Wheelings & Dealings: Amazon's Gaming Ambitions Get Clearer with Double Helix Games Pick

By Steve Anderson February 06, 2014

Amazon's ambitions regarding gaming seem to go well beyond selling titles for various PC and console platforms, and we got the first stirrings of those ambitions with recent reports pointing toward Amazon plans to bring out a gaming console to take on the under-$300 gaming market, as well as potentially add a new vector for movies, music and similar content. But some might have been wondering just where the games would come from to make such a device worthwhile, and that particular hand seems to have been tipped with news of Amazon acquiring Double Helix Games.

Double Helix Games came around as the result of a merger between The Collective, Inc. and Shiny Entertainment, and under the terms of the deal—though the actual numbers involved in the deal weren't disclosed—the employees of same are now part of Amazon, though the 75 people employed with Double Helix Games will still work out of Orange County. The deal was also reportedly not only for the talent involved, but for any intellectual property that Double Helix had in its portfolio.

Double Helix Games' portfolio is more substantial than some might think, with games like “Earthworm  Jim” and “Enter the Matrix” coming in from the Shiny Entertainment side and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb” arriving from The Collective. Meanwhile, Double Helix handled games like “Front Mission Evolved” and “Silent Hill: Homecoming,” making it a pretty compelling talent in its own right.

Sad news, however, for those looking forward to upcoming Double Helix Games titles like “Dirty Harry” and “Harker,” as at last report those are no longer expected to reach consoles. However, Amazon reports that Double Helix's current line, as well as future developments, are set to be supported even after Amazon takes over, so those two may well see light elsewhere.

The first place that those may see light, however, is on the Amazon console. We recently heard about this one, and one of the first questions that had to be asked was just where the games were going to come from to drive such a device. Some suggested that this was to be an Android console, a development that would likely have left plenty of gamers cold, especially given the fact that Android consoles like the Ouya and the Gamestick hadn't exactly been doing well in the past. But with Double Helix Games on hand, that changes the prospect considerably. This is a company that's been seen doing quite a few exciting things in gaming even just recently: just try a little thing called the revival of “Killer Instinct,” for one. If Amazon's game console has sufficient power in those Snapdragon processors to put on the kind of show that Double Helix is capable of—personally, I thought “Silent Hill: Homecoming” was one of the best Silent Hills of the last 10 years, alongside “Silent Hill: Downpour”--then Amazon may well have a very compelling offering in the works.

Only time will tell just what kind of gaming hay Amazon can make while the Double Helix sun shines, but this could be a real game-changer, so to speak, as far as the market goes. A new console option with Amazon content ecosystem delivery powered by top-end games? Now that's something that might even draw long-term fans of the big three systems away.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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