Former Sony Online Entertainment CEO to lead a new Amazon Games studio

Not much is yet known about its first game

Amazon’s intent to prove that its move into game development is a serious one. At last September’s TwitchCon, the first three titles under the Amazon Games Studios banner were revealed. Now, it’s adding to its pedigree by bringing on one of the industry’s more notable names.

John Smedley, the former CEO of Sony Online Entertainment, has been recruited to open and lead a new branch of Amazon Games Studios in San Diego. This studio is working on its own game that is said to already be in development. Not much is known about it yet, but a press release says that it “taps into the power of the AWS Cloud and Twitch to connect players.”

Smedley’s background has primarily been in MMOs, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see this new venture lean that way. Smedley was a part of the team that created the original EverQuest. Eventually he became CEO of SOE. When SOE was bought from Sony in 2015, he led the newly named Daybreak Game Company as its president. He stepped down from that position shortly thereafter and founded indie startup Pixelmage Games; Pixelmage shut down while its debut title was still in Early Access.

It’ll likely be a while before we know anything about this San Diego branch’s game. In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Smedley alluded to this being “really big and ambitious” thanks to the Amazon Lumberyard infrastructure. Big and ambitious is certainly in Smedley’s wheelhouse. Let’s hope “quality” is an adjective we can use to describe it too.

Brett Makedonski
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