Leaked images of a game controller suggest that Amazon is indeed hard at work on a gaming console of some sort.
The blog Zatz Not Funny first posted images of the controller, which subsequently ended up on a variety of tech-media Websites such as The Verge. The hardware features an Amazon logo, analog sticks for controlling the onscreen action, and three buttons that seem to be Android controls (Back, Home, Menu). In fact, aside from those Android buttons, it looks very much like a “traditional” game controller for the Xbox or PlayStation.
For quite some time, rumors have circulated that Amazon’s engineers are developing an Android-based game console that, in the grand tradition of Amazon hardware, will retail for a relatively cheap price—perhaps even $300, which would undercut the current-generation Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Amazon’s recent acquisition of Double Helix, the game studio behind “Killer Instinct” and other prominent titles, added fuel to those rumors—as will this latest leak about a game controller. (Amazon already has Amazon Game Studios, which produces smaller games such as “Air Patriots,” but will need to bulk out its portfolio of titles and talent if it wants to make an earnest run at the console market.)
Amazon’s previous forays into hardware have proven successful: its Kindle Fire, priced well below that of Apple’s iPad, managed to carve out a niche in the tablet market. But consoles are another matter entirely, and Amazon could find itself struggling to find an audience for one based on Android. Contenders in that category, most notably the $99 Ouya, have faced challenges in their first months on the market; Amazon’s best chance in overcoming that—if it actually launches a console—is by focusing on the basics: solid hardware and services backing great, and possibly exclusive games.
Image: Zatz Not Funny