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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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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