Is Amazon creating an Android game console?

Today in Open Source: Amazon is heavily promoting Android game development. Plus: Is Amazon working on an Android game console? And Amazon is recruiting for a secret project

By , ITworld |  Open Source

Amazon and Android game development
Venture Beat is reporting that Amazon is putting a lot of resources into Android game development.

Amazon won’t say if it will be making an Android-based gaming device beyond its Kindle tablets. But it is certainly pushing hard to create tools for game developers so that they can be successful on the company’s various app platforms.

At the recent 2014 International CES, the company rolled out a redesigned portal for app and game developers. Aaron Rubenson, director of the Amazon Appstore for Android and Kindle Fire, told GamesBeat in an interview that the company continues to invest heavily in tools that developers can use to publish their Android games and promote them on its platform.

More at Venture Beat

Games for Kindle Fire Tablets

Kindle Fire Games at Amazon

Android game developers are no doubt very happy about Amazon promoting game development on its tablets. One of the big knocks about Android is that some people think Android users are less likely to purchase games and other apps than their iOS counterparts.

But Amazon's customers are used to paying for content and already have accounts established with the company. So they are arguably much more likely to pay for an Android game than other users that are outside the Amazon ecosystem.

This is a very good thing for Android game developers, and it might help encourage more developers to produce high quality games (and other apps) for the Android platform. Amazon is certainly acting in its own interest, but in doing so it is also helping to shore up and promote the Android platform as a whole

Is Amazon working on an Android game console?
The article above also had a link to another article from back in August that contained rumors of an Android-based gaming console from Amazon.

GamesBeat has also independently heard rumblings of an Amazon game console. One developer told us that Amazon showed off a version of the system recently and that Amazon is seeking content, particularly casual games, to run on the device.

Amazon is known to have a number of top-secret projects under way. Another one that has been long rumored is an Android-based smartphone. But the company hasn’t announced such a device yet. We really don’t know if Amazon is going to pull the trigger and release either a phone or a gaming console.

More at Venture Beat

We're past the holidays so clearly the article above was early in speculating that an Android-based Amazon console would be released by then. But this doesn't mean that Amazon isn't cooking up something in the background.

If they do one I suspect that their model will be the Apple TV. Amazon had no problems following in Apple's footsteps by releasing the Kindle Fire tablets, which certainly owe a lot to Apple's iPad. So it makes sense for Amazon to emulate the Apple TV, but with an emphasis on gaming (an area that Apple has lagged far behind in on the TV).

Amazon is a very smart company so I wouldn't put it past them to do a videogame console as well as a phone. Why not? They have a built in customer base of millions of people, and each device they sell brings more and more people into their content ecosystem.

Amazon's secret project?
It's not just Venture Beat speculating about this. TechnoBuffalo had an article that noted Amazon is planning something "bigger than the Kindle."

An exclusive invitation obtained by The Boston Globe for a recruiting event this month in Cambridge, MA reveals plans for a new secret project that will put the retailer’s line of Kindle tablets and e-readers to shame.

The invitation doesn’t reveal much, but does plenty to hype the secret project as Amazon’s next big product. All we know is that it will be used to “deliver Digital Media” in a unique way, potentially disrupting the entertainment industry. The project is also part of the company’s Kindle New Initiatives department, meaning it likely has some connection to that line of devices.

More at TechnoBuffalo

My guess is that we'll see some sort of set top box for the TV as well as an Amazon phone. There's just too much money at stake for Amazon not to enter both product categories with guns blazing.

I don't think Apple has anything to worry about though since the company plays in the high-end of the market for the most part, while Amazon tends more toward the lower end. But other Android phone makers had better watch out if Amazon releases a phone.

The same goes for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo if Amazon enters the videogame console market, all three companies could find themselves being seriously undercut by a cheaper but still entertaining Android-based console from Amazon.

Amazon is clearly up to quite a lot behind the scenes right now, the company's ambitions know no bounds. But it seems that we'll have to wait a while longer to find out all the details about their secret projects.

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

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