Looks like Amazon's set-top-box will do more than stream Amazon Prime and Netflix.
Amazon's rumored set-top box is back in the spotlight, this time thanks to Gamasutra, which claims that Amazon is approaching game developers to bring content to the unannounced device. The news follows the initial report from unnamed sources back in April claiming that the device will be based on the Kindle experience and stream the company's expanding video collection to connected HDTVs.
Earlier this year, sources said Amazon's set-top box, powered by Qualcomm hardware, would compete directly with similar products like Apple TV, the Boxee Cloud DVR, the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and others. That indicated an app-like environment offering other services like Netflix and Hulu Plus as a downloadable option. Amazon Instant Video, Amazon Cloud Player, the Silk browser, the Amazon Appstore and perhaps even Kindle would be integrated into the OS much like they are on the Kindle Fire tablets.
Unnamed sources told Gamasutra that the team behind the set-top-box is also talking to game developers mainly in the United States, and reaching out to a handful of developers spread out across the globe. The idea is to create a highly-rich gaming ecosystem based on what sources claim is high-end hardware to support those dreams. They claim that Google is working on a similar, high-end product too, hence Amazon's push for such a competitive product.
The unnamed sources said that Amazon's long-term gaming-focused plan extends beyond the set-top box, that the next set of Kindle tablets will support game controllers as well act as a "second screen" for the Amazon set-top box. Amazon is even providing game developers with an SDK although the company isn't specifically mentioning a dedicated box. Muffin Knight developer Angry Mob Games is reportedly one of the developers Amazon has approached.
Gamasutra reports that many developers are interested in bringing their Android games to the Amazon box, while others are taking a "wait and see" approach. Madfinger, the studio behind the Shadowgun series, is reportedly pulling is support for Amazon due to a lack of sales (Amazon seriously needs to take a hint from Google's UI design).
Amazon is reportedly shooting for a pre-Christmas release, thus the device will join other Android-based set-top boxes hitting the market or currently available like the OUYA, Nvidia's Shield hand-held, GameStick, the M.O.J.O., GamePop and Google's own rumored device. However unlike the listed competitors, Amazon may be looking for a more complete package than a gaming-focused device to back its videos services.
"They have a ton of content, an existing billing relationship with millions of users, an existing Android app marketplace that could be leveraged on the box, a reputation for solid hardware products and a terrific channel through which to promote the product," said Jason Krikorian, former co-founder of Sling Media and currently a general partner at venture capital form DCM.
The new Kindle products are expected to be revealed before the end of the month.