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back to article Android console on the way? Amazon slurps gamehaus Double Helix

Amazon has bought a video games studio called Double Helix, fuelling rumours that it will soon release its own branded console. The High Street Herod has already done its bit to hobble the book and record shop sectors. Now it may have its sights on putting the boot into former console kings Nintendo, or even trying to nibble …

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jai
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Headmaster

console kings Nintendo

Yes, all of them.

My name is Nintendo, for we are legion!

(evidently proof-reading before publishing is a forgotten art in these days of the internet)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: console kings Nintendo

Its a way of referring to a business as the sum of the people it employs, kind of like a family or a team. You're not from around here, are you.

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jai
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Re: console kings Nintendo

like a family or a team

yes, but not like families or teams, yes?

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Re: console kings Nintendo

Obligatory Futurama reference:

"This isn't a business! I've always thought of it as more of a source of cheap labor, like a family."

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MJI
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Up against it

When you can buy a previous generation console for under £150, or just £150 more for a next generation console.

Actually for that £200 you could get a Wiii-U. Some good games on it as well.

Never been a better time to buy a PS3.

Hmm think of all those cheap AAA games.

Lots of people I know seem to be doing this. Non gamers, 360 owners, all picking up cheap PS3s

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Re: Up against it

> Actually for that £200 you could get a Wiii-U

That'd certainly be a talking point since nobody but you would have any idea what it was.

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Re: Up against it

To the down-voter, I assume @dogged's comment was not so much a dig against Nintendo as gently pointing out that @MJI mispelled the console's name (adding an extra 'i').

Or not, but I'd give him the benefit of the doubt.

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Re: Up against it

I suspect one of Apple's moves into a new category (Tim Cook didn't say they would be inventing a new category), will be the addition of app downloads to a new generation of Apple TV. The point is, though they only have accidental gaming brand credentials, due to supply chain economics, Apple are in a better position to deliver a Next Gen console at - wait for it - low cost, than just about anyone.

I wouldn't be surprised if they release a new Apple TV with a 64bit A8 chip and greatly enhanced GPU. They have the infrastructure and now have the experience of streaming-data and the data centre's to be able to ensure a compelling service is delivered. By doing away with the need for anything more than a network connected device with a local storage cache of flash memory, they can greatly reduce the device production cost as compared with other consoles. Apple have no problem is undercutting the price others can supply at, when their supply chain economies allows them to do so. In the case of an Apple TV streaming device, the cost of the device, requiring no display and only an HDMI output, simply is inherently low, allowing them to preserve their usual margins. I can imaging games will be either rented or purchased as you can currently either rent or purchase movies (though purchase movies don't live on the device). Also if the device is a pure low cost streaming device, no one will be approaching it with any expectation of game ownership or second hand-resale rights as cause a problem for the Xbox one launch. The model will simply be the existing App Store model which millions of customers already understand perfectly and accept for what it is. Many will scoff at the idea of Apple providing a category of device at lower cost, but actually they are perfectly prepared to do it when the device is in a new category and the BOM for how they are doing it is naturally low. So for example, they did this with the iPad when it first launched, which Steve Jobs boasted nobody would be able to match in price. Many were skeptical, but he was right. At first competitors could only get into the market by matching the price of the iPad and having zero margin or even adopting a loss leader model. That has changed now, but it provides illustration of where Apple have pulled a similar move before.

Bear in mind Apple have released a controller API for processing commands from games controllers connected via bluetooth. I can't help but think that is part of a larger move by Apple and I'm not sure using games controllers with iPhone or iPad alone was a big enough market for them to have released the API if that is all they had in mind.

What I don't expect, but what would be really interesting, is if they co-opted Nintendo to provide games and controllers for the new system. I could see this happening because Apple and Nintendo share some fundamental principles (such as focus on excellence in the experience rather than focus on the hardware specs). Of course Nintendo are now suffering because the dedicated games console market is not big enough for every player to get the scale for low enough cost of supply. Nintendo working with Apple, who do have the necessary scale, makes sense on many levels.

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WTF?

"Perhaps Amazon's Killer Instinct could be set to to wreck this cosy relationship."

Yes because it's impossible to buy an Android tablet on Amazon that competes with it's own

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Thumb Down

Yea...

Yea like that other killer Android console Ouya has even remotely dented the 3main ones.

Only thing it put a dent in was Nintendo's VC sales on their console.

I dunno it feels like the articles on the reg have been slipping as of late as some of them sound more far fetched then the stuff in the Onion.

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Why Android ? Wouldn't flogging a SteamBox make more sense, especially with their own store ?

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> Wouldn't flogging a SteamBox make more sense, especially with their own store ?

Yes, but there may be deals behind the scenes we don't know. Google is developing an Android-based console, and whether Amazon will go with that or join the SteamOS based consoles Valve & co are developing is currently anyone's guess. Personally I hope they go SteamOS but that's mainly because the Steamboxes undoubtedly will get more powerful hardware and be more like PC's than the thin gaming client Google is brewing.

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I just don't get it.

Outside of XBMC, Android as a "set top" OS is awful. You basically need to attach a USB wireless mouse to it because EVERY application responds to a remote control differently (if at all). Gaming? Sure you can get a PS3 controller working nicely with Android but...every damn game responds to the buttons differently...if at all.

Now XBMC + Yatse as a remote...that's awesome.

Oh and Shiny entertainment? Earthworm Jim was Doug TenNapel's baby. You know, the guy who created the Neverhood. Having Doug back making games would excite me...oooh wait, I see he's got a kickstarter for a new Neverhood game! Sign me the hell up!

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Meh

Hobble, nonsense?

The book and record shops were largely dinosaur (already hobbled) retail model, so it was easy for Amazon to clean up. Most of my books (especially fiction) are in electronic form now, from Kobo etc. /not/ Amazon (inferior locking), because paper books, and the book shelves to put them on, are far too bulky and heavy.

I refuse to buy any electronic media from Amazon because there is too much lock-in; physical stuff, fine, provided the price is right; but even they can uncompetitive or not have stuff some other retailers sell.

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Re: Hobble, nonsense?

All DRM'd e-books should be rented, not sold.

You walk in a bookstore and buy one, you own it. You go to the library and rent it, you rent it. Where on Earth can you buy a physical book for retail price, but not give it away? People like to argue license transfers for e-books, I admittedly loose because I never can find my licenses for the books on my shelves. Someone said once that my license was already in the book, that made me paranoid because how would the bookstore know to print my name in the book before I even decided to buy it?

DRM'd e-books should be no more than 5% of the retail price to rent for 90 days (yes, I pulled those numbers out of my ass). Non-DRM's e-books, well the sky is the limit, but don't expect "first edition" to have the same weight.

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Re: Hobble, nonsense?

Digital media brings a very real concern: unauthorised copying*.

In the end, it comes down to a conflict between the concerns of companies (to protect their revenue) and the rights and expectations of consumers.

While it is of course important to ensure that businesses have the necessary laws to protect their interests, in this case, those laws (such as DMCA) are protecting businesses at the expense of consumers and their rights.

As such, it is my opinion that where these two competing interests collide, the law should favour the consumer. Directly in this area, you cannot restrict the rights of all consumers due to what you believe some of them might (or even will) do.

Everything should, therefore, be 'transferable', and that includes licenses for digital media** and any such license that specified that it is 'non-transferable' would be in breach of consumer law.

You can argue that when you buy a license to read a copy of a published work you are not actually buying that work so the same rules don't apply, but then when you buy a ticket to see a movie at a cinema you are not actually buying the movie itself but yet you are fully able to transfer the ticket.

Likewise, you should not be able to restrict on what devices a legally-purchased copy/license is used, such as Amazon do with e-books purchased from their Kindle store. Any such restrictions should be considered in breach of consumer law where they are enforced by licensing terms and anti-competitive where enforced by technical means.

I find it decidedly disingenuous for these content providers to, on one hand, insist that digital media is not the same as physical media and thus the more restrictive licenses are warranted, and yet on the other hand insist that breach of those licenses is indentical to theft of a physical item.

The most disturbing (though unsurprising) part is that our politicians seem to agree with this faulty logic.

* - Sure, you can copy a physical book too, but it's a lot of effort and not without costs in time and money.

** - This includes 'rental' or similar concepts. If I rent a DVD from the local store on a 3-day hire, I can watch it and then give it to my brother to watch, before taking it back. Of course I am responsible for it so if he loses or damages the disc, I have to pay whatever penalties are involved.

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Nintendo may have missed a trick here. Consoles are effectively sold on the printer- ink / disposable razor business model. They lose money upfront and become profitable by taking a large licencing fee on each game and peripheral.

If Amazon play their cards right they could create a gaming ecosystem and using some sort of loss leader device and then get out of hardware side once a few other manufacturers are on board, or even do what Google do with nexus and keep the volumes low enough to not hurt profits and annoy partners but high enough to be able to set a benchmark.

Casual gaming has never been a bigger market but it is mostly now done with iPhones/pads and their android equivalents rather than Wii/ gameboy/ds or whatever they get named these days.

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Anonymous Coward

These small cloud based consoles are like fast food. You download small cheap unfulfilling games and they're gone in no time. If the cloud dies so do the old games.

The appeal of disc and cart machines is the collect-ability and the ability to revisit later on.

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Anonymous Coward

Android compatible.

What Amazon have isn't Android, it's a bastardised version of it, with less apps, dodgy security, and a vastly inferior app store.

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