Is Amazon’s Crucible the Next Big Esports Title?
Crucible is the first major PC game to come out of Amazon Game Studios. The parcel delivery company has expanded into the competitive gaming area with a title that resembles Frankenstein’s monster. Different patches of competitive games sowed together and brought to life. So is it going to be the next big thing in competitive gaming?
The project is just a single game. Crucible seems to have been designed to tap into a much bigger market. Esports are about a lot more than selling copies of a game. They’re about the teams, leagues, and general culture that form around a game. It is hard to build these things artificially, but it seems Amazon is willing to give it a go. What is very telling about this game is that it is primarily exciting for those who follow tech.
The whole thing feels reminiscent of Google stadia, with tech companies hailing this as a major development and game players struggling to contain their boredom.
Is Amazon’s Crucible a Good Game?
So is Amazon’s Crucible something for the big names in Esports to worry about? On the surface it wouldn’t appear so, the game seems so cynically designed to be an Esport. Although with Amazon’s hooks into other areas of the gaming community, they have great potential to leverage their synergy into making Crucible huge. The latest game from Amazon Games Studio has been treated more like tech news than a game, but what makes the Crucible different?
To look at the game on its own merits, it seems to be a generic but serviceable shooter. There isn’t anything that really makes it stand out from other games. Which is largely intentional. The studio itself has had some problems that can illustrate the philosophy that informed this game’s design. A report from Kotaku last year detailed Amazon canceling the vast majority of their games under development, leaving a generic Esports title and a generic MMORPG. They found the two genres with the biggest money-making potential outside of selling physical copies of a game, and pumped out cynical iterations of what already exists.
The game features elements from a lot of different Esports games. It looks towards LOL, Overwatch, and CS:GO to cobble together a pretty generic title. Developers say they tried to build a game with broad appeal but this only appeals to one specific crowd. Mario Odyssey had broad appeal, this game’s broadly appeals to a subset of fans of competitive PC games and only those willing to look past its unoriginality.
Essentially, Amazon has looked at the biggest markets for games as a service or sport. They though me too. Then without much creativity or drive to do anything that hasn’t been seen before, they’ve pushed out one of the most cynical cash grabs since the Diablo mobile game.
Will Amazon’s Crucible Make an Impact?
Crucible looks like a dull attempt to win over the competitive community. Is that going to stop it? Probably not. Amazon can likely leverage its size and wealth to make this game a success.
Amazon owns Twitch. Little else needs to be explained here about the potential for synergy. In the past, games like Apex Legends have used a brief but impactful explosion of Twitch marketing to buy their way into gaming’s top tier. Apex Legends didn’t sustain this kind of appeal, while still popular its Esports scene is considerably behind even games like Fortnite. Amazon could chase a similar strategy on Twitch. Using their platform to build hype in a similar way to Valorant.
The game has already been played by big names on twitch like TimTheTatman. It is worth keeping in mind that advertising on Twitch is the wild west. Product placement is really disclosed and streamers don’t sound like advertisers.
Their capacity to buy players and enthusiasm should also be looked at, they can likely match Epic’s strategy of throwing ridiculously sized prize pools around for a bit of hype. The method has papered over a lot of cracks for Fortnite. It could get people interested in the Crucible.
Crucible might become pretty prominent but not in any sort of way that reflects quality. Amazon’s crucible feels like a cynical entry to competitive gaming. It is another example of tech companies trying to enter games with little thought or creativity. Although, that might not stop it.