Is Amazon making a ~$300 console to play mobile games? Doubtful.

Source: Amazon

Today I'm going to do something I don't often do: report on a rumor that I don't believe is true. I saw the story in a few places yesterday: Amazon may be launching a game console. Each story seemed to trace a path back to VG 24/7's post on the topic.

VG 24/7 says that Amazon is preparing a sub-$300 device and they've demoed it using both Android and iOS games. And yet VG 24/7 calls the price affordable "in a pricing move similar to Amazon’s marketing of the Kindle Fire HD against high-end iPad hardware from Apple." $300 isn't affordable for this kind of thing. Isn't the Ouya $100?

Here's another odd quote:

The most suitable games for the console are likely to be similar to those currently taking tablet devices by storm, where companies such as Rovio, Supercell, King and Kabam are forging ahead in the free-to-play business with a combination of accessible gameplay and high marketing spend.

Three thoughts. Games that work well on a tablet or phone that is often at arm's reach don't always work well on a system that sits in the living room and requires you turn on the TV and the console, or kick other family members off the TV. The beauty of this kind of tablet game is that they're great for a quick drop in, play a few rounds or do a few actions, then move on to something else. I don't think they're 'sticky' enough for a home console.

Second, I don't think there's a big audience that is willing to pay $300 for a console dedicated to this kind of game. Sure the iPad costs more than $300 but it does a lot more, too.

Third, the gaming market is constantly changing. Just ask Zynga. Making hardware devoted to playing a style of game that is in vogue today, but could be gone in a year, seems crazy.

So here's my speculation.

If Amazon is working on some kind of set-top box, it's going to be about streaming. Music, video, and games. Remember back in November when Amazon announced G2, a new AWS instance type designed for streaming GPU intensive tasks like games?

Combine Amazon's G2 cloud servers and an Amazon set top box for console-like game streaming, plus supporting Android and/or iOS games (possibly the latter would also be streamed), and of course support for Amazon Video and MP3, and we're getting closer to something that may be worth $300. I still think it would be a hard sell, but we're closer.

But a $300 box to play mobile games on your TV? Nope, no way that'll happen.

What do you think?

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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