San Francisco: Amazon.com Inc. said on Thursday it was buying a California-based videogame studio, fuelling speculation that the online retail titan plans to release its own console for home entertainment.
“Amazon has acquired Double Helix as part of our ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers,” a company spokeswoman said in an email reply to an AFP inquiry.
The studio’s history dates back nearly two decades and it has created titles for play on major videogame consoles as well as on personal computers.
“We have a track record for delivering high-profile projects based upon blockbuster franchises,’ Double Helix said at it website.
Speculation in gaming industry circles for several months has suggested that Amazon is preparing its own game console, possibly using the Google Android operating system.
Amazon separately on Thursday rolled out 10 new pilot shows in the US and Britain for its streaming video service.
Microsoft and Sony Corp. in November hit the market with new generation consoles, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 respectively, in a battle to be at the heart of digital home entertainment in the Internet Age.
Consoles have grown far beyond videogames to offer arrays of films, television shows and other entertainment streamed over the Internet.
By adding a game maker to its studio for creating original television shows to air at its Prime service, Amazon is ramping up talk that it will weigh into living rooms with its own console tailored to showcase its content.
Microsoft and Sony both worked hard with blockbuster game makers to have titles ready to hit the market with the new consoles.
While much is made of rivalry between Microsoft and Sony the evolution of consoles into digital home entertainment systems means competition from devices such as Roku boxes or even Google’s inexpensive Chromecast gadget for easily streaming Internet content to television screens.