Amazon to get into digital game distribution business

— 6:00 AM on February 19, 2008

After its modest debut as an online bookstore in the 90s, Amazon has grown to offer a wide range of products, from movies and electronics to furniture and food. Last September, the company started competing head-on with Apple's iTunes Store via its new Amazon MP3 service, which exclusively delivers digital rights management-free MP3 music. Today, Shacknews reports that Amazon may soon start competing with another established leader in digital sales and distribution: Valve's Steam.

Shacknews has spotted a job posting on Gamasutra's JobSeeker site in which Amazon says it's looking for a full-time software engineer who specializes in "video game and software downloads" and is based in Seattle, Washington—the company's home city. The job description makes it pretty clear what Amazon is cooking up. A portion of it reads, "Our [Software and Video Games Digital Technology Team] is responsible for digital distribution of software and video game products from the Amazon website, including the newly launched Amazon Software Download store."

Indeed, Amazon's Software Download store is already up, although it currently offers only a handful of tax management applications. However, all the ingredients are there for a potential competitor to Steam for online game sales. With the PC game industry shifting toward online distribution, such a service could certainly be a lucrative venture for Amazon.

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