Amazon’s video game studio have laid off “dozens” of employees, according to a report by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier. They’ve also cancelled some unannounced projects, saying that they want to “prioritise development” of the supernatural colonialist America simulator New World, 12-player, class-based battle royale-alike Crucible, and some other projects that aren’t yet unveiled.
Those employees being laid off will reportedly be given 60 days to look for other jobs within Amazon, and, if unsuccessful, will receive severance packages.
The company’s foray into games has so far been off to a rocky start, at least from an outside perspective. Though they hired big names like Portal designer Kim Swift and Far Cry 2 Designer Clint Hocking in 2014, both left long before they’d released any games. (Disclosure: Hocking once wrote a piece about immersive sims for RPS almost ten years ago. It talks about cyberpunk and Keanu Reeves, because everything old is new again.)
They announced three PC games in 2016, the aforementioned New World and Crucible, and a now-cancelled 4-v-4 fight-o-sport thing called Breakaway. It was ditched last year, because, according to the team, they “didn’t achieve the breakthrough that made the game what we all hoped it could be.”
In a statement to Kotaku, Amazon say that this is a reorganisation that’ll allow them to refocus on those two remaining games as well as some other unannounced projects. Fingers crossed that the people affected will be able to make a smooth transition despite the continued volatlity of the games industry. Unionisation remains good.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is, unhyperbolically, the richest person on earth, hoarding an estimated $153.7 (£122) billion.