Parcel people and drone hobbyists Amazon are working on their own living room games machine. Only it won’t need to jostle for floor space with your Steam Boxes and whathaveyou – it’ll be a dongle of some kind. And one source claims it’ll be capable of streaming PC games.
The form factor is based on Google’s Chromecast, report Techcrunch, which is no bigger than a novelty USB stick. But the streaming capability more closely resembles that offered by OnLive.
Rather than relying on a nearby PC like the Nvidia Shield handheld, Amazon’s magic dongle will stream games at 30fps via their own datacentres.
The device, which will be branded in kind with Amazon’s Fire tablets, is still in testing – but will probably support video and music playing as well as games.
The Wall Street Journal report that the Fire dongle has been in development at Amazon since last spring, and might ship as early as April. A pre-production version is already rumoured to be with chosen app developers.
While WSJ sources say Amazon will most likely ship the dongle with a remote control, a more traditional, Amazon-made gaming pad was leaked by Brazilian telecommunication authority Anatel late last week.
The Amazon controller bears a notable resemblance to OnLive’s – as does the rumoured streaming tech at the Fire dongle’s core.
OnLive run games on their PCs in datacentres around Europe and the US, and allow subscribers to stream them via low-end devices like tablets. The company was broken apart and rebuilt in 2010 – but two weeks ago, OnLive revealed CloudLift – a feature for recovering Steam saves for streaming on the move.
With Steam in-home streaming on the way too, it seems we’ll have a viable option for PC gaming by proxy by the end of the year. The only question that remains is this: who will provide it?