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Amazon to enter console race

Report: Online retailer to release hardware this year.

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Rumours have been circulating for some time that Amazon might be about to jump into the console race with hardware of their own, and a new report is suggesting that it will happen sometime this year.

According to "multiple sources" close to VG247, online retailer Amazon is preparing to move into the console space sooner rather than later, with a sub-$300 console set to hit the market this year.

The report states that the new hardware is being made in conjunction with Lab 126, the team that designed Amazon's Kindle tablets. It's said to be roughly the same size as a late-model PS1, oblong with sharp edges, but likely to be redesigned before coming to market.

The Amazon console will be competing on several fronts if this report is accurate. First there's the major consoles from Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo (both current and previous generations), as well as recent Android offerings in the shape of Gamestick and Ouya, and it might even be worth slinging Steam Machines in that bracket as well.

What kind of games people will be playing on these consoles will be anyone's guess, and it'll be interesting to see what kind of performance they will offer when compared to the next-gen machines released at the tail-end of last year. It's more likely that this unannounced console will be directly competing with the likes of Ouya, pushing casual and social titles as well as indies, but it was also noted that Amazon are recruiting for their own in-house development team.

Where an Amazon console could be really competitive is in the services that could be offered by the retailer, with there's said to be films, television, music and game streaming services coming as part of the prospective package. With Amazon's 200 million customers already in place, they could be poised to make an impact on the console market in a way that Ouya and Gamestick simply weren't able to do.

Amazon to enter console race

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