Amazon has just made another move that indicates the company is taking its expansion into mobile gaming more seriously than just a way to tout how it, too, has “exclusive” content to offer via the Amazon Fire TV. For the first time, Amazon has launched a mobile gaming app on Apple’s App Store. But before you get all worked up, we have to point out that the new app, Sev Zero: Air Support, isn’t a standalone game, but rather a mobile gaming companion that previously was only available for Android-based devices, including of course, the Kindle Fire HDX tablet.
A version of this app was more recently made available on Google Play, which was also somewhat surprising given that Amazon’s foray into gaming had before seemed only to exist in order to help the company ship more Amazon hardware. Still, that Android app store debut was less of a commitment on Amazon’s part, especially since the company regularly notes how Android apps require very little tweaking in order to be ported over to the Kindle format (and presumably, vice versa.)
The arrival of the gaming companion on iOS, meanwhile, means Amazon is considering its gaming platform, the Fire TV, as something it can sell to a wider audience beyond the Amazon/Android enthusiasts who have already committed to Kindle tablets and Android-based phones. It also potentially sets up Apple’s App Store as a place for Amazon to sell its other “companion” games going forward, pitting its own Fire TV against the long-rumored Apple TV upgrade which reportedly would also include proper game support via Bluetooth controllers and an App Store.
Sev Zero, for those unfamiliar, was the first exclusive Amazon game for the Fire TV. Launched in April, the game is produced by Amazon Game Studios, and is something of a Halo knockoff. It’s also the first title from Amazon Game Studios to be launched (as game companion) on the Google Play Store.
Most of Amazon Games Studios‘ content today is sold only on the Amazon Appstore, which includes a handful of titles like the puzzle-based To-Fu Fury, a tower defense game called Air Patriots, and an action-based title called Saber’s Edge, in addition to Sev Zero.
But even though Amazon currently only has a few live titles, it’s been steadily building out a team of industry vets with serious talent. Earlier this year, for example, it was discovered that Amazon Game Studios had hired Portal designer Kim Swift and Far Cry 2 creative Clint Hocking, both with experience at Valve and other major studios, like LucasArts. Also on the employee roster are those from Microsoft, EA, Activision, Zynga, SCEA, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Blizzard, Naughty Dog, Konami, Square Enix, Capcom, Bungie, Sega, Popcap Games, Apple (!!) and more.
Amazon in February also acquired Double Helix Games, out of Irvine, California – a city where, not coincidentally, Amazon had a presence following the launch of its social gaming arm back in 2012. (Its first social game Living Classics, has since been retired as Amazon is now focusing more on more mobile gaming via the titles mentioned above).
As for the iOS companion app Sev Zero: Air Support itself, there’s nothing remarkable, really, to report. The tablet app lets a second player join the game on the Fire TV, but can’t be played on its own. Like the Google Play and Amazon Appstore version, the iOS version shares the same feature set – a bevy of weapons, ways to blast enemies and collect energy, and more.
The app is a free download on iTunes.