In a report by Bloomberg, news broke that Mike Frazzini, head of Amazon Game Studios, has stepped down. According to the report, Frazzini stated he was stepping down to focus on his family. The news comes as AGS’s flagship title New World continues to hemorrhage players, down to an average peak player count of around 27K players according to SteamDB.
Frazzini, who worked in Amazon's books section before taking over as head of AGS, had never worked in the field of video games when he took over. Amazon spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the years to create exciting titles for their gaming division, and after two failed projects, one of which the team released, and then ushered back into closed beta, AGS finally seemed like they hit paydirt when New World released to nearly 1 million active players. Unfortunately, the game was plagued with numerous problems, including gold dupes, long server queue issues, invulnerable players in PvP and more.
The Bloomberg article references a former AGS manager that stated Frazzini’s leadership was one of the main culprits to the unsuccessful developments in Amazon’s game division. According to the article, Amazon’s work culture believes that a successful leader can succeed no matter their department, but Frazzini’s success in Amazon’s Book division did not seem to translate, and AGS appears to have faltered on several important projects over the years.
Earlier this year we reported that New World had lost nearly 90% of their active player base. The numbers have continued to decline, with an additional 79% drop from its daily active player count in January of 2022. By comparison, Lost Ark, a game that Amazon Game Studios published for western audiences, but was developed by Smilegate, has seen a nearly 60% drop in daily active players from its all time high, but still manages to garner more than 400K daily active players. It’s important to note that all-time-high peak numbers are not sustainable, and that it’s only natural for daily active players to decline over time, but the drastic decrease in Amazon’s flagship title New World is alarming considering how important the property is to Amazon Game Studios.
Despite the sinking numbers for New World, we earnestly hope Mike Frazzini gets some well earned time off to spend with his family.