Amazon has a bold vision for its gaming aspirations: To unify broadcasting, cloud game streaming, and viewing in one cohesive monetizable ecosystem.
Today Amazon finally confirmed it's making a cloud game streaming service called Project Tempo. This service will beam games wirelessly from powerful servers to mobile phones, laptops, and desktops, allowing instant access to games without requiring gaming hardware. But Project Tempo is only one part of the bigger picture. It's just the delivery mechanism.
Amazon plans to conquer digital gaming with a new ecosystem that combines all of its forces together. Project Tempo, Twitch, and first-party Amazon games will be merged into one cohesive online-driven medium. The goal here is to monetize a new layered form of engagement via massive digital synergy.
The real magic behind this plan is its multi-faceted cross-service structure that ties streaming, gaming, and spectating neatly together.
It'll work something like this:
For a set subscription fee, Project Tempo lets consumers stream games to devices, which can then be broadcasted on Twitch. Using Twitch, content creators can generate revenue for Amazon (and themselves) via ads and donations.
Twitch viewers can also interact with streamers on a gameplay level as they watch. There's no exact details on how this interaction will happen, but Amazon's first-party games are being designed specifically with these features in mind.
"We love this idea that you have a player, a streamer and a viewer all sharing in this synchronous interactive environment of Twitch," Amazon VP of game services and studios Mike Frazzini told The New York Times.
This is tremendously powerful and could fundamentally change game streaming forever. Users will be able to engage with their favorite content creators in a whole personal new way. It'll allow a new kind of connection to content creators that ensures fans stick with the service--and the games--longer.
Utilizing Twitch in this way has wide-reaching implications for sustained revenues and growth. Data from Stream Elements confirms Twitch had 73% of total streaming hours in 2019, or roughly 9.3 billion hours.
These numbers could swell as people use Twitch not only to watch games, but to play them too.
If Project Tempo is the highway and Twitch is the vehicle, then Amazon's first-party games are the driver.
The company is funding numerous MMOs including an online Lord of the Rings game, the New World action-based MMORPG, an online PVP game called Crucible, and an unannounced project from form Sony Online Entertainment exec John Smedley.
There's a reason for this: Live games tie directly in with the business model's always-online emphasis. The idea is to keep people playing, watching, and interacting for as long as possible. The more people play, the more likely they are to pay; whether it's premium currency for microtransactions, DLC, or ad revenue, Amazon's new gaming plan has all the monetization bases covered.
"The big picture is about trying to take the best of Amazon and bringing it to games. We have been working for a while, but it takes a long time to make games, and we're bringing a lot of Amazon practices to making games," Frazzini said.
Twitch, Project Tempo, and Amazon's games will also likely be wrapped into Amazon Prime. Expect promotions, monthly goodies, and other features to meld right into this service-based ecosystem.
All of this sounds very similar to Google's aspirations with Stadia, its own game streaming service.
Google plans to use YouTube and its associated webwork of services to enable unique gameplay features in Stadia games, complete with YouTube hooks for streaming and even game sharing. But the service has got off to a rough start. Google doesn't yet have any first-party games, and key features like the revolutionary save state sharing capabilities are missing.
Eventually, though, Google Stadia will manifest and stand as a big contender in the Streaming Wars. Google is gearing up major first-party studios for new games and has secured a number of top AAA games for Stadia. The service's free version is also coming in 2020.
Still, though, Amazon plans to contest Google with its own unified online gaming environment. And it could beat Google right out of the gate.
Amazon plans to roll out Project Tempo in 2020, but it may be delayed to 2021 thanks to significant interruption due to coronavirus.