Crytek went through some pretty torrid financial difficulties last year, which led to staff walking out and others going for months without pay. But it looks like the company’s fortunes have been turned around – thanks to a large cash injection from Amazon.
Kotaku has reported that several sources have told them that the online retail giant invested somewhere between $50m-$70m in the troubled developer. The exact figure couldn’t be pinned down – Kotaku says it was given several different numbers – but the investment is apparently enough to help Crytek out of the hole they had found themselves in after rapid expansion saw them with running costs that they simply couldn’t hope to sustain.
Last month, Crytek co-founder Faruk Yerli told the press that the studio had entered into a licensing agreement with a large multinational, but refused to give any more detail about who it was or what amount of money changed hands. “It was a huge one, probably the biggest one,” Yerli said at the time, “I can’t say anything more in detail, but hopefully we’ll be able to announce it with the partner soon.”
If Kotaku’s report is correct, it seems that the partner in question was Amazon, who has been gradually ramping up its investment in the games industry. Last year, Amazon purchased livestreaming service Twitch, for the princely sum of $970m. They also hired Portal designer Kim Swift and Far Cry 2 designer Clint Hocking, and purchased development studio Double Helix – best known for 2013 Xbox One exclusive Killer Instinct.
The only fruit of those labors so far has been the Android-based set-top box Amazon Fire, but despite launching with much fanfare from Amazon the device has so far failed to make a splash. If these latest reports are true, it looks like Amazon isn’t letting the relative failure of the Fire dissuade them from larger ambitions in the gaming space.
So far, both Crytek and Amazon are not responding to requests for a comment. If we do end up hearing more about any deal that’s been struck, it could come in June when Los Angeles plays host to this year’s E3.