Amazon's game console reportedly still in development; will cost less than $300

Rumors of Amazon entering the game console wars began showing up online several months ago, but those reports claimed that the hardware would launch in late November 2013. Now a new report, via unnamed sources, claims that Amazon delayed the launch of their Android-based console at the last minute but that it will be released in 2014 and be sold for less than $300.

VG247.com claims that the console will also offer downloads and streaming of music and video content in addition to games, presumably from the retailer's own library of songs, movies and TV shows. Game publishers are being shown a pre-production unit of the console, according to the report, that's about the size of the PSOne redesign. The demo unit is grey in color, but with an oblong shape and sharp edges. The report points out that the final console could have a much different design.

If Amazon sells its own game console, it could put companies like Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo in an interesting position. All three sell their own game consoles and software on the retailer's website, but if Amazon offers customers its own hardware one or more of those companies could decide to pull their products off Amazon.com. Walmart and Target both decided not to sell Amazon's Kindle tablets on their websites and in their retail stores for that reason.

Source: VG247.com  | Amazon image via Shutterstock

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I doubt the buyers of this "console" would be the same people laying down $60 for the latest Mass Effect, etc. More likely this will be Android apps on your TV with some Amazon tweaks thrown in.

Maybe if it was $99-$149, was billed as a streaming device that could play games when paired with a Kindle or Android? I could see that. They'll really need content partners, IMO.

An advantage Amazon has (besides it's brand name) a device could be used to deliver their audio and video service, as well as games.

Having a device to augment your tv is the direction the future is going (until it's built in to the tv), you just have a lot of players trying to find what works.

Jason Stillion said,
An advantage Amazon has (besides it's brand name) a device could be used to deliver their audio and video service, as well as games.

Having a device to augment your tv is the direction the future is going (until it's built in to the tv), you just have a lot of players trying to find what works.

Also, Instant Video and original content might be advantages, too. I agree that the future is still wide open for screen-augmenting or alternative media consumption devices. I'm not sure a $300 box is it though, unless it has another compelling function (like great games).

As others have pointed out, the vast majority of phone/tablet games would blow as console games. Also, most successful console games are major productions with budgets that rival major motion pictures.

If I'm going to kill 5 or 10 minutes waiting for my dentist, that's one thing; if I'm going to set aside an hour of my evening to play games, I expect more.

Microsoft is in big trouble. If Amazon can get this done, this accelerates Google's development into the gaming industry even faster. If the Nintendo Wii taught us anything, it's that there is a market selling games to the masses and not just "the gamers" and that is what Android gaming is all about.

The tech market, powered by the Cloud, is evolving rapidly and successfully.

I can think of 3 reasons why this will succeed:

1. This is Jeff Bezos' vision.
2. Amazon has an ecosystem far superior to that of Microsoft
3. Android/Google under the hood.

I don't think that the price is going to be $300 for just a gaming console. I think Jeff Bezos is going to (practically) open an Amazon shop in everyone's home. A $200 kindle fire + $300 Amazon console....compare that to a $450 Surface 2 (less and inferior apps) + $500 console (+$60/yr Netflix & others).......a no-brainer, what the masses are gong to choose.

I am excited to see what come of this....after all, it's Bezos' vision.

$300 is crazy. Unless the console dual boots linux when used for gaming then using games created for android will be horrible. I have a feeling this will flop big time. If it was $150 then it may be a decent prospect with an nvidia tegra k1 chip but $300 with likely an amd apu and android isn't going to appeal to casual or hardcore gamers.

Adopt some PLEX like features, drop the price to $199 and make this thing actually work well with all media including Amazon's content, it might have a shot. If it just plays games and streams your Amazon content it's done.

My new TV has an "Amazon app" that is so clumsy we just don't use it, even on a browser it's kind of a chore dealing with Amazon content.

Labeling as a game console is a bad idea.. and I doubt they will.. This will most likely just be a kindle for tv.. stream amazon movies and music and play some android games..

Tager said,
you can go to a local shop and pick up a console, same day. Can you do that with Amazon?

It's not the delivery but the shipping that counts!

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
I recall this being said about Playstation and Xbox in the past.

Comparing a micro-console/Android console to Xbox or PlayStation is rather offensive to Xbox/PS imo

LOL android consoles are pathetic this has to be at least $100/$150 to be a little bit successful an why are amazon making is beyond me we all know micro consoles are ****

I bought my 500GB PS3 console for $199 in 2012. How amazon will be able to compete with even a PS3? Don't get me wrong, i like competition but the PS3 offer blu-ray drive, more better quality games, 1080p and music unlimited... Can amazon do better?

When the PS3 was launched, it was over priced and sold poorly; blu ray was brand new technology and not widely adopted and there were very few games..

Today 500 GB is pointless - everything needs to be in the cloud and accessible anywhere via internet; everyone is streaming video/audio and no longer using Disk based media; Android supports 1080p; Amazon has its own Music and Video Service that is much more popular than Sony's.

It takes 3-4 years to make quality games for Playstation and the games end up costing 60$ at launch. There is a market for smaller games that cost less than 15$ at launch but have shorter development times and support indie developers better. So if there are 50 new games for playstation in a year; there can be 50,000 new games for the amazon console each year and downloaded by 50 Million Users using the App Store in minutes.

raghavny80 said,
everyone is streaming video/audio and no longer using Disk based media.

who is this everyone you speak of?
*Looks at his dvd/bluray collection*

raghavny80 said,
When the PS3 was launched, it was over priced and sold poorly; blu ray was brand new technology and not widely adopted and there were very few games..

I could be wrong but I think the OP is asking how Amazon is going to compete with the PS3 NOW, how much the PS3 cost or how well is sold way back at its launch is irrelevant. If you have < $300 to buy a console are you going to buy an Amazon one that runs touch oriented android games or a PS3 with it's huge back library and top tier new games coming out. It's not like the PS3 isn't perfectly capable of streaming, it's the number one netflix device and Amazon Prime works just fine on it.
raghavny80 said,

Today 500 GB is pointless - everything needs to be in the cloud and accessible anywhere via internet; everyone is streaming video/audio and no longer using Disk based media; Android supports 1080p; Amazon has its own Music and Video Service that is much more popular than Sony's.

Everyone is NOT streaming video. Disk based media sells just fine. Microsoft took one heck of a hit for making a similar ignorant assumption. Yes, streaming is on the rise but it's not even close to being what "everyone" is doing. I for example get better quality movies for cheaper by renting Blu-Ray movies at Redbox about once a week. I know I'm not alone because there are often lines at the Redbox machines. Blu-Ray video quality is noticeably better than Netflix or Amazon Primes 1080p video. I still have Amazon Prime because of the shipping and other perks (the streaming is just bonus) but we RARELY use it because Blu-Ray just looks so much better, we ditched Netflix after the trial. It's not a bandwidth issue either as I have FiOS streaming just isn't as good and it's expensive (for us, if we watched more than 5 movies a month I think it becomes cheaper at that point but we watch about a movie a week on "movie night" and that's it). As for Amazon's Video service you are aware that it works just fine on a PS3 right? It's not like you need an Amazon console to use it or that Sony restricts you to their services when using a PlayStation.
raghavny80 said,

It takes 3-4 years to make quality games for PlayStation and the games end up costing 60$ at launch. There is a market for smaller games that cost less than 15$ at launch but have shorter development times and support indie developers better. So if there are 50 new games for playstation in a year; there can be 50,000 new games for the amazon console each year and downloaded by 50 Million Users using the App Store in minutes.

It takes 3-4 years to make quality games for any platform. The PS3 has been out long enough that there are many of them though and many sell for well under $60. Playstation Network games often cost less then $15 and Sony has been getting quite a bit of praise for their indy support so again none of this is an advantage to an Amazon console. PSN games can be developed quickly and downloaded from the PlayStation Store in minutes.

Not to be Sony specific most of this stuff is true too with the Xbox 360 as well. The only caveat being that there is a pay wall for streaming services on the Xbox that doesn't exist on the PS3.

raghavny80 said,
When the PS3 was launched, it was over priced and sold poorly; blu ray was brand new technology and not widely adopted and there were very few games..

Today 500 GB is pointless - everything needs to be in the cloud and accessible anywhere via internet; everyone is streaming video/audio and no longer using Disk based media; Android supports 1080p; Amazon has its own Music and Video Service that is much more popular than Sony's.

It takes 3-4 years to make quality games for Playstation and the games end up costing 60$ at launch. There is a market for smaller games that cost less than 15$ at launch but have shorter development times and support indie developers better. So if there are 50 new games for playstation in a year; there can be 50,000 new games for the amazon console each year and downloaded by 50 Million Users using the App Store in minutes.

Ouya tried this, with a $99 dollar android console, and failed. Nvidia has also tried, with a $300 handheld console that can stream to the TV) and so far their efforts have been waste. I'm sorry, but there's no place for a console that will only play android games in the current market..

I sure wish my phone and tablet had 500GB. Saying that having a large amount of storage is pointless makes you really clueless. There are plenty of games I would try out on my phone but having to install a gig for 1 game makes it impossible, Think a little bit before you post stuff. You sound like an ignoramus.

@blackjezuz : Storage is needed, just not at the User's end. Your storage will be in the cloud. Gaikai and Onlive have already demonstrated streaming games. XBOX 360 sold extremely well with just 4 GB Memory (in the basic console).The latest Macbook Air comes with only 128 GB of memory. Btw if there were enough buyers for a 500 GB Phone / Tablet, the market would have created options.

@Asmodai : I have owned a 250 GB PS3 since 2008 and am a Playstation fanboy. I am not attacking Sony at all. And yes, I rent Blu Rays from Redbox too. Whether we like it or not; Digital Distribution is the future and Physical Media for Audio/Video are not.

@sviola : Yes, There is no place for a console that will only play android games in the current market. Today's android games are in poor shape. But what about the market of the future? There was no market for Tablets a few years back; today everyone wants an iPad. How about Amazon working to create a totally new market for light gaming consoles that has never existed before?

The problem is android games are, well android games.

They're designed to be used with a touch interface and the majority of them are time sinks designed for a few minutes play on devices that you've pretty much got with you most of the time anyway.

I don't see how this would translate to a useable console, assuming they're trying to use the TV set with a control pad. For $300, there are much better devices to be had and within a year, we'll see android out pace what ever Amazon puts up there making it nothing more then an expensive, yet worthless purchase.

We could all be surprised, and they get a great SDK/API set out there that developers finally latch onto to provide a joypad system for games that translates into every android device getting feature games... But then, they'd be in the same position now, with most android tablets having some kind of way to connect to a TV already.

They are like this because ... well they are made for hardware like this. But the platform has the potential for more with the right hardware. I think the hardcore gamers crowd underestimate the indie market a lot. The indie market is growing and most of the indie games like Don't Starve or Starbound can be made for Android easily with the proper hardware.

I'm myself an hardcore gamer but the last 2 years half my time has been spent playing indie games. Most of them can run on Android on a 200$ console without any problem.

"Android-based" does not necessarily mean full "Android". At the core of Android is Linux, which has any capability of a PC. So making it controllable with a controller is easy for any developer.

It's just a matter of them doing this properly.

Voice of Buddy Christ said,
"Android-based" does not necessarily mean full "Android". At the core of Android is Linux, which has any capability of a PC. So making it controllable with a controller is easy for any developer.

It's just a matter of them doing this properly.

So.. how do you translate swipe to a gamepad? And how will you map gamepad keys to a screen button which is a callback for a click/tap at XY? You would have to go through each game and map keys to specific screen coordinates and save that in a profile database.

And yes, it's probably not full Android. Like with Kindle, it's probably a fork. Linux doesn't solve anything here. And Android doesn't use stock Linux - it's heavily modified... no gnu tools, no glibc, etc.

Of course, this would all be fixed if the game is "ported" to the amazon platform