Report: Amazon to double down on gaming with a new streaming service

Earlier this week, when Razer announced that it would integrate Amazons Alexa into its gaming platform, I wondered if this was a strong signal of how Amazon may be starting to lay the groundwork for its own strategy to do more in gaming. By coincidence, today The Information reports just that: Amazon is now developing its own streamed gaming service, according to its sources. Its already talking with publishers to stream their titles on the platform, and it aims to launch it next year.
A streamed gaming service from Amazon not only would complement what Amazon is already offering in streamed media which today includes video, music, photo storage and more but it will put Amazon squarely in competition with those that are working on, or have already launched, their own streamed gaming efforts. Players include Sonys PlayStation Now, Microsoft, Google, Nvidia, and Electronic Arts.
To be clear, Amazon already offers streamed gaming in a limited format. Prime subscribers get access to Twitch Prime, which provides users with free games every month, along with selected free in-game perks. This is separate to Twitchs mainstay product, a video streaming service that works alongside other games creating a social network of sorts, where users watch each other playing and commenting on playing games.
When Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014, many wondered if that would lead to it launching a bigger gaming service. That possibility was bolstered when Amazon acquired UK cloud gaming backend specialist GameSparks (in 2017 as we first reported, although only confirmed by Amazon in 2018). GameSparks technology has already been deployed in Amazons AWS service which has a dedicated business targeting games publishers providing everything they need, from gaming technologies to server space, analytics, backend services and more.
That is also strong sign of how Amazon has quickly integrated the tech into its infrastructure already, and already has all the tools it needs to build a consumer service of its own.
So it has definitely taken a while, but perhaps Amazons own, bigger, direct-to-consumer gaming effort is whats finally taking shape.
The idea is that Amazons gaming service would go head-to-head not only with console-based gaming platforms, but also a number of other big players that are tapping into the boom weve seen in streamed media services. Consumers now have faster, more reliable and cheaper broadband connections and are using them to replace legacy hardware and services in areas like music, television and more.
For those who are selling services in those other areas and Amazon is one of them, by way of its Prime-fuelled Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Video and its Fire TV service providing a gaming platform not only could make the overall service more sticky but could attract new consumer Prime subscribers who might come specifically for the games.
But those are not the only weapons Amazon has in its artillery. As we noted this week, weve seen very little application of Amazons AI muscle all the voice services that have completely excited consumers, and its work in augmented reality in media services beyond the Echo devices.
In gaming, we are starting to see small moves there such as Razers integration of Alexa voice commands to control its game console but there are ways that you could imagine that technology being incorporated into actual gameplay, which could help set Amazon apart from the very big field of competition.
There are some juicy tid-bits in the Information story around the bigger news that Amazon is eyeing up a streamed gaming service that point to some of the challenges it might be facing.

It notes that Jason Kilar, the executive who used to lead Hulu, at one point was being tapped to join Amazon where he had worked in the past to lead the new gaming effort. That never came to pass, however perhaps one reason why a gaming platform has been such a long time in coming.
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