Amazon.com publishing Video Games? I think not.

by: Nathan -
I admit I love going to the Gamasutra.com Job Seeker service because it can serve as a kind of pulse to the goings on in the video game industry. Today I came across a job listing from Amazon.com for the position of Software Development Engineer Video Games. No, I did not mistype the job title. Amazon.com is really looking for video game designers but to what ends? Let us take a look at some of the required job qualifications:

"...you'll need some experience…with C++ or Java, and large-scale systems. It's all web-based around here; HTML, web services, that sort of thing. You'll want to know or learn some Perl. Important: we need someone who can create a successful system design without supervision."

Strange wording but not an unreasonable request unless you count creating a whole entire system design with zero supervision. My guess is that they will give the poor sap who takes the job a list of features and say “Here, make this“. But what is the Software Development Engineer Video Games going to do with that "system design"?

"Senior Developers needed for Software and Video Games Distribution at Amazon... in software and videogame distribution - establishing a new business and, if successful, the model for many businesses to come."

Okay so they want to set something up like Valve’s Steam or Stardock’s Impulse and offer downloadable games for a price. They must be if their looking specifically for someone with video game design experience. They aren’t to clear on exactly what they are working on though. Continuing on:

"This is a team of talented professionals who put their hearts into their work. If you can't help doing that…you should consider applying immediately."
"Teamwork, a sense of ownership, and those essential qualities that allow smart people to get things done are, well, essential. We use phrases around here like 'bias for action' with no sarcasm.”

If you can't help putting your heart into your work? Essential qualities that allow smart people to get things done? Bias for action? Maybe Amazon doesn't need a software engineer, maybe Amazon needs Merriam Webster, or just maybe Amazon needs to not let their interns post job offers. Believe me I tried to cut out all the unnecessary wording I could for the quotes but it was an impossible task. Worst still was the the actual job listing I tracked down on  Amazon’s careers website. The description for the position of Software Development Engineer Video Games and the one from Gamasutra.com‘s Job Seeker is copied verbatim! If Amazon is really trying to develop a digital distribution network for video games it is certainly starting on the wrong foot, facing backwards, and with real bullets in the starting gun. If you think I’m being unfair then consider the last sentences of the job description fully unedited:
“We hold each other to exacting standards; we put customers on pedestals. We talk constantly. We get to work excited every day, we go home tired. Sound like the time of your life? Then, we may also need you.”
To me this sounds like the absolute worst environment to be in if your going to spend all your time alone in a corner banging away code with people constantly putting things on pedestals, talking, and acting hyper-active all day. Okay, now I'm being a little unfair.
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