Christoph Hartmann (executive)

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Christoph Hartmann
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Born1970 (age 53–54)
Rosenheim, Germany
Alma materMunich Business School
OccupationAmazon Games vice president
Former 2K president and co-founder

Christoph Hartmann is a German-American video game executive and vice president of Amazon Games at Amazon.[1] Before assuming leadership of Amazon Games in 2018, he was president and co-founder of video game publisher 2K.[2][3]

Early life and education

Hartmann was born in Rosenheim, Germany, in 1970. He attended university at Munich Business School. As of 2022, he splits his time between New York and Munich.[2]

Early career

Early in his career, Hartmann interned at BMG Music in Spain. In 1995, he moved to London and transitioned to a permanent role in BMG's then-new BMG Interactive division. There, he worked with Sam and Dan Houser, who went on to create Rockstar Games.[2] Hartmann also supported the launch of the original Grand Theft Auto in 1997[4] as well as Grand Theft Auto 2 in 1999, Grand Theft Auto III in 2001,[2] and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2002.[5] In 1998, video game publisher Take-Two Interactive acquired BMG Interactive[6] and Hartmann assumed the role of senior vice president of publishing.[2]

2K Games

In 2005, Hartmann was a co-founder of 2K Games,[7] a new publishing label formed when Take-Two Interactive acquired NBA 2K developer Visual Concepts.[8][9] That same year, Hartmann orchestrated 2K's acquisition of the publishing rights for the Civilization series and buyout of Civilization developer Firaxis Games. Under Hartmann's leadership 2K published its first major hit, BioShock, in 2007. In 2009, Hartmann led 2K in publishing its next major franchise with the release of Borderlands.[2]

At 2K, Hartmann established a reputation for prioritizing the quality of a game over rapid development,[2] an approach for which he continued to advocate later in his career, at Amazon.[7][10] Metacritic ranked Take-Two Interactive as the top video game publisher of 2010.[11] Other games published under Hartmann at 2K include Evolve, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel,[2] Mafia,[12] and several entries in the XCOM, Civilization, and NBA 2K series,[2] including NBA 2K14, which in 2013 became the top-selling sports game in the U.S. on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.[13][14] He departed 2K as company president in May 2017.[15]

Amazon Games

In 2018, Hartmann joined Amazon as vice president of Amazon Game Studios,[16] charged with leading the development and publishing businesses[2] in Orange County, San Diego, and Seattle.[16] At the time, each game published by Amazon was treated as its own business; Hartmann established a centralized publishing division within the company.[2][17] Hartmann relaxed the unit's requirement to use the Amazon Lumberyard game engine, opening up development using Unreal Engine. He also encouraged Amazon to publish titles developed by other companies.[12]

Shortly after Hartmann joined Amazon Games, the organization published Crucible and then returned it to closed beta[18] and eventually canceled it in 2020.[10] The company also developed and published New World, released in 2021,[1] and published Lost Ark (originally published in South Korea in 2019) in North America and other regions in 2022.[19][17] Amazon Games opened a fourth office in Montreal after Hartmann hired the core team that created Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege in 2021.[20][21]

In 2022, after the departure of previous head Mike Frazzini, Hartmann assumed leadership of Amazon Games[22] and Prime Gaming.[23] He also secured several publishing agreements for Amazon Games: with UK studio Glowmade (composed of Lionhead Studios alumni),[2] with Embracer Group[24] and Crystal Dynamics to publish the next game in the Tomb Raider franchise,[25][22] with Disruptive Games,[26] and with Bandai Namco to publish Blue Protocol in the west.[27]

In October 2022, Variety included Hartmann in its annual list of leaders in entertainment gaming.[28] The next year, Amazon Games announced a partnership with NCSoft to publish Throne and Liberty.[29] In May 2023, Hartmann secured an agreement with Embracer Group, owner of Middle-earth Enterprises, for Amazon Games to create a massively multiplayer online game based on The Lord of the Rings.[30][4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Batchelor, James (22 September 2021). "Amazon Games' Christoph Hartmann: "Eventually, we'll be judged by our successes"". Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Makuch, Eddie (6 September 2022). "The Man Running Amazon Games Talks His GTA Past, Failures, And Aspiring To Be The Disney Of The Future". GameSpot. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  3. Dring, Christopher (4 May 2017). "2K president Christoph Hartmann departs". Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bailey, Kat (15 May 2023). "Interview: Amazon Games' CEO on How the Reborn Lord of the Rings MMO Will Learn from New World". IGN. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  5. "Vice City Tourist Guide" (PDF). Rockstar Games. 2003. p. 23. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  6. Johnston, Chris (April 28, 2000). "Take 2 Takes BMG". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 27, 2018. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Statt, Nick (13 October 2021). "New World is just the beginning of Amazon's gaming ambitions". Protocol. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  8. "Take-Two takes Sega's sports-game studios". CNET. 25 January 2005. Retrieved 14 July 2023.
  9. Jenkins, David (25 January 2005). "Take-Two Acquires Visual Concepts, Announces 2K Games Brand". Game Developer. Retrieved 14 July 2023.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Tucker, Jake (26 October 2021). "With 'New World', Amazon got into games properly – and Christoph Hartmann says it's here to stay". NME. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  11. Yin-Poole, Wesley (10 February 2011). "Take-Two is Metacritic's top publisher". Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Schreier, Jason; Anand, Priya (29 January 2021). "Amazon Can Make Just About Anything—Except a Good Video Game". Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  13. "On PS4 and Xbox One, NBA 2K14 beats Madden as top-selling US sports game". GameSpot. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  14. Grubb, Jeff (4 May 2017). "2K Games president Christoph Hartmann has stepped down". VentureBeat. Retrieved 29 July 2023.
  15. Shea, Brian (4 May 2017). "President Of 2K Games Christoph Hartmann Leaves Company". Game Informer. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Lanier, Liz (7 August 2018). "Founder of 2K Games Christoph Hartmann New VP of Amazon Games". Variety. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Takahashi, Dean (27 February 2023). "Is Amazon finding its way in games? | Sarah Anderson interview". VentureBeat. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  18. Peters, Jay (10 October 2020). "Amazon has canceled Crucible, its free-to-play multiplayer shooter that had already been returned to closed beta". The Verge. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  19. Liao, Shannon (8 March 2022). "Amazon Games VP Christoph Hartmann explains how past failures helped fuel 'Lost Ark's' success". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  20. Makuch, Eddie (6 September 2022). "Amazon Games Boss Sees Even More Industry Consolidation On The Horizon". GameSpot. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  21. Lyles, Taylor (23 March 2021). "Amazon is opening a new game studio in Montreal led by Rainbow Six Siege developers". The Verge. Retrieved 18 June 2023.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Schreier, Jason (11 January 2023). "Amazon Game Studios Executive Steps Down as Unit Struggles With Hits". Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  23. Palmer, Annie (4 April 2023). "Amazon lays off more than 100 employees in its video games division: Read the memo here". CNBC. Retrieved 14 July 2023.
  24. Robinson, Andy (15 December 2022). "Amazon has signed the next Tomb Raider game from Crystal Dynamics". VGC. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  25. Browning, Kellen (15 December 2022). "Amazon to Publish the Next Tomb Raider Video Game". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 June 2023.
  26. Saed, Sherif (2 June 2022). "Amazon Games' next project is an online action adventure from Disruptive Games". VG247. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  27. Webster, Andrew (9 December 2022). "Amazon's next game is an anime MMO called Blue Protocol". The Verge. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  28. Eriksen, Kaare; Longwell, Todd; Horst, Carole (4 October 2022). "Entertainment Gaming Leaders Class of 2022". Variety. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  29. Bailey, Kat (22 February 2023). "Amazon Games Adds the Long-Delayed Throne and Liberty to Its Lineup". IGN. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  30. Morris, Chris (15 May 2023). "Amazon is creating its own 'Lord of the Rings' massive multiplayer game". Fast Company. Retrieved 5 June 2023.

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