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Games Hardware

Amazon's Double-Helix Acquisition Hints At Gaming Console 116

Posted by timothy
from the networks-need-nodes dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "A more prominent role in video-game development could prove the latest territory on Amazon's 'attempt to conquer' list. Yes, there's already Amazon Game Studios, which produces smaller games such as Air Patriots (a tower-defense title), but that evidently wasn't enough — Amazon has acquired Double Helix, most notably the developer behind Killer Instinct and other big-action games for PCs and consoles. Amazon confirmed the deal to multiple media outlets, suggesting that it would use Double Helix's developers and intellectual property 'as part of our ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers.' Why would Amazon want to bulk out its game-creation abilities? Rumors have floated for the past couple weeks (hat tip to Gamespot) that the company is hard at work on an Android-based gaming console that will retail for below $300. Over the past year, it's also hired gaming luminaries such as Halo author Eric Nylund, which it probably wouldn't have done without something big — or at least interesting — in the works. Amazon would doubtlessly position such a device (if it actually becomes a reality) as the low-cost alternative to Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4. But even the cheapest console won't sell without some killer games to attract customers — and that's where Double Helix might come in. ... With Nintendo flagging, there's potentially an opening for a third console ecosystem to take hold."
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Amazon's Double-Helix Acquisition Hints At Gaming Console

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  • So, about Beta (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Fuck it

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dmbasso (1052166)

      <blink>FUCK BETA</blink>

      Where's the blink tag when we need it...

      For those building slashdot alternatives, I suggest the name "backlashdot".
      No slash in the name, but the logo can be \.

      • Actually, Slashdot alternatives should avoid having a name too closely tied to "Slashdot", so as to avoid trademark disputes down the road.

        In fact, Slashdot has actually used the "backslash" brand. If I recall correctly, the original idea was for that site-section to house various 'about slashdot' material, but currently there seems to be nothing there [slashdot.org]. The tag "Slashback [slashdot.org]" has also been used on Slashdot and so should be avoided.

        FYI, there is burgoning effort to build a replacement at AltSlashdot.org [altslashdot.org]
        • by dmbasso (1052166)

          In fact, Slashdot has actually used the "backslash" brand.

          Note that I said "backlash" (appropriate for the context) instead of "backslash".

          FYI, there is burgoning effort to build a replacement at AltSlashdot.org [altslashdot.org] (final name pending a community vote). If you're interested in having a replacement exist, then consider contributing to one of these efforts.

          Yep, I'm aware. Feel free to add my suggestion there.

      • by Guppy (12314)

        For those building slashdot alternatives

        Might I remind my fellow posters, that the last time a mass user-base fork occurred, we ended up with Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org]?

        Ewww...

      • Do be aware that some similar sites may already exist, or in the case of technocrat.net, have already existed.

  • by 2phar (137027) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:02AM (#46174399)
    "Slashdot Media was acquired to provide content and services that are important to technology professionals in their everyday work lives and to leverage that reach into the global technology community benefiting user engagement on the Dice.com site. The expected benefits have started to be realized at Dice.com. However, advertising revenue has declined over the past year and there is no improvement expected in the future financial performance of Slashdot Media's underlying advertising business. Therefore, $7.2 million of intangible assets and $6.3 million of goodwill related to Slashdot Media were reduced to zero." [twst.com]
    • Original story link (Score:4, Informative)

      by 2phar (137027) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:05AM (#46174441)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dmbasso (1052166)

      So instead of turning off the lights, they're burning down the house?

      • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:12AM (#46174545)

        My guess is it's a combination of:

        1. Belief that the current Slashdot will provide declining and not that meaningful revenue in the future; and

        2. Gamble that the "Slashdot brand" can be resurrected as a vaguely tech-oriented blog/news site positioned as something more like Valleywag or Gawker.

        The problem seems to be that category #2 is making a ton more money than Slashdot at the moment, so a redesign to look like those shitty sites, even if a gamble, might have positive expected returns. Even if it alienates the existing community, if the existing community just isn't making them much money, some bean-counters might not care about razing it and just repurposing the Slashdot brand for something else.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by OzPeter (195038)

          1. Belief that the current Slashdot will provide declining and not that meaningful revenue in the future; and

          Well its a big question as to whether slashdot is worth more $$$ to Dice Holdings as a success or as a failure. Wiping that $13 or so million off the books will have an effect on their end of year financials

        • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @01:12PM (#46175961)
          This is probably right. We are all looking at the beta redesign as an obvious failure. But the people in power may well believe that overall the loss of the community of commenters will be "worth it" to transform the site into a higher-traffic (and thus higher-profit) news aggregator. On some level this makes sense: the active community of Slashdot commentors is far smaller than the size of the people who just visit the site. So if one can piss off the commentors but increase web traffic overall, then it's worth it.

          The problem with this logic is that all of those visitors only come to the site to read (if not engage in) the commenting that goes on. Really the (relatively high-quality) comments are the only thing that differentiate Slashdot from any other website. Once you make commenting/discussion more cumbersome, it will go away, and all you will be left with is the Slashdot "brand". But does that brand really have any weight? It only does with the small community of tech-enthusiasts that you just drove away from your site. It's not like the average person is going to see a "friendlier jazzier Slashdot" and immediately think "Wow, finally a Slashdot I can enjoy!".

          If you look into the financial details, it appears [prnewswire.com] that Dice considers Slashdot a loser:

          ... advertising revenue has declined over the past year and there is no improvement expected in the future financial performance of Slashdot.

          Note that this isn't saying that Slashdot's ad revenue isn't enough to pay for operating Slashdot; merely saying that the ad revenue is falling with time. They are no doubt desperate to increase profits. It's actually quite possible that Slashdot's ad revenue is undervalued (because it isn't taking into account that many Slashdot users hold key positions where they influence what tech is purchased by companies, friends come to them for tech advice, etc.). But overall the idea that they can increase ad revenue by revamping the entire site is a bad gamble: the community will disappear in a flash, and ad revenue will drop to zero.

          Ultimately, Dice management appears willing to take the gamble. It is one they will most likely lose, and we will lose Slashdot in the process. But they won't care much, since Slashdot as-is just isn't pulling in that much money. It's a sad reality that even a community as big and stable as Slashdot (generating constant ad revenue) is still too small/niche to satisfy their money-lost. Our last hope may lie in efforts to build a new site that we can migrate to (e.g. AltSlashdot.org [altslashdot.org]).

          • by JWW (79176)

            If /. dies, for me, it will mark the end of an era.

            I don't participate massively in comments here, but there is no other site where the level of my commenting even comes close to here.

            Also, there is IMHO no other site where the comments aren't immensely crappy in comparison to this site.

            If the beta goes through, its the end of an era. Youtube style web commenting will have won.

          • by Trepidity (597)

            It's a sad reality that even a community as big and stable as Slashdot (generating constant ad revenue) is still too small/niche to satisfy their money-lost.

            Kind of a pitfall of the corporate ownership structure I guess. It's interesting to compare Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org], which once had considerable community overlap with Slashdot, but more or less withered until the point where good new content completely stopped appearing. Yet oddly from a purely formal perspective the site actually works, its archives are readable, an

          • by Githaron (2462596)
            The relatively high quality comments/discussion are definitely the reason why I visit Slashdot. I actually find myself irritated when I go to a news site and either find crappy comments or worse, no commenting system at all.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by LordLimecat (1103839)

          Half of the existing community is vocally ignorant of most of the things they post on.

          Its very possible that the existing community ISNT that valuable. For every truly insightful post out there, there are 5 ignorant posts that were modded insightful. Many of them are factually wrong, and some reek of idealism (like the folks who worship communism and praise Cuba's government or wonder why we need a 5th amendment), but most are just hysterical off-topic comments on whatever the news-of-the-month is (see:

          • Many of them are factually wrong, and some reek of idealism (like the folks who worship communism and praise Cuba's government

            By making this comment, are you not guilty of this yourself? Is there something inherently wrong with a state's population owning the means of production, or are you simply parroting a talking point from the cold war era? Are you being totally honest when you're critical of Castro's government without mentioning how it served most Cuban people better the Batista government it replaced? Or is it only idealism when "they" are the ones adhering to it?

            Oh, and fuck beta.

            • Is there something inherently wrong with a state's population owning the means of production, or are you simply parroting a talking point from the cold war era

              It has failed and continues to fail everywhere its tried. China is only on the rise because they abandoned communism as an economic system. That just leaves a few terribly poor countries, I guess. Its idealism because the only people not praising communism online are the people in communist countries, because theyre too poor / cut off from the outside world to do so.

              I suggest you look up a list of currently existing and former communist states, and let me know how theyre doing currently-- no need to hea

              • It has failed and continues to fail everywhere its tried.

                Show me one country that actually tried communism, where the means of production were owned by the people. Not a shithole under the yoke of some dictator or despot with "socialist" or "communist" in its official name. We don't use "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" or "Democratic Republic of the Congo" as examples of democratic republics because, well, there's more to it than just a name. The same holds for the SSRs, which were never even close to implementing anything that would be better described as

                • You'd be right to say I'm committing the "No True Scotsman" fallacy, except that my definition for communism is consistent and static

                  The real issue is that the pure communism youre suggesting has never been tried because it is not possible to do so in practice.

                  Lets flip it around: Show me one country that has tried to be communist and succeeded. Ive shown you several that tried to be communist, failed to be communist, and then utterly failed as a result of their attempt.

                  How many times do you need to see it attempted before you say "yea, its not working"?

                  Vietnam is piss poor in actual economic terms. Growing 200% when you per-capita GD

                  • You claim that Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot tried to implement communism, that they gave it a shot. What evidence do you have of this claim, other than the proclamations of these despots themselves? Did they take any actions that could inarguably be seen as efforts to provide the population with ownership of the means of production?

                    My claim is that no, they didn't try to implement communism. Sure, they said they were trying. But they weren't. What they were doing was trying to subdue the increasingly angry co
                    • That's not communism, and we both know that.

                      Its what every attempt at communism ALWAYS ends up as. You can cry that they werent sincere attempts all day long, I just wonder how many times youll allow the leaders of a revolution to give it a shot. Who knows, maybe youll get lucky some day.

                      Till then, no thanks, I like my country run without the mass killings, political repression, and widespread poverty.

                    • Its what every attempt at communism ALWAYS ends up as.

                      You've got that backwards. Would you consider for a minute that it's possible that it is not communism that ends up as despotism, but that communism is what every reach for despotism is disguised as? That this is likely due to the populist appeal of communism? You won't see a despot rise to power promising heavy yokes and starvation for the proles. It just doesn't have the same ring as communism. Can you think of a platform with greater populist appeal than communism? Would it not makes sense, then, that as

                    • To sum it up, it has never in history actually occurred to anyone from Cuba to Russia to China to Vietnam to Cambodia to NK to actually try to implement Communism. Instead, from the get-go, the people's revolutions were actually headed up by Stalin (for example), hiding in the background waiting to grab power.

                      Thats an interesting take on history, but its

                      However, in the context of claimed ignorance, I'd have to ask if you have any unique qualifications regarding this subject.

                      Not unique, not that anyone who's taken history wouldnt have. Id ask whether you have any that the majority of history teachers / poly sci academics lack,

    • I was wondering why they were trying so hard to make this site an unusable mess.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by evilRhino (638506)
      I sure am glad these conglomerates are in the position to buy out these companies and make them more successful by using proven business tactics. Let's give them another round of tax-cuts for creating jobs!
    • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @12:26PM (#46175435)

      Ooh, looks like the Slashdot editors are running in here with limitless mod points trying to put out the fire. I guess they finally got out of their weekly circle-jerk, cleaned the spooge off Timothy's shirt, and noticed what was going on.

      • by westlake (615356)

        Ooh, looks like the Slashdot editors are running in here with limitless mod points trying to put out the fire.

        Or maybe adolescent rants about the beta are pissing off other readers.

  • So here we go: BETA SUCKS!

  • by Antipater (2053064) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:04AM (#46174429)
    Amazon's redesigning their site. They're removing the whole shopping functionality. beta.amazon.com will simply show you pictures of things you might want to buy, one at a time with blinding whitespace surrounding all the pictures. You can't actually buy them, though.
  • Slashdot BETA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:06AM (#46174463)

    For the time being you can do this: www.slashdot.org?nobeta=1

    Make you voice heard here:
    http://beta.slashdot.org/fireh... [slashdot.org]

    To quote Steve Jobs (rip) - "..and one more thing.."

    "..FUCK BETA..."

  • Gollum: I hates the Slashdot Beta, fat hobitses!!!
  • by Piata (927858)
    Nothing Amazon can do in the near future will ever measure up to Nintendo or take that covetted third place in the console ecosystem. They'll be lucky if they pull of an Ouya by the time they're done.
    • In the fight for third place, all will happen is killing off the other guys who are trying to get to third place.
      Leaving the current 3rd place holder in a stronger position.

    • Thank you for posting a comment that's actually relevant to the story. It's nice to see there's at least one other adult attempting to read the site.

      • by Wookact (2804191)
        If amazon comes out with a game console it will probably be about as popular as beta.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Nothing Amazon can do in the near future will ever measure up to Nintendo or take that covetted third place in the console ecosystem. They'll be lucky if they pull of an Ouya by the time they're done.

      I don't think Amazon is releasing a console. It's against their business model.

      Apple sells content to sell hardware. Apple doesn't make much on iTunes (sure, it brought in $1B in revenue, but they don't break out how much it costs to run).

      Amazon, however, sells hardware to sell content. Their Kindles are basica

      • Google is locking down Android by close-sourcing most of the apps

        Bundling proprietary applications with a free operating system is not "locking down" any more than Windows 7 or Windows XP or OS X is "locked down". Removing the "Unknown sources" and "Enable USB debugging" checkboxes and charging a substantial fee to restore it, as Apple and the major console makers do, would be "locking down".

  • Beta Sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:08AM (#46174481)

    By now, a professional organization would have at least acknowledged the complaints. Slashdot hasn't yet, and I'm willing to bet they never do. For a site that posts so many stories complaining about what other people do, they're remarkably slow to admit when they make a mistake.

    Continue to turn the comments threads into a trash heap to drive people away. And don't forget to turn on your ad blocker. Do what you can to get their attention until they publically acknowledge that this is a mistake -- because they're not going to pay attention otherwise.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      They haven't noticed. They've spent all morning in their weekly circle-jerk. It's Timothy's turn as pivot man.

    • by Teckla (630646)

      By now, a professional organization would have at least acknowledged the complaints. Slashdot hasn't yet, and I'm willing to bet they never do. For a site that posts so many stories complaining about what other people do, they're remarkably slow to admit when they make a mistake.

      Continue to turn the comments threads into a trash heap to drive people away. And don't forget to turn on your ad blocker. Do what you can to get their attention until they publically acknowledge that this is a mistake -- because they're not going to pay attention otherwise.

      I can't even get them to give us an option to turn off fucking autorefresh. It seems rather hopeless. :(

    • by imidan (559239)

      Oh, they've acknowledged the complaints. They say there's been "a lot of griping." Which is, of course, just their way of trivializing the complaints so that they can ignore them and go on with their plan anyway.

      Fuck Beta.

  • All Amazon needs to do is look at Ouya. It basically targeted the same space. Perhaps Amazon thinks their marketing and distribution engines will make it successful where Ouya has struggled but I doubt it. The problem with these "consoles" is that they target casual gamers and casual gamers are more than happy with their cell phones and tablets. Up selling them to an Android console would be an interesting sales job.

    Almost forgot... fuck beta.

  • It is now pitch dark. If you proceed, you will likely fall into a pit.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Thursday February 06, 2014 @11:13AM (#46174569)
    What is stopping someone from reopening Slashdot on another site under another name?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Koen Lefever (2543028)

      What is stopping someone from reopening Slashdot on another site under another name?

      Check out AltSlashdot [altslashdot.org].

    • by TWiTfan (2887093)

      Nothing. The problem with forking it is that you need a really BIG name in geekdom to head it. Otherwise, you'll end up with a shitload of forks, each with a tiny userbase (defeating the whole point of Slashdot).

  • I can't help but think of 1984. Steam Console, Pandora, iPhone and Android phones and tablets--phones are probably safe--all over the place, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, and now Amazon? Another video game bubble, gearing up for another video game crash? With Nintendo floundering, Microsoft and Sony being all talk, and iPhone and Android developers being essentially Gateway prospectors, I'm wondering if the collapse isn't already starting.

    Is that the new modus operandi? American consumers are so fucking

    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      You're really straining to try to make a point. iPads/tablets aren't primarily game machines. Sure you can play games on them, but I'm guessing people play games on computer even more, and sales of computers have been going down.

      Also, video games aren't just an American thing. Nintendo and PS4, for instance...

      And consoles aren't investments in the future. They're just something you play video games on. If you enjoy video games, no harm done. The video game crash of '84 was bad for the companies, but i

      • Uh, if you spend $600 on an XBox and two $50 games come out on it that are worth playing, you got burned. Should have spent $250 on a Wii and got Mario, Zelda, Metroid, plenty of VC games, some third-party stuff, and another pile. It's not $150,000 burned, but it's burned.

        And my point is that we have everybody in the fucking world building consoles now, selling consoles now, it looks like we're going to have a big 15 instead of a big 3 soon. That's a mindset that people are going to rush out and buy c

  • From my understanding, even with Nintendo and Microsoft selling less consoles, any open market share is being cornered by the pending Steam OS console and a flourishing PS4. This new Amazon based Android console wouldn't seem viable in the same market space. Android gaming is niche' to the say the least. Do you really need 4+ fully fledged consoles each with around 8% exclusive software titles (90% for Nintendo) plus the usual casual fair like Android/iOS games on smartphones and an ever present PC MasterRa
    • by tepples (727027)

      an ever present PC MasterRace?

      There's one thing the PC Master Race hasn't mastered: how to market living-room PCs to customers who aren't hardcore geeks [pineight.com]. Really what consoles are good for [pineight.com] is ease of use and single-screen multiplayer [pineight.com]. If PCs catch up in those respects, we won't need consoles anymore.

      • by arctus (2753027)
        I think you're absolutely right, ease of use is especially huge. It's more likely to me that consoles evolve into PCs than PCs evolve (or devolve depending on your perspective) into consoles....just based on the apparent flow of the physical universe.
  • That one doesn't have much Beta in it.
  • But what does this article have to do with the Beta?
  • If they are trying to make more FPS and fighting games, they shouldn't expect existing Nintendo customers to flock to their system. There are already too many of those titles on the Sony and Microsoft systems, and they have established software and user bases. Say what you will about Nintendo hardware but the list of top selling titles for the Wii and Wii U consoles looks nothing at all like the list for the playstation and xbox consoles.
  • The day I lose access to the classic version of Slashdot is the day I block slashdot.org at the border.
    Your move, Dice.

  • Do not make beta mandatory. Keep classic.

  • I try twice maybe work If not I will have MUCH MUCH more sadness today and for long time. Maybe beta not beta soon to make me happy. If beta beta sadness will be extremley sad sad sad sad sad sad to me. sad beta beta me sad. HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY NO BETA!!! HI. I posted this to see what it would look like on the beta website.. If they call it beta isn't it supposed to be working? maybe they will fix Slashdot Beta and everyone will be happy again. Can you see this? I can't. What is wrong? Is this why t

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