Amazon Game Studios has announced that former Sony Online Entertainment boss John Smedley has joined the publisher. Smedley has established a brand-new studio in San Diego to work on an undisclosed title.
"John's pioneering work helped define the modern MMO, and his influence can be felt in thousands of games that followed," said Amazon in its announcement. "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 John has joined Amazon Game Studios to lead this new team."
Smedley was a co-founder of Verant Interactive, which eventually became Sony Online Entertainment through acquisition. When Sony Online eventually became Daybreak Games Company, Smedley stayed with the company until July 2015, when he stepped down as president. He formed indie studio Pixelmage Games in January of last year, shuttering the studio a year later.
Like other Amazon Game Studios titles, the game Smedley's team is working on will utilize Amazon tech like Twitch and AWS Cloud. Given his past, it's likely that Smedley will be working on something MMO related, but he himself admits that what's considered an MMO these days is fluid.
"I think we're seeing the evolution of the MMO into a lot of different forms. I look at Destiny and I think it's an amazing MMO, but it's nothing like WoW. I think we're also seeing the realization that content is incredibly time consuming to make, and keeping up with the players is a difficult thing to do," Smedley told GamesIndustry.biz.
"For someone trying to make a WoW-MMO they have to deal with 12 years of content. That's going to mean a focus on more player-owned systems and games that are more open ended (Day Z or H1Z1 are great examples of this) where other players are the content. We'll still see great MMOs, we're just going to see them evolve from what they are now."