Amazon buys video game studio Double Helix

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Amazon said on Thursday it was buying a California-based video game studio, fueling speculation that the online retail titan plans to release its own console for home entertainment.

Amazon did not disclose financial terms of the deal to acquire Southern California-based Double Helix Games, which was born of a merger between Shiny Entertainment and The Collective Inc.

"Amazon has acquired Double Helix as part of our ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers," a company spokeswoman said in an email reply to an AFP inquiry.

The studio's history dates back nearly two decades and it has created titles for play on major video game consoles as well as on personal computers.

"We have a track record for delivering high-profile projects based upon blockbuster franchises,' Double Helix said at it website.

The studio recently announced that it is making a Killer Instinct game for play on Microsoft's recently launched Xbox One consoles.

Speculation in gaming industry circles for several months has suggested that Amazon is preparing its own game console, possibly using the Google Android operating system.

Amazon separately Thursday rolled out 10 new pilot shows in the United States and Britain for its streaming video service.

Microsoft and Sony in November hit the market with new generation consoles, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 respectively, in a battle to be at the heart of digital home entertainment in the Internet Age.

Consoles have grown far beyond video games to offer arrays of films, television shows and other entertainment streamed over the Internet.

By adding a game maker to its studio for creating original television shows to air at its Prime service, Amazon is ramping up talk that it will weigh into living rooms with its own console tailored to showcase its content.

Microsoft and Sony both worked hard with blockbuster game makers to have titles ready to hit the market with the new consoles.

While much is made of rivalry between Microsoft and Sony the evolution of consoles into digital home entertainment systems means competition from devices such as Roku boxes or even Google's inexpensive Chromecast gadget for easily streaming Internet content to television screens.

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