Amazon is making another attempt to break into the gaming industry with its new service Prime Gaming, set to launch on Aug. 10.
The launch is essentially a rebrand of its Twitch Prime service. Despite the name change, users will still have access to all the same benefits associated with Twitch Prime, including exclusive in-game content, free games, and a free monthly Twitch.
Prime Gaming will be included with Amazon Prime memberships and Prime Video subscriptions in 200 countries.
Amazon kept “Twitch” in the name of the service when it was launched in 2016 to bring in gamers already acquainted with the popular service it had purchased two years prior. Amazon now believes that its own company name carries enough weight to motivate customers.
“We felt very strongly that to support our game developers as partners, as well as to reach the most customers, the Prime Gaming brand creates a lot more value in that ecosystem,” said Larry Plotnick, Prime Gaming general manager.
The rebrand will expand on the existing benefits and offer more titles and content to the existing library of games. The shift also means that users no longer require a Twitch account for access to the service.
Prime Gaming already offers in-game content for Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Online, Apex Legends, EA Sports FIFA 20, League of Legends, and more than 20 other games for PC, consoles, and mobile devices.
“Prime members already get the best of TV, movies, and music, and now we’re expanding our entertainment offerings to include the best of gaming,” said Plotnick. “We’re giving customers new content that makes playing their favorite games on every platform even better. So no matter what kind of games you love, and no matter where you play them, they’ll be even better with Prime Gaming.”
The gaming industry is one of the biggest global entertainment markets, with 2.7 billion people projected to play a game this year, according to the gaming market researcher Newzoo. The industry’s growth has accelerated due to the coronavirus pandemic, and gamers worldwide are expected to spend nearly $160 billion this year.
The rebranding move comes after Amazon fumbled its first foray into the lucrative market. Over a month ago, Amazon pulled its original big-budget game, Crucible, from digital store shelves after a strong negative reaction from critics. The game was the product of millions of dollars and years of design.
Piers Harding-Rolls, a research director at London analytics firm Ampere Analysis, told The New York Times that the game’s failure was evidence that the video game industry is difficult to crack. Games are rarely pulled from circulation, and gamers are tough to please.
Other large companies are also expanding into the gaming industry. Apple released its own video game subscription service called Apple Arcade, Google debuted a mobile gaming service called Stadia, and Facebook just launched Facebook Gaming on the App Store.