they’re hosted on Amazon Web Services.
Its other efforts haven’t been as successful, like its game engine Lumberyard, which lags behind Unity and Unreal Engine. And Game Studios, its internal team that develops first-party games, failed to grab audiences during alpha testing with its fantasy sports brawler Breakaway, which got nixed in April after two years in development. There’s still hope for its massively multiplayer online game New World and sci-fi survival adventure Crucible, though, both of which Hartmann will be stewarding as Game Studios’ new vice president.
“Between the teams at [Amazon Game Studios], the incredible tools and technology from AWS, the global communities of Twitch and Twitch Prime, and all of the other assets around Amazon, there are few companies in the world set up to take gaming to the next level,” said Hartmann in a statement. “I am incredibly proud and honored to become part of Amazon’s highly talented and passionate group of people, to develop together hallmarks of gaming, bring amazing experiences to people all over the world, and build a gaming legacy for the years to come.”
Amazon has hired a number of high-profile game developers, including Louis Castle, cofounder of Westwood Studios; John Smedley, former head of Sony Online Entertainment and Daybreak; and Rich Hilleman, former chief creative director at Electronic Arts.