Amazon Games San Diego lead John Smedley to resign

In the six years since he jumped ship from Sony to join Amazon, Smedley led the start of several projects, but was unable to launch any of them.

A number of high-level executives have left Amazon Games, and former Sony Online Entertainment president and Amazon Games San Diego lead John Smedley joins them today.  Amazon Games has launched and started only a handful of projects over the near-decade its been around, but the real bread-and-butter of the division has turned out to be publishing games like Lost Ark. Smedley had been around the company for six years, but now feels it’s time to move on to “something new.”

Smedley announced his exit from Amazon Games’ San Diego studio in a company email obtained by Bloomberg.

“After a lot of thought, I’ve decided it’s time for me to try my hand at something new,” Smedley wrote in his exit email. It is unknown at this time where Smedley will go or what he will do.

John Smedley joined Amazon Games to run its San Diego studio in 2017 after jumping ship from Sony where he was previously president of Sony Online Entertainment. He also had a major hand in games like Everquest. In his time at Amazon, Smedley started up several projects with the Amazon Games team, but was unable to get them to market with many of the projects being shelved.

Amazon Games logo over Lost Ark key art
As it has stumbled in producing original content, Amazon Games has leaned on the publishing of titles like Lost Ark in North America to find its footing.
Source: Amazon Games

Smedley isn’t the only high-profile executive to exit Amazon Games. It was in March 2022 that Amazon Games lead Michael Frazzini left the company, leaving the role to Christoph Hartmann. On its own, Amazon Games has put out projects that ranged from middling in the case of New World, to outright disastrous in the case of Crucible. Even so, Amazon Games has also found some success in the publishing of other studios’ games. The division continues to do well with Lost Ark, which it helped Smilegate launch in the West. It also revealed at The Game Awards 2022 that it’s similarly bringing MMORPG Blue Protocol to Western audiences.

Nonetheless, Smedley’s resignation marks another major exit from Amazon Games. What that means for the division remains to be seen (including who will replace him if anyone), but it will be interesting to see what a talent like Smedley does next. Stay tuned for further updates here at Shacknews.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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