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Rumor: Amazon preparing Chromecast-like device, may feature game streaming

According to a new report, Amazon's long rumored set-top box will actually feature a Chromecast-like dongle form factor, and will also offer full PC game streaming technology.
March 17, 2014
Chromecast Belkin Miracast AA-1

Last Friday we reported on an image of an Amazon-branded gaming controller, which many believed was designed to work with a long-rumored Amazon gaming/video set-top box. Now another rumor has popped up giving us a few more details on what to expect from such a set-top box.

According to a new report from TechCrunch, Amazon’s streaming device will actually be less of a box and more of a dongle or HDMI stick, like Google’s Chromecast — at least if the “multiple sources familiar with the device” prove correct. Aside from providing an easy-to-plug in dongle form factor, at least one of the sources suggests the Amazon device could also support streaming of full PC games.

The idea is that the Amazon streamer (and perhaps even Kindle tablets) could offer support for PC games and other graphics-intensive game formats by using streaming technology in a similar way to services like OnLive. In other words, the games would be maintained on remote servers as opposed to the local PC streaming that is offered by Nvidia’s Shield.

Could this work for Amazon?

While services like OnLive have struggled to make a dent in the gaming market, Amazon may be better positioned for such a move. For one thing, Amazon already has a massive server infrastructure that could easily handle the extra stress load that comes with cloud gaming. For another, Amazon could bundle the service into existing Amazon offerings like Amazon Prime in order to drive interest in the service.

While services like OnLive have struggled to make a dent in the PC streaming market, Amazon may be better positioned for such a move

It’s also worth noting that next-gen game consoles like the PS3 are starting to offer cloud streaming capabilities, so the time might simply be right for such a move. So how likely is the idea of an Amazon cloud gaming service? Considering the existence of an Amazon game controller and the company’s recent purchase of Double Helix (the developer’s of Xbox One’s Killer Instinct), it’s certainly possible.

If Amazon’s cloud gaming service could work with all Kindle Fire devices, an Amazon streaming device and partnering products (think select BluRay players, Roku, etc), such a service could potentially do very well. This is especially true if Amazon could provide at least a few “exclusive AAA titles” that you can’t get on PC or a console, something that OnLive has never be able to offer.

For now, we’d take the rumor of an Amazon cloud gaming service and an Amazon set-top box/dongle with a grain of salt, though anything is possible. What do you think, would you be interested in an Amazon cloud gaming service? If the rumor does prove true, can Amazon find success where other companies have struggled?