Mobile Mavens

Amazon has the opportunity, but does it have the army or the desire to win the gaming war?

The Mavens debate strategic potential

Amazon has the opportunity, but does it have the army or the desire to win the gaming war?

The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Mavens is our panel of experts drawn from all sectors of the mobile gaming industry.

Like a massive glacier, Amazon is a slow-moving wall of ice that's rolling down from the high hill of ecommerce towards the ever-restless ocean of gaming.

So, this week we asked our Mavens - Can the Amazon tortoise win the race?

Or, more specifically

Does anyone care about Amazon as a platform for games, and does it have any chance of competing with Apple and Google etc?

Scott Foe Chief Product Officer Ignited Artists

In Amazon, we are discussing an entity whose own market capitalization rivals the value of the global games business.

If Amazon silos its gaming efforts, holding those efforts accountable to its own profit & loss structures and organizational processes and practices, providing sufficient investment within those silos, the outstanding question becomes...

"Is there talent enough to drive that engine?"

You go to war with the army you have:

"Hey, Amazon, where your army at?"

Harry Holmwood European CEO Marvelous Entertainment

A 20-year veteran of video games and online space, Harry is European CEO of Marvelous AQL, a Japanese developer and publisher of social, mobile and console games, known for console games like No More Heroes and Harvest Moon, but now highly successful in the free-to-play mobile and web space in Japan and Asia.

A games programmer before joining Sony’s early PlayStation team in 1994, he then founded developer Pure Entertainment, which IPO’d and launched a free-to-play online gaming service way back in 1999.

He was also a director of pioneering motion gaming startup In2Games, which was sold to a US group in 2008.

Along the way, he’s been a corporate VP, troubleshooter, and non-exec to a variety of companies and investors in and around the games sector.

They're absolutely a credible player to be taken seriously. They own the eBook space already and pretty much own online shopping for physical goods.

I would guess more games are running on their cloud than anyone else's. I _think_ the Kindle Fire is the bestselling Android tablet already where it's sold (I read it was 59 percent market share in USA).

Increasingly, though, it seems like it's starting to matter less and less who's hardware you're running on.

The whole idea of a 'platform' for games is becoming a bit redundant, as pretty much all games will end up on all platforms with any significant installed base, and the tools to facilitate that are great.

Oscar Clark Chief Strategy Officer Fundamentally Games

Oscar Clark has been a pioneer in online, mobile, and console social games services since 1998. He is also author of the book, Games As A Service – How Free To Play Design Can Make Better Games.

Amazon have surprised me that they haven't done more in this space yet.

They essentially already have the credit card details for anyone who used the internet to buy anything and yet they haven't been as aggressive about building their commercial reach as I would have expected.

Why does this confuse me?

I suspect that their commitment to the physical retail business means that they see this [gaming] as a secondary (or even tertiary) market. They can reap the benefits of smart devices for their Lovefilm/Kindle markets and off set the risks of the demise of physical book retail.

But as Harry has said more games services use their EC2 infrastructure than any other. Arguably their cloud service approach is the biggest world-changing transition that Amazon have contributed.

Amazon's force multipler

Amazon do have completion in this area, but are quietly holding a prime brand position in terms of scale and trust. As the next-gen consoles continue their transition to cloud services, Amazon's reach and potential as a gaming platform will become just a little more obvious.

Perhaps the real question is whether Apple and Google ready for that fight when it comes?

You can read what PocketGamer.biz editor-at-large Jon Jordan thinks about Amazon in the opinion piece: Unconsoled or not, Amazon's momentum in the games market remains relentless.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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Phil M
Amazon could well become the number 1 market place to buy digital apps/games but I suspect they would probably need to introduce a new brand, as the perception is that they are still somewhat of a traditional retailer. I think perhaps one of their strongest cards is their reviews/recommendation setup, as it's a great source of opinions on pretty much anything.