Amazon Has a Smash Hit on Its Hands — a New Computer Game With Hundreds of Thousands of Players

Source: New World
  • Amazon released a new video game for PCs this week called "New World."
  • The game is already a smash hit, with hundreds of thousands of people playing it at any given time.
  • The success of "New World" comes about a year after Amazon was forced to cancel its last high-profile video game.

While everyone was paying attention to Amazon's marathon announcement of new holiday gadgets earlier this week, the company already had a new hit on its hands.

Amazon Game Studios, the video game development arm of Amazon, on Tuesday released a new computer game called "New World" that has captivated the PC gaming world.

"New World" is an online game that lets thousands of players explore and build a virtual colony that's sort of like a magic-infused version of colonial America. Since its launch, it has averaged hundreds of thousands of concurrent players at a given time on Steam, the most popular online store for PC games.

On launch day, the game peaked at more than 700,000 concurrent players, making it one of Steam's biggest launches ever. There were more than 450,000 concurrent players as of Thursday morning. On top of that, there have been reports of queues of up to 10,000 players just waiting to get into the game to play.

If the early momentum behind "New World" continues, it'll soon enter the canon of massively popular online games such as "Fortnite," "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" and "World of Warcraft." And while gaming likely won't generate the kind of revenues Amazon sees from e-commerce or cloud services, it can directly make money for the company, unlike its other entertainment arm, Amazon Studios, which is primarily a vehicle to keep people subscribed to Amazon Prime. "New World" costs $39.99.

Additionally, Amazon owns Twitch, the gaming-focused streaming video service. A popular game such as "New World" can appear on Twitch, generating more interest and potential sales on top of fresh digital ad dollars for Amazon.

"New World" marks a significant step for Amazon. Very few companies outside the traditional game publishers have had success breaking into the industry. For example, Google closed its game development studio earlier this year.

The early success of "New World" is in direct contrast to Amazon's first attempt at a major video game last year with a game called "Crucible," which Amazon pulled offline just months after its launch following a weak reception from gamers. It was an embarrassment for Amazon Game Studios, which spent several years developing the title. Many in the gaming world wondered if Amazon would ever make a hit.

Now they have their answer.

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