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The founder of 2K Games, Christoph Hartmann, has joined Amazon's ever-growing video game studio... the Amazon Game Studios. This venture from Amazon marks a decided turn from the online retailer to bridge itself into the world of interactive entertainment further, moving beyond simply providing customers with new and used game sales. This could also mark a decided turn in how the mega-corporation is viewed in the world of commerce, moving beyond simply selling goods and some electronic devices, and actually making electronic games that could end up competing with some of the biggest publishers on the planet.
The news about Christoph Hartmann joining Amazon comes from the Amazon Games page. The dedicated web portal reveals that Hartmann will be taking on the role of vice president of game studios. I imagine it's a similar role that Shuhei Yoshida has as worldwide studios president at Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Hartmann has a long and storied history in the world of video game commerce, development, and expansion. Heck, he was the founder of 2K Games and was the president of Take-Two Interactive for 20 years. Under his leadership and direction, Take-Two saw massive growth and the expansion of lots of recognizable and mainstream IP, including Borderlands, Irrational Games' BioShock series, the grand strategy game Civilization, and the popular growth of the NBA 2K outings.
According to the post on the Amazon Games site, Hartmann will be taking on the role of leading the entire studio and overseeing the marketing organization for the teams across the Seattle studio in Washington studio, the Orange County studio in California, and the San Diego studio in California.
Hartmann will also be overseeing the development of games such as New World and Crucible. According to the report, there will also be a couple of other games in the pipeline as well, but there are no details on what they might be.
Crucible was originally detailed last year along with a couple of other Amazon titles, such as Breakaway and New World. However, Breakaway apparently wasn't developing quite as well as Amazon had hoped and for whatever reason, the MOBA title had the kill switch pulled and development was shut down on the project earlier this year.
Crucible seems to be one of the main focus points of Amazon at the moment, which will attempt to slither its way into the Battle Royale genre, which is crowded with popular games like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. However, there are going to be some original elements featured in Crucible to help it stand apart from the competition.
Amazon also has dibs on the Lumberyard Engine, but there isn't any mention of how that will play in the development of the games that Hartmann is managing.
Another key element of development for Amazon's games is Twitch integration. The studios' titles will attempt to take part of the live stream ecosystem that's constantly evolving and developing under the Twitch.tv brand. Hartmann will be in charge of seeing the games grow and foster while elevating the Twitch platform.
Given that many of the games in development at Amazon are still in the early goings, we'll likely learn more about the upcoming projects under Hartmann's wing in the coming months.