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Mike Frazzini, Amazon Game Studios VP

SAN FRANCISCO – Amazon Game Studios has picked up a lot of high-profile talent in the form of developers who have worked on some of the game industry’s top franchises, including “Portal,” “Left 4 Dead” and “Bioshock.” But how does a studio without a major hit under its belt manage to attract top talent, and what are they doing with that talent?

According to Mike Frazzini, the vice president in charge of Amazon Game Studios, the company is looking to tread a middle path between hard-core games that require massive teams and millions of dollars in investment, and smaller social games that can work with a more minimal budget.

“What we’ve observed is that there’s a type of game that exists in the middle of that spectrum that basically indexes very high on creativity (and) hand-craftsmanship,” he said Monday at the GamesBeat conference in San Francisco.

He continued, “You can tell that the people who worked on it had a lot of autonomy, had the ability to shape the game the way they want to shape it, and so when we tell that story to these fantastic game developers that have worked on some of the biggest franchises ever made, they’re very compelled by that,” he said. “They like the idea that they will be able to have a tremendous amount of creative freedom, and make something that’s amazing and unique.”

If that approach sounds familiar, it’s because Amazon also takes a similar tack with its original video projects. The company is trying to build new hit shows and games by offering high-profile creators the freedom to pursue the projects they want to make, sometimes on a slightly smaller scale than they’re used to.

The strategy hasn’t paid dividends for the Seattle-based company in either arena yet, but Amazon seems committed to keep trying. It recently released the companion app to Sev Zero, its first high-profile game for the Fire TV, on the iPad in a move that broadened the reach of the Fire TV’s first-party gaming experience beyond people with Android devices.

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