Amazon Buys Its Way Into Casual Gaming (AMZN)

Amazon (AMZN) makes a push into the world of casual gaming with the acquisition of Reflexive Entertainment, a company that’s made creating simple-but-addicting games a science. The games are downloadable to PCs and Macs and usually sell for $20.

Not clear what Amazon’s thinking is here. Reflexive makes its own games and distributes games for others. Amazon could presumably be interested in both businesses. Some have speculated that Amazon wants to design games for the Kindle, but this seems unlikely to us.

Terms weren’t disclosed, but from a distribution perspective, this deal makes a lot of sense. Simply, Reflexive has a hot line of games, and Amazon has a massive distribution network and the ability to introduce Reflexive’s games to an audience who otherwise would never hear of them.

Web comic XKCD is spot-on capturing the appeal of simple graphics and repetitive gameplay:

Unusual for a gaming company, Reflexive has a deep line of Mac games, an audience usually ignored by game developers as too small to target. And crucially, Reflexive games are some of the very few on the market that run on older machines like early-edition Macbooks with underpowered Intel GMA 950 graphics cards (which are otherwise unable to run the handful of big-studio games like EA’s (ERTS) Spore that have been coded for the Mac).

As Reflexive’s customers slowly upgrade to newer and better computers like the graphics-powerhouse aluminium MacBook, will they switch over to games that show off their new systems?  And what, exactly, does Amazon plan to do with this company?

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