Speculation that Amazon is to produce a games console is escalating; the company acquired Double Helix Games earlier this year, and VG247 cited “multiple sources” for its claim that Amazon is to launch an Android-powered games console at some point in 2014. After the Double Helix Games acquisition, Amazon told Techcrunch that it was committed to building “innovative games” for its customers, strongly indicating its increasing interest in this sector.
Job postings Amazon has listed on LinkedIn and on its own website have added fuel to the fire. The online giant is hiring senior graphics developers and creative directors to boost its games development. The graphics developer listing also called for applicants to have experience in iOS and Android game development.
Although the job postings do not confirm that the company is in the process of producing a new games console – throwing itself into the fiercely competitive console market currently dominated by Microsoft and Sony – it would be strange for Amazon to seek out top-tier talent if it only intends to continue producing relatively simple games for the Kindle Fire or a sequel to 2012’s Air Patriots.
The listings also reveal that Amazon has already taken on a lot of games industry veterans in recent years, with the LinkedIn job description stating that the firm’s team currently contains people who have worked on Gears of War, Left 4 Dead, Bioshock, Call of Duty, Age of Empires and Half Life 2.
An Android-based games console has already been produced – the Ouya. This microconsole was funded by a Kickstarter project which raised more than £5 million. The console did not have the impact that was anticipated – although players can access hundreds of free-to-play games, and it only costs £99, the Ouya has been criticised as being laggy and as having inferior graphics and resolution to its competitors. Sales for the Ouya have been slow, although they may pick up in the future. Amazon will be taking a keen interest in the Ouya if it wants to ensure its own Android-powered games console is a success.
So far, Amazon has not commented on any of this speculation, but the job listings certainly indicate that the company is making plenty of investments in the video game development market.