Yeah this is pretty big news for the casual game world, so here are my random thoughts on it:
Well Reflexive have already changed their affiliate scheme to remove a feature that allowed affiliate sites could offer discounts. This has worried lots of affiliates who wonder what will happen next and also developers are worried about possibly having a reduced royalty rate in order to increase Amazon profits. This could just be paranoia though because I don’t think Amazon would want to loose clients right after purchasing the company (unless they have bought it to shut it down because they have their own game company in the pipeline). I wonder if Amazon will be adding to Reflexive by making an online games/community games site too? I imagine that their business development team are pretty clued up and if they’ve cottoned onto the growth of downloadable casual games they must have figured out that online games are getting pretty big too.
With their finances and marketing clout behind Reflexive they could really push Reflexive to be a very big player in the casual arena – perhaps the biggest. It depends how quickly they work and how BFG and Real (two of the biggest casual portals) can sense what is happening and adapt. However, if Amazon make more and more people aware of casual games this could work out well for all casual game portals due to increased customer awareness, so it may not be a bad thing at all.
Also Amazon aren’t the only big players climbing into the casual arena as many mainstream game companies are doing this too but the hope from the casual world has generally been that these big guys will need to spend a while “catching up” to learn how to do things properly – this could be a false hope though. One more thing, Amazon may acquire MORE casual game companies too…