Amazon Just Pushed Game Consoles One Step Closer to Death

Technology
Amazon Fire TV

Over the last years, there have been several small start-ups, like Ouya or GameStick, which came up with their game consoles to compete with traditional players like Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo. The progress of these new players has not been exactly a breakthrough.

But when Amazon enters the game, we should pay attention. For years, there has been rumors about tech giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon releasing a device similar to a set-top box and capable of playing games. Such device, with full support of a big tech company, would be a potential threat to established console makers. Now, Amazon has fired a shot with its Fire TV, announced at a surprise press briefing.

As the name suggests, Fire TV is primarily about video. It will offer services as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services. Interestingly, its remote control includes a microphone, for good voice input.

The device is already available, on Amazon of course. And the company has not forgotten about gamers either. It plans to push ahead gaming through its Amazon Game Studios, a division created in 2012 to create Facebook games (not very successfully). Since then, Amazon hired numerous game designers and expanded the division.

So far, more than 100 games are available for Fire TV, but Amazon promises much more. And yes, it includes Minecraft.

Some critics question the potential of Amazon’s machine for gaming. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter thinks that people will not be interested in playing what are essentially mobile games on their TVs. Ouya, with its 100 dollar console, already tried to enter that market, but did not succeed because it was not able to attract enough developers and gamers. This is a common chicken-egg problem, where lack of gamers discourages developers to enter, and the lack of games discourage gamers to buy the console.

Yet one can argue that Amazon, with its piles of cash, might be in much better position to succeed here. It already has millions of customers to push the device onto. Amazon is clearly in the game for the long-term, and we will see how many people are willing to buy a device that is much cheaper than PS4 or Xbox One, but also much less powerful.

For some other information check out this great Amazon Fire TV review with hologram effect:

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Andrew J. Blanche

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