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John Smedley is leaving Amazon Games

John Smedley is leaving Amazon Games

The head of Amazon's San Diego games studio, John Smedley, is leaving the company.

As reported by Bloomberg, the industry vet is stepping down after six years running the developer. Smedley is being replaced by Andy Sites as studio head.

“After a lot of thought, I’ve decided it’s time for me to try my hand at something new,” Smedley wrote in an email to staff.

He joined Amazon back in 2017 and has worked on a variety of projects, though none of these have actually been released. Before being hired by the retail giant, he served as president of Sony Online Entertainment for 13 years, overseeing the launches of Everquest and its sequel, as well as Planetside and H1Z1.

That company was sold to private equity firm Columbus Nova and was rebranded DayBreak Game Company. He departed that firm in 2015 to set up a new outfit called Pixelmage, before being hired by Amazon two years later. 

"John is a game industry legend, and we're grateful for his contributions to Amazon Games over the past six years," an Amazon spokesperson said.

They continued, saying that the team "remains focused on bringing their unannounced project to life. John is committed to staying on until the team is fully transitioned before he moves on to pursue something new."

This is the second high profile departure from Amazon Games within a year. Back in March 2022, the division's head Mike Fazzini announced that he was leaving the company.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.