Amazon has struggled to capitalize on its resources in gaming, including through its Crown channel. Amazon.com Inc. laid off about 100 employees in its video-game divisions as part of its broader cutbacks, affecting workers at Prime Gaming, Game Growth and the company’s San Diego studio. Our resources will be aligned to support our focus on content,” Games Vice President Christoph Hartmann wrote in a memo to employees Tuesday. “Going forward, we will continue to invest in our internal development efforts, and our teams will continue to grow as our projects progress.” Amazon has struggled to capitalize on its resources in gaming, including through its Crown channel, an entertainment show on the Twitch streaming service. Twitch recently cut about 400 positions. The company has canceled and even removed titles from sale since the division kicked off in 2012. Amazon has only released one internally developed game — the online role-playing title New World, which suffered a steep decline in its player base after the September 2021 launch. The Irvine, California-based New World team will continue to grow, Hartmann said.
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Despite the layoffs, employees working on an unannounced project from the San Diego studio will “double down on the pre-production phase” of the game, Hartmann said. Amazon’s studio in Montreal, also working on an unannounced project, will continue to expand. Amazon did see success with publishing the South Korean online role-playing game Lost Ark. Hartmann said the company will grow its third-party publishing efforts, which include a recent agreement with NCSoft Corp. Shares of Amazon rose 0.9% to $103.29 at 2:02 p.m. in New York. The company’s gaming group has also seen executive turnover. Hartmann’s predecessor, Amazon Game Studios boss Mike Frazzini, stepped down last year. Veteran gaming executive John Smedley, who helped run the San Diego office, announced plans to leave in January.