According to a story on Kotaku, this just might be Amazon’s controller design for their not so secret android-powered game console that they have yet to officially announce. But clearly they are making moves in that direction, as they recently bought Double Helix, who made the most recent versions of Killer Instinct and Strider, both of which have gotten fairly solid critical acclaim.
My take? I will grant that if anyone is in a great position to launch a console of any sort, it’s certainly Amazon. They are massive, and it’s even been rumored that they have been in talks to buy the Xbox division from Microsoft if indeed Microsoft is thinking about dumping that division.
However, Android-based consoles haven’t had much luck in the marketplace to date. Does anyone own Madcatz’s M.O.J.O. console? I’ve barely even heard of it. What about the Ouya? You know, that console that was suppsoed to revolutionize indie and small budget gaming and raised a record-setting $8.5 million on kickstarter (it’s second-highest grossing project to date)? It was essentially DOA on arrival, no one bought the system. And it’s own company, rather than trying to salvage the hardware is dumping it in it in favor of “Ouya Everywhere” which really sounds like a last-ditch effort to make something out of it.
Does this mean an android-powered console can’t possibly be successful? I think it’s too early to tell. None of these efforts have had the backing of some mega-company like Amazon behind them, and if Amazon were to really push this with some exceptional exclusive software (which is exactly why you would snatch up a developer who is hot right now such as Double Helix) and market it well, there’s really no reason this couldn’t be the first android console to really make a dent in the market. Amazon is certainly wise enough to look at what has come before them and try their best to avoid those mistakes along with having a pretty powerful way to market it with having their own storefront that’s the most popular marketplace on the planet.