New players, sort of: Amazon creates games studio; Facebook rolls out gambling in the U.K.

We’re talking gaming. And platforms.

• Move over, Zynga, Amazon has launched a Facebook game — created by its very own gaming studio. Expect “Living Classics” to be just the first of many games from the new studio, which is hiring.

The giant online retailer’s foray into game creation probably doesn’t come as a shock. It has, after all, built up a massive platform that includes hawking books as well as publishing them, and selling e-readers and tablets that ensure users will buy e-books, music and more.

A couple of key points: Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat points out that the company’s gaming arm will now compete with those who develop games for Amazon’s Android app store. Why Amazon would enter the low-return world of free-to-play gaming is beyond social-media analyst Michael Pachter, according to the Seattle Times.

Meanwhile, Business Insider is calling the whole thing awkward — as in the newly started Amazon vs. Zynga showdown puts Kleiner Perkins‘ Bing Gordon in an uncomfortable position. Gordon is on the board of both companies.

If Zynga, the dominant maker of social games for Facebook, were playing a video game,  Amazon Game Studios would just be the latest obstacle to be hurled its way. Other recent obstacles include: a copyright lawsuit brought against the San Francisco company by Electronic Arts last week; the week before that, class-action suits accusing company executives of insider trading; and missing second-quarter earnings expectations the week before that.

Shares of Zynga and Amazon are up sharply amid a broader stock-market rise. They’re up 3.7 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, as of this post.

• Speaking of online games, Facebook has unveiled online gambling in the U.K. with its launch of a game that will let players bet real money. And it won’t end at “Bingo Friendzy,” either. The world’s largest social network will also be rolling out virtual slot machines, according to the Guardian.

“Bingo Friendzy” already is drawing criticism. While Facebook says only 18-year-olds and up can play the game, the game features cartoon characters that some groups say appeal to youth. “With the appealing fluffy animal imagery, the site is clearly designed to appeal to a young audience,” a spokesman for Christian charity Mother’s Union told the Telegraph. In addition, there are concerns about how Facebook would ensure the ages of players — who will have to deposit money from a bank account before they can play.

Facebook shares are down about 1.5 percent to $21.60 as of this post.



Tags: , , , , , , ,


Share this Post

  • David

    Facebook is a socially irresponsbile company.