Amazon Game Studios gave John Smedley a new online game team to run

    
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If you wondered what John Smedley was up to following the death of Pixelmage Games and Hero’s Song in December, now you have an answer: Amazon Game Studios picked him up to run a sub-studio in San Diego.

“We’re excited to announce an all-new Amazon Games Studio based in San Diego and led by industry veteran John Smedley,” says a PR blast from AGS today. “John’s pioneering work helped define the modern MMO, and his influence can be felt in thousands of games that followed. He helped create the blueprint for fusing massive game worlds with vibrant player communities, a vision that we share at Amazon Game Studios. That’s why we’re excited to announce that John has joined Amazon Games Studios to lead an all-new team in San Diego.”

Apparently, Smed and his team are “already hard at work on an ambitious new project that taps into the power of the AWS Cloud and Twitch to connect players around the globe in a thrilling new game world.”

Smed is well known to MMORPG players for his stewardship of MMORPG company Sony Online Entertainment (EverQuest, PlanetSide, DC Universe Online) for nearly two decades. SOE split from Sony in 2015 and became the Columbus Nova-funded Daybreak, while Smed himself left Daybreak in mid-2015 following a very public harassment campaign against him and the company.

At the beginning of 2016, Smed announced he’d founded Pixelmage Games and was Kickstarting an indie retro sandbox MMO called Hero’s Song, but several missteps made over the course of the year (we chronicled some of them just this week) led to the demise of the company and cancellation of the game just over seven weeks ago, resulting in refunds to those who’d donated to or purchased the game.

Amazon’s gaming unit spent most of last year scooping up MMORPG developers left and right, most famously from Seattle-based Guild Wars 2 studio ArenaNet. In September of 2016, AGS announced it was working on multiple new online games, including a straight-up MMORPG sandbox called New World.

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Emperor Caligula

I am not sure what to think. I sort of gave mostly up on MMORPGs. I would be very surprised if it is more like another cash grab, like the n-th Zombie survival or whatever is the current fashion. After taking part in sinking Everquest Next I am not too trusting in Smed.

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Suikoden

Wow. That’s kind of awesome.

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socontrariwise

I can’t believe they give him another of that kind of position. He has run so many millions (billions over the years?) into the ground for Sony (was he even breaking even they would not have sold), then Daybreak, then this laughable thing called Hero’s Song with no creativity to make a GAME but instead attempting to rely on technology and buzzwords – and now he again has the chance to waste millions.
Is nobody keeping track??

Celestia
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Celestia

Wishing him and his team well.

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Paragon Lost

They can give him the chance, I’m not against that. What they do need to do though is keep a close eye on him. He needs to be kept reined in, otherwise he tends to do stupid things at times.

No one doubts his passion for the genre/hobby, but his common sense/critical thinking at times are found to be wanting off and on. They’ll regret it if they don’t keep a close eye on him.

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Space Captain Zor

Here lies proof that people are capable of giving someone who’s succeeded before a new opportunity despite the fact of a few back to back failures. I applaud Amazon on taking the risk, as it could pay off.

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Kevin McCaughey

Getting my popcorn out…. it’s always popcorn with Mr Smedley ;)

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Kevin McCaughey

You know what? I am warming to this guy. He is very human and speaks pretty candidly for an executive. He makes plenty of social media foibles and is flawed just like the rest of us. I’m going to wish him good luck with his new job, and I think he will create something interesting and with character.

Vaeris
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Vaeris

So this reminds me of when SOE bought Vanguard and we were told they were only going to be the publisher…and then they weren’t. I don’t see Smed being kept away from New World for very long. I only had passing interest in the title to just see what it was going to be about. Now, knowing that this happened…not so much as there is no way he won’t be consulted in some form for NW.

xpsync
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xpsync

I’m pretty content with ESO, and looking like for a long time to come, so not really concerned what they do with NW, sure… I’d love it to come out and be freaking awesome, but it’s nice to be “whatever” about it, i got a game.

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Pedge Jameson

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Alberto

Well amazon has deep pockets so Smed won’t have money problems now….

deekay_plus
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deekay_plus

sony/soe had deep pockets too. i’m sure buying vanguard wasn’t very cheap. :P