Amazon Game Studios: Employees can now retain rights to their own games

Amazon Game Studios: Employees can now retain rights to their own games

Amazon Game Studios

Amazon has ended a year-old regulation for all employees of the in-house game studios. Previously, employees had to hand over the ownership rights to their privately developed games in full to Amazon. There was no financial compensation for the license. In addition, employees were required to use Amazon Web Services for development. The titles were then sold in the provider's digital shops.

According to a report by Bloomberg, these regulations are now a thing of the past. In an internal e-mail from Mike Frazzini (head of Amazon Game Studios) it is said that in future they no longer want to automatically have the rights to the employees' games. In addition, there should no longer be any specifications as to how the projects must be developed. The rules were drawn up over a decade ago and have not been adjusted since.

In July 2021, today's Google developer James Lui sparked discussions about Amazon's now old guidelines. Accordingly, he refused a job at Amazon Game Studios in 2018 because of exactly these regulations. Such guidelines are probably not entirely atypical in the industry. Several developers revealed at the time that similar specifications also exist in their studio. Some are even not allowed to develop their own software at all in their spare time. James Lui has now also commented on the change in Amazon's guidelines. He is surprised that the company has not listened to its own employees for years - but suddenly ended all guidelines on this topic after a tweet from an outsider.

Source: Bloomberg

$ (document ) .ready (function () {ratgeber.getWidgetOutput ("17639", "rgTable-1", "entity", "automatic");});

Amazon Drops ‘Draconian’ Policy on Making Games After Work Hours

a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: Apps Take Center Stage Amid Shelter-In-Place Covid-19 Guidelines © Bloomberg Apps Take Center Stage Amid Shelter-In-Place Covid-19 Guidelines

(Bloomberg) -- Inc. withdrew a set of staff guidelines that claimed ownership rights to video games made by employees after work hours and dictated how they could distribute them, according to a company email reviewed by Bloomberg.


The longstanding policies within Amazon Game Studios had drawn criticism on social media over the last month after a Google engineer posted about them. Some game developers described the rules as “draconian.”

The old policies mandated that employees of the games division who were moonlighting on projects would need to use Amazon products, such as Amazon Web Services, and sell their games on Amazon digital stores. It also gave the company “a royalty free, worldwide, fully paid-up, perpetual, transferable license” to intellectual property rights of any games developed by its employees.

Amazon said Thursday it was immediately eliminating the rules. “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,” Mike Frazzini, the Amazon Game Studios boss, wrote in the email to staff.

A spokesman for Amazon declined to comment on the email.

The games division has struggled practically since its inception in 2012 and can hardly afford another reputational hit. It has never released a successful game, and some current and former employees have placed the blame with Frazzini. Bloomberg reported in January that Frazzini had hired veteran game developers and executives but largely dismissed or ignored their advice.

More stories like this are available on

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.