The steady evolution of Amazon.com’s video game business entered a new phase on Tuesday when the company announced the opening of its very own in-house game development studio. Amazon Games Studio is officially open for business.
Its first game is called Living Classics, a Facebook game that casts little cartoon foxes as characters from The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and other familiar literary sources. It’s simple stuff—solving puzzles, spotting objects in crowded environments—but it’s attractively made. The studio is still staffing up so Amazon will likely move on to more complex social and mobile games as the studio gets into full swing.
The studio’s opening comes just one month after Amazon announced the GameCircle platform for its Amazon Appstore. The Xbox Live service is for developers and users both, allowing achievements and other community features in games sold through Kindles and other Android smartphones and tablets.
Amazon is far from ready to compete with Apple, Zynga, Electronic Arts, or any of the other major players in the mobile and social business. It’s a solid distributor, but it will have to prove itself as a content maker first. Living Classics is a modest start.