April 1, 2023

Amazon Games boss Christoph Hartmann offers his thoughts on the consolidation of the video game industry, which he believes we will see more and more acquisitions and mergers in the future.

The video game industry has had a bumper year for mergers and acquisitions, with Take-Two’s $12.7 billion acquisition of Zynga and Microsoft’s proposed $75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Hartmann says that trend is likely to continue (“Today, the smallest stores have bankers,” he said). Looking further afield, Hartmann believes consolidation will accelerate further to the point that only a handful of companies in the gaming space will remain the same.

“In the long run, we’re all dead. Every business, as long as the state doesn’t intervene, will eventually become a monopoly in some form or another,” he said. “It’s not what I said [we at Amazon are] to this end. What I’m saying is that there are fewer and fewer players. I’ve been doing this for 25 years, from the number of game companies I’ve seen then to now… Now Activision is being sold. Who is left? Take-Two and EA. Take-Two, I don’t know, I think in GTA everyone is turning around because it’s asking for trouble…and EA, there’s all the murmuring there…”

Speaking of which, there have been recent rumors that Amazon may be bidding for Electronic Arts. However, this did not materialize.

However, Hartman did get involved in a deal adjacent to EA. Amazon Games recently opened a new office in Montreal, led by a Ubisoft Rainbow Six veteran.As Hartman said, the core team behind Rainbow Six Siege is about Signed with EA before Hartman heard about the upcoming deal and convinced them to switch to Amazon.

“EA is about to sign them. [They] Called EA and said, “I’m going with Christopher because he seems to play games,” Hartman said.

When it comes to other projects in the future for Amazon Games, Hartmann said he always prefers to build teams organically and create new IP that it fully owns. It does take longer — and Hartmann isn’t closing the door on potential future acquisitions — but organic growth is more appealing to him. Hartman observes that the record for acquisitions is shoddy.

“In my experience, when you buy a game company, half of it doesn’t work. It sounds like a lot of work. Might as well start from scratch,” he said.

GameSpot recently profiled Hartmann, and our article talks about his roots in Germany, where he was in the early days of Rockstar Games, how a dog dictated the cover of a Borderlands game, and how he set out to build Amazon as a ” Disney of the future”. “You can read our full interview to learn more.

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