Amazon buys 'Killer Instinct' developer Double Helix, foreshadowing its first console

Amazon has purchased "Killer Instinct" developer Double Helix, possibly foreshadowing the company's long-rumored plans to release a gaming console.

The news, which was first broken by TechCrunch and later confirmed by Amazon, follows nearly a year of rumors that Amazon will release its own gaming console to take on Microsoft and Sony. A report surfaced last week that Amazon was planning on releasing the console sometime this year for less than $300. The report claims the console will be based on a modified version of Android, similar to the company's Kindle Fire tablets.

Amazon has bought several mobile game development studios in the past year, hinting that the rumors may have some validity to them.

As for the future of "Killer Instinct," Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Studios, responded to fan questions on Twitter by saying development will continue with Microsoft's own internal team. Rare, creator of the franchise, is also still owned by Microsoft, though it's currently working on "Kinect Sports Rivals" and undisclosed games.

The phrasing of Spencer's tweet implies Microsoft was given advance notice of the sale, which could mean it's already been working on its transition plan for some time. Microsoft had to make a similar transition on its PC game "Age of Empires Online," which began development at Robot Entertainment and later moved to Gas Powered Games.

Thanks for the tip, kaotic!

Source: TechCrunch | Image via Microsoft

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The dev team won't own the IP.
If it was their own IP like Epic had with Gears and Bungie with Halo. Then it would have been a different matter.

Lingwo said,
The dev team won't own the IP.
If it was their own IP like Epic had with Gears and Bungie with Halo. Then it would have been a different matter.

Yeah, that's why I asked. I don't know Double Helix very well, so I didn't know if they owned any IP. I'm not sure what the benefit is of purchasing a development team that doesn't own any IP... That's what Amazon would need to compete...

Could Amazon's first console bring android into the mainstream gaming market? or will it just turn out to be another android micro console that runs indies?

Lingwo said,
Could Amazon's first console bring android into the mainstream gaming market? or will it just turn out to be another android micro console that runs indies?

It'll be interesting, but given that the rumors are saying "less than $300" instead of "less than $200," my guess is that it'll be far more powerful than the Ouya, but still significantly less powerful than current-generation consoles. My assumption is it'll be closer to an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 in power, perhaps even slightly more powerful, if these rumors pan out. (Again, this is entirely my speculation.)

well, android as it is completely hopeless to be the software foundation of a high end gamer console - there is no good sdk, dalvik cant run anything more complex than tetris without idiotic hardware requirements, no hardware optimization security is crap and so on

if you want something that can get google play adware to your big screen you can have an android console; if you want to compete with xbox, playstation or even nintendo you'll need something actually good for something

and of course only an officially unnamed number of google play apps can do tablet resolution and scaling and exactly NONE that can handle a tv

morden said,

and of course only an officially unnamed number of google play apps can do tablet resolution and scaling and exactly NONE that can handle a tv

Most tablets these days are 1080p ...

Interesting points. Maybe they might go the Valve route and create a Linux box.
If they're going to keep the price down they'll have to go one of these routes i think.

LaP said,

Most tablets these days are 1080p ...

and not at all most android apps can handle tablet res or scale; with television they'll have the problem of content placement and navigation: it's not nearly the same to look at a 10-or stg inch screen and find your content/navigate and doing the same on a 40+ bigscreen

but there is nothing to argue about, microsoft store and itunes store report the exact number of applications _made_ for tablet use (and these applications are guaranteed to be designed for that use) while google doesn't even say approximates; not to be surprised, play store is a garbage pile compared to the others, the diversity of android devices' screen type, size and res means an app either must be designed like a dozen different ways or there WILL BE devices or situations when it won't work (at least won't work properly, productively, enjoyably etc.)

morden said,
well, android as it is completely hopeless to be the software foundation of a high end gamer console - there is no good sdk

The Android SDK's are top notch. Please elaborate as to why you think "there is no good sdk".

morden said,

dalvik cant run anything more complex than tetris without idiotic hardware requirements

You obviously no nothing about Android. The NDK allows for the running of native, fully optimised code.

morden said,

no hardware optimization security is crap and so on

Android itself, provided it's compiled correctly, and the drivers are in place is fully hardware optimised. Software and games running OpenGL should interface with the driver, which is hardware optimised.

There's nothing inherently bad about Android security. It could use more fine grained app permissions control, but apart from that it's good. The App Stores are a another matter. But if you stick to Play and Amazon's stores and read the reviews before installing you should be fine. It's certainly better than the malware infested Windows OS.

morden said,

if you want something that can get google play adware to your big screen you can have an android console;

So WIndows Phones apps don't contain adverts? You get what you pay for. If you want free stuff, expect adverts.

morden said,

if you want to compete with xbox, playstation or even nintendo you'll need something actually good for something

The Wii proved that a machine doesn't need to be all powerful to lure consumers. And Microsoft and Sony both scrambled to emulate it with Kinect and Move respectively.

I'm looking forward to the competition Valve's Steam Machines and Amazon's offering can bring to the table. The big three hegemony of consoles needs to be broken up.

morden said,

and of course only an officially unnamed number of google play apps can do tablet resolution and scaling and exactly NONE that can handle a tv

The API's and standards are all in place. It's up to the develops to make use of them. As tablets and larger resolution devices become more popular, develops will be forced to adapt.

I'm hoping we could get about 4 solid companies in the console market. I love when competition brings down prices and forces companies to compete for my dollar.

nickcruz said,
Yet you still buy anything Apple.
I buy anything that I feel might serve a purpose in my life regardless of manufacturer or price.

really? do you think that the Iphone is superior quality to Nokia and Samsung phones? A good number of the Iphones that I see have "shattered glass". Without a case the Iphone is too much of a risk.

A friend replaced her hard drive on her mac book pro. Then when she sync her Ipad to it it told her something along the lines "this Ipad is already synced to another computer". She visited the Apple store and basically they told her that she had to "clean" the Ipad and start over. Empirical data but hey..

Strange when i replaced my hard drive in my windows computer i did not have such problem with my ipod. I did remember getting the message "the ipod is synced to another compter" but it was really easy and obvious what needed to be done to sync it with my new installation of windows without losing anything.

red hook said,
really? do you think that the Iphone is superior quality to Nokia and Samsung phones? A good number of the Iphones that I see have "shattered glass". Without a case the Iphone is too much of a risk.

A friend replaced her hard drive on her mac book pro. Then when she sync her Ipad to it it told her something along the lines "this Ipad is already synced to another computer". She visited the Apple store and basically they told her that she had to "clean" the Ipad and start over. Empirical data but hey..

Dude the mobile situations are the same on both OS's. Don't try to throw that in specifically.