Amazon.com Inc. is making it easier for Prime subscibers to play games, the latest effort to extend the appeal of a loyalty program designed to keep shoppers engaged.
The world’s largest e-commerce company on Monday gave its more than 150 million Prime members access to free video-game content, eliminating a step that required them to link their Amazon account with one on Twitch, the company’s live-streaming subsidiary. The service, once known as Prime Twitch, is now called Prime Gaming and offers special in-game perks and free downloadable PC games.
Prime, which now costs US$119 a year in the U.S., began as an unlimited free-shipping program designed to entice customers. Amazon has since tacked on a suite of digital perks, such as video streaming, music and photo storage. Members spend far more on the retail site than non-members, surveys show.
Amazon in 2016 launched a version of Prime pitched to fans of Twitch, the livestreaming site popular with gamers it acquired a few years before. Prime Gaming will absorb the perks previously housed in Twitch Prime.
The Seattle company has struggled to broaden its video gaming franchise beyond Twitch. This year Amazon Games Studio launched Crucible, the first in a set of big-budget PC games. But last month, it pulled the free-to-play multiplayer shooter PC game from wide release after negative reviews. The company’s cloud-computing arm, Amazon Web Services, builds tools for game developers. The company is also widely expected to launch a game-streaming service.