It looks like Amazon is really getting in on the gaming aspect of their business expansion. According to a new report Amazon may have picked up Crytek's CryEngine technology for a sizable amount of money.
Kotaku is reporting that multiple sources who wished to remain anonymous have stated that Amazon has spent somewhere between $50 million and $70 million to acquire Crytek.
Kotaku points to a piece on Develop that does have Crytek's head of PR, Jens Scchaefer, telling them that...
“A lot of people are under the impression we had to find a new investor or something, but that wasn’t the case. We made a licensing deal,”
A licensing deal basically means that they're allowing a company to make use of their proprietary technology, the CryEngine. In what capacity or to what extent we don't know.
The only thing co-founder of Crytek Faruk Yerli mentioned to Develop was...
“It was a huge one, probably the biggest one. I can’t say anything more in detail, but hopefully we’ll be able to announce it with the partner soon.”
According to Kotaku, when they reached out to Crytek and Amazon for a comment on the deal both companies declined to comment.
There's really no way of knowing what's going on. Could Amazon have licensed the CryEngine from Crytek to use with a series of new games for some undisclosed project? Possibly. They did acquire Double Helix, the developers behind games like Front Mission, Silent and the recent Xbox One exclusive, Killer Instinct. Amazon also had the Fire TV micro-console for watching TV on your TV and playing some games. Quite naturally, most core gamers didn't give a flying wombat about the Fire TV because it was viewed as yet another Android-esque console, and history has shown that gamers aren't too keen on Android consoles. Just ask OUYA.
The Kotaku piece hints at Amazon possibly having something bigger in store, which could be the case. It would definitely take more than a FireTV micro-console to make gamers stand up and take notice. Could the licensing of the CryEngine for such a substantial amount equate to them working on a number of projects for a new game console? Maybe or maybe not.
A lot of new consoles have come and gone during this age, many of which have been themed around mobile games. Another new one is on the horizon called the ZRRO, and right now there has been about zero interest from gamers about the device. Playing mobile games hasn't really been a huge desire from the hardcore gaming audience.
If Amazon is serious about getting in on the games market beyond click-trap games found on Facebook or made by Zynga or King, they will need some serious software muscle to make it happen and the CryEngine is definitely the right kind of muscle. However, at the same time, they could have just licensed the Unity 5 or Unreal Engine 4 to also make some high-end games... unless they were going for something really high-end like Star Citizen. I guess we'll have to sit back and wait and see what Amazon has up their sleeve... assuming there really is something up there.