Amazon walks back controversial game rules

Eric Abent - Aug 13, 2021, 11:04am CDT
Amazon walks back controversial game rules

Last month, we caught wind of a rather troubling set of rules Amazon imposed on developers working for its studios. Those rules primarily concerned personal projects of developers under contract with Amazon, and they were about as bad as they could be. However, after those rules were made public and developers and prospective players alike pushed back, Amazon has apparently decided to reverse them.

That’s according to Bloomberg‘s Jason Schreier, who reports that Amazon Game Studios lead Mike Frazzini announced the rule reversal in an email to staff this week. “These policies were originally put in place over a decade ago when we had a lot less information and experience than we do today, and as a result, the policies were written quite broadly,” the email reads.

“Quite broadly” might even be an understatement in this case. The long list of rules Amazon imposed on game developers included provisions that required their personal games to use Amazon’s publicly available products and services “whenever possible,” meaning that if a game had some cloud functionality, it was required to use AWS. Amazon also required game developers to make their personal games available through Amazon’s storefronts.

Arguably the worst rule required game developers to give Amazon a “royalty-free, worldwide, fully paid-up, perpetual, transferrable license” to “any and all” IP rights associated with the games they created. These rules also stated that game developers could only make their personal games on their own time. They couldn’t use Amazon resources to develop those games either, so Amazon was definitely trying to have its cake and eat it too with these rules.

Now, however, they seem to be a thing of the past. While we don’t know what kind of rules Amazon is replacing the old list with – if it’s replacing them with any – it’s hard to imagine a new set of rules being worse than the old policies.


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