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Amazon Could Be Preparing a Video Game Console

Stocks in this article: AMZN MSFT SNE

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It looks, by Amazon's (AMZN) latest moves, as if it's planning to build a video game console of its own. The company just acquired California-based game developer Double Helix Games for an undisclosed amount.

Double Helix is best known for creating "Killer Instinct," one of the first titles available at launch for Microsoft's  (MSFT) latest Xbox One device.

Amazon shares were advancing nearly 1% to $349.84 in early New York trading on Thursday.

In confirming earlier rumors, Amazon told Game Informer that it bought Double Helix as part of its "ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers."

No formal announcement of the deal has been made, but according to other published reports, journalists receiving invitations to an Amazon/Double Helix event scheduled for next Thursday in Los Angeles believe the deal will be formalized at that time.

Amazon has been interested in the video game business for some time. The company purchased video game maker Reflective Entertainment more than five years ago. Recently, it has been recruiting developers to work at its new Amazon Game Studios.

A number of industry experts believe Amazon has been developing a new gaming console which was expected to have been announced last fall. The device is now expected to be released this spring. Retail price estimates are currently in the $300 range.

Amazon has historically had great success with its own line of consumer electronics beginning with its first Kindle book reader announced in November 2007, through its Kindle Fire line of Android tablets introduced in September 2011. An Amazon game console could prove to be a huge challenge for current industry rivals Sony (SNE), Microsoft and Nintendo.

 -- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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