October 7, 2021
After some false starts, Amazon has released its first hit original video game production, “New World,” and company CEO Andy Jassy is predicting games could become the biggest category in entertainment programming. The new MMORPG, fraught with archers and axe wielders colonizing a fantastical land, scored one of Steam’s biggest launches with more than one million players logging on for launch day last week. The momentum hasn’t slowed down, with more than 277,000 gameplay viewers on Amazon’s live streaming service Twitch and over 700,000 concurrent players on Steam.
Jassy’s crowing, at an event hosted by news site GeekWire, follows “almost a decade of failures in gaming,” writes Bloomberg. It comes on the heels of Amazon’s big plunge into the traditional film and television business with the $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM Studios.
The achievement is a sweet success for Jassy, who led Amazon’s faltering video games initiative before being named Amazon president and CEO in July. Bloomberg chronicled the struggle in a January story titled “Amazon Can Make Just About Anything — Except a Good Video Game.”
While the early signs are positive, “it’s way too early to say it’s a hit,” video game industry analyst David Cole of DFC Intelligence cautioned on Bloomberg. “It’s not what we consider a huge game, in the sense that if it wasn’t Amazon, I don’t think you would be paying that much attention to it.” Critics are delivering generally good reviews if not raves.
The first four online reviews for “New World” garnered an average score of 81 percent on Metacritic, the review aggregator. That hasn’t stopped former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos from declaring it a win. “After many failures and setbacks in gaming we have a success,” Bloomberg reported Bezos tweeting on Friday, three days after the “New World” debut.
Emulating the format of games like “World of Warcraft,” which lets players join factions, “New World” features classless combat, USA Today reports. The setting is the island of Aeternum, where shipwrecked survivors are forced to amass supplies and allies as they navigate magical ruins and majestic forests. The game supports online player-versus-payer and co-op as well as in-game purchases.
New World: What You Need to Know About Amazon’s New MMO, CNET, 9/28/21
Amazon: Don’t Blame New World for GPU Deaths, Blame Card Makers, Tom’s Hardware, 10/6/21
New World Review in Progress, IGN, 10/7/21