In March last year , Mike Frazzini stepped down as head of e-commerce giant Amazon's gaming venture. Now John Smedley, studio head of Amazon Games San Diego for the past six years, is doing the same.
In a letter to employees, according to Bloomberg, Smedley writes that after much thought he decided to try something new. Smedley has previously worked with and for Everquest, Daybreak Games, Sony Online Entertainment and Planetside. In 2015, he stepped down as head of Daybreak, in part after running into controversy with hackers. The following year, he was forced to state that the Kickstarter investment on the hardcore role-playing game Hero's Song failed.
Amazon began a big push into computer games in 2014, but has had trouble making any big hits. The MMORPG New World from the fall of 2021 has fared decently in terms of critics and players (roughly 900,000 simultaneous players on Steam at most). The January 2022 free-to-play MMO Lost Ark also did well, but on the other hand, it was coded by Smilegate, not Amazon Games.
Otherwise, it has been bleak for Amazon Games, with hardly any releases and several discontinued projects. And it doesn't look very bright going forward either - as far as is known, no in-house developed PC games are in the works.