Amazon may be revving up its own Android game console

Sources tell Game Informer that the console could launch by the end of the year.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
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Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Amazon could dive into the video game arena with its own Android-based gaming console, according to the folks at Game Informer.

Citing information from sources with "knowledge of the in-development hardware," Game Informer said on Thursday that the console could reach consumers by the end of the year, mostly likely by Black Friday. The console would come with its own dedicated controller, say the sources, and would serve as a platform for the digital games already offered by Amazon through its Web site.

How likely is Amazon to cook up its own console? So far, this item seems stuck in the rumor stage. But other breadcrumbs have popped up.

A columnist for gaming blog site Kotaku tweeted that Amazon has been hiring gaming developers to shore up its game library. As one example, the company snagged the executive producer for Gears of War 3 and Quantum Break this past May, Kotaku reported. Of course, these developments point to more potential gaming titles on the way, not necessarily a gaming console.

A job recruiting event hosted by Amazon in May teased a revolutionary new product:

We are working on a new revolutionary V1 product that will allow us to deliver Digital Media to our customers in new ways and disrupt the current marketplace. We believe this new product will be even bigger than Kindle.

But the vague description doesn't indicate a game console per se. The Kotaku columnist speculated that it could be a Kindle phone or an Amazon set-top box.

In response to our request for comment on Game Informer's story, an Amazon spokesperson told CNET that Amazon doesn't comment on rumors and speculation.

Other companies, such as Ouya, have launched their own low-cost Android game consoles. But Amazon would certainly have a leg up over the competition. The retail giant already has a large consumer base to which it could target the console. And as Game Informer's sources said, Amazon has a full supply of Android games ready to hop onto such a console.

But Amazon reportedly does have loftier hardware goals beyond selling Kindles.

In May, sources told the Wall Street Journal that the retailer was developing a host of new gadgets, including two smartphones, an audio-streamer, and a set-top box. None of these are necessarily a done deal. The Journal's sources said that any of these devices could be shelved due to concerns over performance, money, or other factors.

Update, 9:50 a.m. PT: Adds response from Amazon.