For years now, Amazon has not-so-subtly been introducing products to compete with established new-media institutions. “Forget Netflix, iTunes, and the iPad,” it says, “here’s Amazon Instant Video, the Amazon MP3 Store, and the Kindle!” However, one realm that has eluded its grasp so far is the video game industry. Amazon still must suffer the shame of selling Xboxes and PlayStations without offering a console of its own.
That might be changing soon, though, if The Verge is to be believed. The tech site has posted photos pulled from a Brazilian regulatory website that appear to show an Amazon-branded video game controller. Rumors have swirled for a while now that Amazon has been planning to release a box of some sort that you plug into your TV—allowing you to access its streaming service and whatnot without using any of the countless other devices that do that already. The Verge is confident that these leaked controller images prove Amazon is making those rumors reality with a box that is at least partly dedicated to playing games. After all, Amazon did just buy the game development studio Double Helix, which recently rebooted Killer Instinct for the Xbox One. If a company is making a game controller and owns video game developers, it’s not a huge leap to say that it’s also making a game console.
Amazon’s rumored move is reminiscent of another company, Valve, that recently showed interest in game consoles after ignoring them for a long time. Valve’s upcoming Steam Machines are a framework for console-like systems that let you play titles from Valve’s enormous PC game store on your TV. Another similarity between the two company’s projects is that the controller involved looks hideous. If these images do portend the release of an Amazon game console, hopefully someone will let them know that design aesthetics have evolved since the days of the original Xbox’s “Duke” monstrosity.