SAN FRANCISCO - Online retail colossus Amazon on Tuesday launched its first online social game in a challenge to Zynga.
The "Living Classics" title was tailored for play at leading social network Facebook, where Zynga rose to stardom.
"Why is Amazon making social games?, you ask. Good question!" the Seattle-based company's newly announced Game Studios team said in a blog post.
"We know that many Amazon customers enjoy playing games, including free-to-play social games," the message continued.
"We believe we can deliver a great, accessible gaming experience that gamers and our customers can play any time."
Amazon's inaugural game paid tribute to the Seattle-based company's roots as a seller of digital books.
"Living Classics" challenges players to reunite a family of animated foxes ranging about settings from literary works such as Alice in Wonderland, King Arthur, and The Wizard of Oz.
"Players help to reunite the foxes by exploring beautifully illustrated scenes and spotting moving objects," the blog said.
Facebook friends are encouraged to collaborate to succeed and share in rewards. The game was available for play at facebook.com/LivingClassics.
"Amazon has the kind of fire power that allows it to dominate a market quickly," Douglas McIntyre of investment website 247Wallst.com said of the news.
"Zynga has reason to be worried about Amazon Game Studios, but so does an entire industry that is still in its infancy," he continued.
Amazon has the capital and the online clout to "disrupt" the social games industry from small startups to established titans such as Electronic Arts, according to McIntyre.
Zynga shares were up for the day, trading at $3.05 after hours on the Nasdaq.
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