The Curse of Amazon Games Continues

by Staff & Contributors

Amazon, for all the wonders it seems to be able to pull off, has never quite understood video gaming. To date, the Amazon Games-developed Nova, Intensity, Breakaway, and Crucible have all been cancelled (Crucible after launch), while a product the company licensed to release in the West, Lost Ark, has since been delayed to 2022.

Its flagship New World MMO did actually reach stores, but its performance to date has been questionable.

A Blank Canvas

As of the end of October, New World was losing 135,000 players a week, a problem that successfully demolished its huge launch audience of nearly a million gamers. According to Steam Charts, the game’s November average is just 209,164. However, Steam itself reports that New World is still among its top-ten most played games between battle-royale Naraka: Bladepoint and Valve’s own Team Fortress 2.

Bizarre management decisions, such as forcing developers to use Crytek’s Cryengine, which was not built for MMOs, and a general naivety towards game design served to curse New World’s development from day one. It’s a shame, as Amazon’s MMO has both a beautiful world and a unique setting to play with. It had almost a blank canvas to work on, in other words.

Assassin’s Creed

The concept of the New World, which was typified by armed clashes between Europeans, American Indians, Aztecs, and other indigenous groups, has very little representation in gaming, perhaps because it remains a controversial period even hundreds of years on.

The Korean MMO Gradano Espada created a world similar to the real-life early 16th century way back in 2006, but European mythology is a much more popular setting among present game developers. Just look at God of War and Assassin’s Creed, both of which went for Scandinavian folklore in their most recent entries.

On the other hand, there are areas of the sector that do include the New World in their games. For example, casino gaming. In an effort to bring in as many different players as possible, the New World and many other historical niches are well-represented in their themed slots and bingo games. Aztec Gems, Aztec Blox, and Western Riches, which is set in the American West, are some examples of the titles of such slot games available on Buzz Bingo.

Bad Actors

Unfortunately, Amazon’s recent efforts to appease its player base have back-fired. The launch of its first major update, dubbed Into the Void, attempted to fix a number of stability issues. While some of these were successful, the fact that Amazon Games hid a number of progression ‘nerfs’ within the patch has upset large parts of the community. Overall, New World will be harder and more time-intensive for players who haven’t already reached end-game levels.

Perhaps more concerning is the fact that players keep finding ways to undo New World’s already-shaky network code to make undesirable things happen. Gold and item dupes, in which bad actors take advantage of things like server response times to duplicate their belongings, are being discovered and re-discovered on an almost daily basis. Left unchecked, this could cause the game’s economy to crash or devalue rare items to nothing.

New World isn’t quite at a crisis point but it seems like Amazon Games has a lot to learn — and fast — to stop players running away.

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