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Why did Amazon acquire Double Helix Games?

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Sarah Perez of TechCrunch reports that Amazon has acquired Double Helix Games.

The Irvine, California-based company, founded in 2007 through the merger of two well-known game development shops, The Collective, Inc. and Shiny Entertainment, today employs 75 people who will now become Amazon employees and will continue to operate out of their Orange County home.

Double Helix’s game history includes the Xbox One reboot of Killer Instinct, Silent Hill: Homecoming and the upcoming Strider.

So what are Amazon up to?

There have been rumours of an Amazon set-top box/console for a while now. This makes sense: cheap set-top boxes will be the greatest threat to consoles’ dominance of living rooms gaming in the coming years.

“Cheap set-top boxes will be the greatest threat to consoles’ dominance”Playing games in your living room is an expensive proposition: you need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a console. This is why they’re not a ubiquitous household appliance – a global survey by Gartner in 2012 found that only 25% of households owned one.

Growth in the console business will come from addressing the 75% of households without a console. This won’t be through $400 boxes, but small set-top devices. This is the market that Amazon is likely eyeing up, along with other tech companies.

Apple is the most obvious of these. The Apple TV is already in the market and at $99, is affordable for many. Once a full developer SDK is available, it will open up a huge opportunity for App Store developers who want to expand their reach into the living room.

Amazon’s acquisition is another early warning sign for console manufactures: start planning to address non-consumption of videogames in the living room or the tech industry will do so instead.

The author of this fine article

is the Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in November 2000. Get in touch on Twitter @PhilipMorton.

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