Amazon, in an attempt to enter each and every media space known to man, announced this week that it was buying video game studio Double Helix Games, whose best known for the Xbox One version of Killer Instinct. If this isn't proof that Amazon is looking to go head-on with its own gaming console against the competition, I don't know what is.
The studio out of Irvine, CA first came to be after a 2007 merger of Collective, Inc. and Shiny Entertainment and is now home to 75 developers under the Double Helix roof. Amazon said that the team will continue to work out of the office it currently resides in.
Officially, here's all Amazon has to say about the purchase.
Amazon has acquired Double Helix as part of our ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers.
Because of this lack of information, we have no word on financial terms of the deal. However, Amazon did say that Double Helix's current roadmap for games will be supported by the company. Also, since Double Helix will potentially be a rival to Microsoft in the future, Microsoft announced that it is finding a "new development partner" for Killer Instinct.
We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Double Helix and wish them success in their next endeavor. We want all of our loyal fans to know that the Killer Instinct team at Microsoft is not changing and that the franchise will remain with Microsoft Studios. We remain dedicated to delivering a great experience and plan to announce our new development partner soon. We're excited about the future of this popular franchise.
The question that remains for Amazon now is what will they do with the gaming studio they've just picked up? Rumors have been swirling about an Android-based gaming console out of the Amazon camp, and if they introduce a gaming service that is combined with the recent price hike of the Prime service, all of this could actually make sense in the end. It is being thrown around that the console would play host to both streaming and downloadable games.
All is not happy in Streaming Game Land, though. Recent flops like Ouya and not-so-recent disasters like OnLive have left a bad taste in gamers' mouths when it comes to streaming games to an "open" console. Amazon would have to work harder than anyone else in the space to win the trust of the gamers that would potentially play on this platform. Further, considering the possibility of the system being run on Android, it severely limits the capabilities of the machine, especially when the talk is a sub-$300 price point. Triple-A titles and blockbuster hits won't show up here, just like they aren't available on OUYA or nVidia's SHEILD.
With a non-casual studio like Double Helix under the Amazon brand, one would assume casual gaming isn't the focus of whatever Amazon is looking to do next, but the rumors about platform don't seem to match up to the actions of the purchase. It is possible that Amazon could launch something crazy and change the gaming space as we know it. But until we hear more official news from the company, anything beyond a Candy Crush remake doesn't seem feasible. What do you think Amazon will do with this studio? Sound off in the comments below.