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How Amazon is preparing game developers for its microconsole

It's one of the games industry's worst kept secrets that microconsoles are coming from big-name companies. Gamasutra has learned details about how game developers are being courted for Amazon's own device.
It's one of the game industry's worst-kept secrets that video game microconsoles are coming from multiple big-name companies in the near future. Gamasutra has today learned details about how game developers are being courted for Amazon's upcoming living room device. As we've heard rumored before, Amazon is working alongside Qualcomm to deliver a TV-centric, OTT set-top box that will offer the Amazon App Store through your television, allowing users to access Android games, video and music. According to a trusted source close to the project, the team behind the device is mainly talking to game developers in the U.S. at the moment, although it is also reaching out to a handful of other game developers in other parts of the world too. The idea is to pull in game developers to build as rich an ecosystem for the device as possible. The company is aiming high-end with its tech, and hopes this combination of sophisticated hardware and large developer base will be able to challenge Google's own similar device that is also on the way. This all-in-one device isn't the only goal, however. Amazon's long-term plan is to bring as many developers over to Amazon products as possible -- for example, the next Kindle will most likely also support game controllers, and act as an extension for the Amazon box.

How can game developers climb aboard?

Amazon has already been talking to game developers, although it has been tight-lipped when it comes to mentioning an actual device, instead sending out SDKs that do not specifically mention a box. Rather, the company has been telling developers that it would be a very good idea to add gamepad support to their games. Muffin Knight developer Angry Mob Games, for example, has received such a suggestion from the company. In other words, those developers who are interested in getting their Android games on the Amazon device should make sure to add gamepad support as soon as possible. Notably, most of the game developers that Gamasutra talked to regarding the Amazon device were keen to get their games on it, although one or two said they will be happier to take the "wait and see" approach. Shadowgun studio Madfinger even went a step further, noting that its Amazon App Store sales have been "quite low" to date, and that it will not be supporting Amazon anymore. Amazon will no doubt be looking to unveil and release its own game device before Google can get out of the gate, and is currently gunning for a Q4 2013 release -- our source expects the device to release pre-Christmas 2013, although they could not be sure of this. What's for certain is that the Android microconsole ecosystem is about to explode. With the Ouya, GameStick, Nvidia Shield, Google's upcoming device to contend with (even the non-Android PS Vita TV), the microconsole race is about to heat up in a big way -- and it can only be good news for game developers.

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