The guy running Amazon's PC games group is 'brilliant,' says former manager

Paul FurioLinkedIn/Paul FurioPaul Furio, Founder and CEO, SyncBuildRun

As we previously reported, Amazon is working on its first PC game and, possibly (probably), a streaming games service that runs on its cloud.

We just heard from Paul Furio, who left Amazon some months back, after managing teams that built Amazon’s gaming software development kit, some sample games, the 3D Toolkit for the Fire Phone, and the Fire Phone itself.

Furio is now working on his own gaming startup, SyncBuildRun, which is working on a “episodic,” games, where your characters face new adventures delivered weekly.

Furio had some skinny for us about Amazon’s team.

First of all, he says the team is being run by “a brilliant and visionary guy,” in Mike Frazzini, long time Amazon employee who became vice president of the games group in 2014 (and was previously director of the group since 2009).

Frazzini was a key player in Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch, for instance.

“When I was doing the Games SDK for the Fire Phone, he was incredibly encouraging of all of our initiatives, and often pushed us to think bigger. At the time, he was only a director, so his promotion was well deserved,” Furio told us via email.

He added about Frazzini, “He also gets that there are ways to mitigate development cost and make Amazon’s platforms more interesting for game developers. He’s backed a bunch of big visions, including the Amazon purchase of Twitch, and some other stuff I still can’t talk about.”

Amazon said in a recruiting ad for the gaming team that it’s already nabbed folks who worked on such games as Portal, World of Warcraft, BioShock, Half Life 2, Left for Dead, Dota 2, Halo, Infamous, Shadows of Mordor, and The Last of Us.

Amazon Michael FrazziniLinkedIn/Michael FrazziniVP of Amazon Games Michael Frazzini

Furio dished on that as well, telling us Amazon had hired Kim Swift, who was a key designer for Valve’s hit game Portal. Although he didn’t share the names of the people hired who worked on Halo, this former employee seemed pretty psyched about what the team was working on.

“All the pieces are in place to do what Amazon does best, only in games: build great brands that customers love, and build platforms that enable other developers to utilise amazing services,” he says.

He almost — not quite — sounds like he regrets leaving to pursue his new thing.

“Unfortunately, Amazon wasn’t interested in episodic gaming when I was there. Oh well. They can’t get everything right,” he jokes.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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