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Amazon launches social game development studios

Internet giant announces its Amazon Game Studios, as well as its first major release -- a game for Facebook.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Amazon has launched a social game development effort called Amazon Game Studios, as well as a game for Facebook called Living Classics.

"Amazon Game Studios is exactly what it sounds like: a new team at Amazon that's focused on creating innovative, fun and well-crafted games," the Amazon Games Studios team said in a company blog post today. "We know that many Amazon customers enjoy playing games -- including free-to-play social games -- and thanks to Amazon's know-how, we believe we can deliver a great, accessible gaming experience that gamers and our customers can play any time."

The post revealed little else about the game studios other than it is currently hiring. But job opening ads posted by Amazon earlier this year for game developers, artists, designers, and producers hinted that the company was close to an effort that would challenge the likes of Zynga.

The studios' first major title -- Living Classics -- is what Amazon calls a "moving object game." The game features a family of foxes interacting with animated illustrations from books such as "Alice in Wonderland," "The Wizard of Oz," and "King Arthur."

"Players help to reunite the foxes by exploring beautifully illustrated scenes and spotting moving objects," the team said. "You can visit friends, share rewards you've earned, rediscover famous stories, and reunite fox families."

Here's an Amazon preview of the game: