As game launches go, it's fair to say that Amazon's first major release, Crucible, has had a pretty rough time of it. There's no easy time to release a multiplayer-focused shooter to take on Overwatch and its ilk, but doing so right around the same time as Valorant isn't too hot an idea either.
The fate awaiting Crucible has come to pass, then - despite critics and gamers finding a fair few things to like about the arena shooter, it sunk without a trace pretty quickly, with concurrent player counts on Steam indicating that it was rarely pushing above a few hundred players online at any one time weeks after its release.
Amazon, and the game's developer Relentless, has decided to take a pretty unusual step in response. Crucible will, later today, be delisted for download on the Steam storefront, meaning that new players can't accessed it.
The game's official blog post on the subject calls this a return to a closed beta phase in which the developers can work on features more aggressively and also solicit more feedback from those players still playing. Anyone who has the game downloaded will still be able to play during this phase, as it's only locking out new players.
At a certain point, the game will open up to an invite system to let more users in, before presumably making an eventual return to actual storefronts, although no timeline has been supplied for how long this might take.
It's not unprecedented for a multiplayer game to disappear and reappear refreshed and to a better reception (Final Fantasy XIV Online springs to mind), but it's also far from common.
While Amazon's willingness to bankroll an attempted resurrection might demonstrate its continued commitment to breaking into gaming, it might just as easily be pointed out that it looks like a mistake not to launch with a beta in the first place. Time will tell whether Crucible stands any chance of eventually reversing its fortunes.