The fact that Amazon is launching a set-top box offering streaming video services is hardly a surprise. Much like Netflix, Amazon has dabbled in original series and who can blame them for wanting to have a service that means you can only get that content straight from Amazon on their device. So, as expected as this might have been, what has been a surprise is that Amazon also seems intent on jumping into the gaming market with this device.
The rumors are that Amazon will offer streaming video games and will compete with Apple and Roku, but Amazon has done something that makes me wonder exactly how far they want to take their foray into the gaming market.
Amazon has increased its gaming-related hiring of late and even acquired Killer Instinct and Strider developer Double Helix Games for an undisclosed sum last month.
This reeks of more than just mild interest. Granted, that’s only one studio, and is rather old news, but I expect this to be the first of a few purchases for them. My feeling is that they are looking for original content in terms of both television shows (that terms is quickly becoming outdated) and video games.
Backing up the rumors of game content was the release of a supposed controller last week. Well, I think it’s pretty fugly, but it does the job I suppose. Seems very Android based to me.
The big question about Amazon’s actions are how this thing will be received. Even though the Gamespot story states Apple TV and Roku as the primary competition, once you enter into the gaming market in this way (purchasing a publisher with a few recent titles in Killer Instinct and Strider), you also have to consider the current generation of consoles as competition as well, especially given how media ready these devices are. Between the PS4, Xbox One, and WiiU, you can access Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, and Amazon for your viewing needs, just to name a few. These devices are also dedicated gaming consoles, receiving acclaimed games that I just can’t imagine an Amazon console receiving (I mean, most of these aren’t even hitting the WiiU).
I admire what Amazon is hoping to do, and I do expect them to be moderately successful, but I just can’t see them making any kind of true inroads with the gaming community. We’ve already put out funds for something that gives us gaming as well as access to multiple choices of media streaming, be it for free or via a monthly fee (looking at you here Microsoft). Still, Amazon’s actions seem to indicate that they hope to wade into the deep waters with the big three, and if they do try that, I fully expect them to be completely devoured.
Brandon Nicholson is a blogger for TMRzoo.com and the founder of Just Another Video Game Blog and covers all gaming consoles and platforms including Sony Playstation 3 and PS4, Microsoft XBOX One and XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and computer games designed for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Brandon provides his readers with reviews, previews, release dates and up to date gaming industry news, trailers and rumors.