Amazon ventures into social gaming

"Amazon Game studios" launched

The new team created by Amazon will focus on creating "innovative, fun and well-crafted games."

The company's first social game called "Living Classics" is now available on Facebook.

"We know that many Amazon customers enjoy playing games - including free-to-play social games - and thanks to Amazon's know-how, we believe we can deliver a great, accessible gaming experience that gamers and our customers can play any time," the company said in a statement.

The company's first game, "Living Classics" was released on Monday. The game features a family of foxes wander into animated illustration of books which include Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and King Arthur. Players must help to reunite the foxes by clues in the illustrated scenes.

The game also allows players to visit friends and share rewards.

"Living Social" has a Facebook fan page and users can now play the game for free on Facebook.

Amazon's new presence in the social gaming market could prove to be a dangerous competitor for Zynga. The social gaming company reported a Q2 net income loss of $22.8m at the end of July 2012. Zynga had also reported that booking had dropped 8 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2012.

At a June 2012 press conference, the online gaming company revealed that it's launching its own social network, Zynga with Friends.

The company also announced plans to add a new API layer for developers and third parties in order to provide a more efficient way for Zynga to make game services more social.

"We founded Zynga with a simple premise that we could help people put play back in their lives. We believe that play can become one of the most important ways we make new friends and enhance relationships," said Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga.

The Zynga with Friends network will connect all the games on the network and allow all players on any platform to easily find other gamers with similar interests and styles including Facebook, iOS, Android and Zynga.com.

Zynga filed with SEC to raise up to $1bn for its IPO on July 1, 2011. The company began trading on NASDAQ in December and was responsible for generating 12 per cent of Facebook revenues in 2011.

This article first appeared in Computer Business Review

Amazon. Photograph: Getty Images

Tineka Smith writes for Computer Business Review

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Why isn't Labour putting forward Corbynite candidates?

Despite his successes as a candidate, the organisational victories have gone the way of Corbyn's opponents. 

The contest changes, but the result remains the same: Jeremy Corbyn’s preferred candidate defeated in a parliamentary selection. Afzhal Khan is Labour’s candidate in the Manchester Gorton by-election and the overwhelming favourite to be the seat’s next MP.

Although Khan, an MEP, was one of  the minority of Labour’s European MPs to dissent from a letter from the European parliamentary Labour party calling for Jeremy Corbyn to go in the summer of 2016, he backed Andy Burnham and Tom Watson in 2015, and it is widely believed, fairly or unfairly, that Khan had, as one local activist put it, “the brains to know which way the wind was blowing” rather than being a pukka Corbynite.

For the leader’s office, it was a double defeat;  their preferred candidate, Sam Wheeler, was kept off the longlist, when the party’s Corbynsceptics allied with the party’s BAME leadership to draw up an all ethnic minority shortlist, and Yasmine Dar, their back-up option, was narrowly defeated by Khan among members in Manchester Gorton.

But even when the leadership has got its preferred candidate to the contest, they have been defeated. That even happened in Copeland, where the shortlist was drawn up by Corbynites and designed to advantage Rachel Holliday, the leader’s office preferred candidate.

Why does the Labour left keep losing? Supporters combination of bad luck and bad decisions for the defeat.

In Oldham West, where Michael Meacher, a committed supporter of Jeremy Corbyn’s, was succeeded by Jim McMahon, who voted for Liz Kendall, McMahon was seen to be so far ahead that they had no credible chance of stopping him. Rosena Allin-Khan was a near-perfect candidate to hold the seat of Tooting: a doctor at the local hospital, the seat’s largest employer, with links to both the Polish and Pakistani communities that make up the seat’s biggest minority blocs.  Gillian Troughton, who won the Copeland selection, is a respected local councillor.

But the leadership has also made bad decisions, some claim.  The failure to get a candidate in Manchester Gorton was particularly egregious, as one trade unionist puts it: “We all knew that Gerald was not going to make it [until 2020], they had a local boy with good connections to the trade unions, that contest should have been theirs for the taking”. Instead, they lost control of the selection panel because Jeremy Corbyn missed an NEC meeting – the NEC is hung at present as the Corbynsceptics sacrificed their majority of one to retain the chair – and with it their best chance of taking the seat.

Others close to the leadership point out that for the first year of Corbyn’s leadership, the leader’s office was more preoccupied with the struggle for survival than it was with getting more of its people in. Decisions in by-elections were taken on the hop and often in a way that led to problems later down the line. It made sense to keep Mo Azam, from the party’s left, off the shortlist in Oldham West when Labour MPs were worried for their own seats and about the Ukip effect if Labour selected a minority candidate. But that enraged the party’s minority politicians and led directly to the all-ethnic-minority shortlist in Manchester Gorton.

They also point out that the party's councillor base, from where many candidates are drawn, is still largely Corbynsceptic, though they hope that this will change in the next round of local government selections. (Councillors must go through a reselection process at every election.)

But the biggest shift has very little to do with the Labour leadership. The big victories for the Labour left in internal battles under Ed Miliband were the result of Unite and the GMB working together. Now they are, for various reasons, at odds and the GMB has proven significantly better at working shortlists and campaigning for its members to become MPs.  That helps Corbynsceptics. “The reason why so many of the unions supported Jeremy the first time,” one senior Corbynite argues, “Is they wanted to move the Labour party a little bit to the left. They didn’t want a socialist transformation of the Labour party. And actually if you look at the people getting selected they are not Corbynites, but they are not Blairites either, and that’s what the unions wanted.”

Regardless of why, it means that, two years into Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour left finds itself smaller in parliament than it was at the beginning.  

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.