A new report on Re/code claims that Amazon’s long-rumored, never-confirmed, Android-powered console will be released sometime this March. If true, Amazon would be offering its customers yet another way to consume its content—all from the comfort of their couches.
According to the post, the March date is coming from “industry sources,” and that the console will specifically compete with Apple TV and Roku, meaning that streaming video content both from Amazon’s own service as well as other app-based services (like Hulu or Netflix, for instance) will also be a strong component. Such a device wouldn’t be too surprising. In fact, the real surprise there is the fact that Amazon hasn’t bothered to release a video streaming TV box already.
With an unconfirmed report like this, it’s hard not to have lots of questions, but there’s definitely one that can’t be ignored: if this console is indeed coming out sometime next month, will it also be the rumored gaming console that the online retail giant has supposedly been working on for so long? Just last month rumors swirled that Amazon would release an Android-powered gaming console sometime in 2014 for under $300, after having missed the supposed target of the holiday season in 2013. As it turns out, missing the holidays was probably good, considering Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been doing great business.
Then, about a week later, Amazon itself practically confirmed the belief that it was getting into the gaming business by acquiring game developer Double Helix. At this point, it’s all but certain that Amazon wants a piece of the gaming pie, but until it announces some definitive plans, all we can do is speculate.
It would make sense for this console rumored for March to be not only a video streamer, but also a gaming console. Amazon has a huge library of video content and Android games, so populating a digital storefront is already done. And Double Helix being brought into the fold could signal that the developer was already working on a game for the console—possibly an exclusive that can only be played on the Amazon Box.
That said, one has to wonder whether Double Helix is the right developer to fulfill such a role. While the studio made the Xbox One exclusive Killer Instinct remake, and remade Strider for Capcom, the developer is far from a household name. And its work on licensed properties, like the much-derided G.I. Joe and Battleship games, doesn’t really speak well to its track record.
Hopefully Amazon will clear up the mysteries with an announcement next month. Stay tuned.