Amazon has acquired a gaming studio called Double Helix Games, TechCrunch has learned, and Amazon now confirms. The deal was for both talent and IP, we understand. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
The Irvine, California-based company, founded in 2007 through the merger of two well-known game development shops, The Collective, Inc. and Shiny Entertainment, today employs 75 people who will now become Amazon employees and will continue to operate out of their Orange County home.
News of the deal leaked due to an invitation to joint recruiting event from Amazon and Double Helix Games taking place in L.A. on February 13th. The acquisition announcement was planned to take place at that time, most likely.
Amazon has provided TechCrunch with the following statement regarding the deal:
“Amazon has acquired Double Helix as part of our ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers.”
The Double Helix deal may fuel to the recent rumors that Amazon is preparing to release its own gaming console in the coming months. Last week, the video game industry blog VG247.com reported that Amazon is planning to launch an Android-powered “dedicated games and entertainment device this year priced below $300… [that] will compete directly with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.” Buzz about an Amazon console has been around for a while: This past summer, the rumor was that the company was planning to debut a Qualcomm-based console system. Amazon declined to comment on the console speculation when reached today.
Of course, Amazon Game Studios also has a presence in Irvine, following the launch of its social game development arm back in 2012. Amazon’s efforts on the gaming front have been fairly quiet since then. The company has released a now-shuttered game called “Living Classics,” which retired last October. The company also has a handful of other titles now, but the Double Helix acquisition will bring more high-profile talent and IP to Amazon.
Double Helix has a history of creating popular games for nearly 20 years, when you consider the work Shiny and The Collective had done before the merger. Shiny, for example, was the creator of classic like “Earthworm Jim,”
“Sacrifice, MDK” and “Enter the Matrix,” while The Collective had previously put out titles like “Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb,” “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
As Double Helix, the firm has a decent track record as well. Its most popular game today is “Killer Instinct,” but throughout the years, it has created a number of PC and console games including “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” “Green Latern: Rise of the Manhunters,” “Silent Hill: Homecoming,” and “Front Mission Evolved,” among others. As you can tell by the titles, it specializes in large-scale action games based on blockbuster franchises.
A forthcoming title, “Strider,” is scheduled to launch this month on PS3, but others including “Dirty Harry” and “Harker” are no longer expected to follow.
Amazon says that Double Helix’s current lineup of games and other future developments will be supported, following the acquisition.