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Amazon launches Fire TV for $99

Android-based media streaming box available now, features original games, quad-core processor, dedicated GPU

Amazon is making its long-awaited entry into the gaming industry. The online retailer today announced Amazon Fire TV, a new Android-based media streaming box that will also allow users to play a variety of games.

The device will begin shipping today at a $99 price point, with an optional $40 console-like controller also available. Those who don't want the controller will be able to play games using the packed-in remote control, or a custom smartphone app that Amazon will launch next month. The system also supports local multiplayer, with up to 7 remotes and game controllers able to be connected at any one time.

Amazon has said the average price of a paid Fire TV game is $1.85, but added there are more than 1,000 free-to-play games for the platform. As for the hardware, the company is touting the Fire TV as three times more powerful than Apple TV or Roku, with a quad-core processor, dedicated GPU, and 2GB of memory.

As for what games will be available, Amazon has more than 100 available for launch, with thousands more on the way. Leading the way are Amazon's internally developed sci-fi third-person shooter Sev Zero, as well as third-party efforts like Mojang's Minecraft - Pocket Edition and Gameloft's Asphalt 8. The company also said it will have software support from Disney, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and more.

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Latest comments (27)

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital2 years ago
Not sure what to think about it. Amazon is definitely no Ouya and has the muscle to make this a great success. But I am not sure who is the audience. The gamers won't care for old games and the "casuals" are mostly happy with their tablets.

Anyway, the more successful platforms we have, the better.
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve2 years ago
The price is right, and the specifications are good too, but this device will live or die by the software it hosts. I need to check out the list of games available, I'm curious to see what games (if any) are capable of 7-way multiplayer. If everyone sitting on the couch can use their smartphone as a controller, this could actually be pretty cool.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 2 years ago
Pity it's not an x86 CPU. It'd be the perfect thing to drop SteamOS on and use as a Streaming Steam Machine.
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Show all comments (27)
Jonathan McEnroe Freelance 2D artist 2 years ago
These markets are becoming way too saturated. How many platforms do we need?? :/
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James Brightman Editor in Chief, GamesIndustry.biz2 years ago
I'm skeptical. I feel like for $99 they should have just thrown in the gaming controller too.
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Jason Pullara Podcaster 2 years ago
I'm skeptical as well, but I do think that with the right content (and not the same old rehashed mobile games) this could very well be a successful product for Amazon and something to keep an eye on for the smaller development studios out there.
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Neow Shau Jin Studying Bachelor in Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia2 years ago
@Jonathan

this won't really create a separate platform, as it runs android, similar to Ouya, games that are develop for Ouya should work out of the box on this. Many Android games that supports controller should also work out of the box.
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Jonathan McEnroe Freelance 2D artist 2 years ago
@Neow, that's my problem though, if it does everything the Ouya does along with their video streaming then why not just get their software on the Ouya if they already havent? I dunno, just can't keep up with the amount of new hardware thats getting released these days :/
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unless it has a billion dollar marketing push I think its just another "box" that gets lost in all the noise.
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Paul Shirley Programmers 2 years ago
@James Brightman
Bullet point 8 (of 8) on the launch page: "Great for gaming, too". Amazon clearly consider it a streaming device that also plays games and aren't going to raise the price to throw in a decent controller and risk frightening off media streaming consumers. Or annoying gaming fans with a cheap controller ;)

This is aimed right at Microsofts media hub dreams and hasn't repeated the pricing mistake MS made with expensive, unwanted by many but compulsory peripherals. Chairs will be being thrown in Seattle tonight.
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Felix Leyendecker Senior 3D Artist, Crytek2 years ago
@Paul
If they were serious about gaming, they should have eaten the extra cost of the controller. Not having a standardized control interface doesn't make for an attractive development platform.
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Jeffrey Kesselman Professor - Game Development, Daniel Webster College2 years ago
I think Ouya adequately proved that the market for playing cell phone games tied down to your TV is quite small.

Success as a game console will hinge on its ability to run games significantly better then cell phones can.
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Anthony Gowland Consulting F2P Game Designer, Ant Workshop2 years ago
It doesn't need a billion dollar marketing push, they can put it on the landing screen of amazon.com (like they do with every new kindle release) and get a ridiculous number of eyes on it in a matter of hours.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2 years ago
They'll sell a lot of boxes, just like people buy AppleTv. They're powerful enough to get some decent games, but this box isn't going to be a factor in the US. In China or other developing countries where smart TV doubles as the household's Internet, it may be different

They'll make a lot of money on it, the gaming thing will be simply a nice bonus.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster2 years ago
Saw this coming before the rumours even started, very exciting time for Amazon and many digital customers.

The fact that this is being marketed as a gaming machine and not simply a media box is quite significant. And of course, this puts micro-consoles from smaller companies in serious 'trouble'.
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Igor M D 2 years ago
I think this is a game changer. Apple really should have released Apple TV with app store (and probably with a game controller) earlier. Now Amazon has everything going for them as Fire TV features:
a) exclusive video (film) content by Amazon
b) exclusive video games content by Amazon Studios
c) abundance of third party content (both video/film and apps/games)
d) competitive price
How can anyone beat that?

@Felix
Amazon is serious about gaming:
1) They have GameCircle for leaderboards/achievements etc
2) They are going to release an app for mobile devices that will serve as controller (you'll have on-screen buttons) which will be enough for most people
3) They have already bought a gamedev studio and have an exclusive game
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 2 years ago
In essence, Amazon has made a box to play Prime Instant Video, instead of porting that service to Android proper. They then added a gaming angle, but just in case you are interested as a developer, you may want to take note of the fact that you are being tossed into the cesspit with every existing Android game on the planet. But hey, look at the bright side, you will soon be able to play Flappy Bird by shouting "flap, flap, flap" until your neighbors have you committed to an insane asylum; and rightfully so. You then live the rest of your days playing Zork from memory with the guy one cell over.

Amazon obviously delivers content aimed at your TV. Until now they had to rely on third party devices to deliver that content. It is absolutely right that they eliminated that flaw. It's also not wrong to leverage all possibilities of the platform while they are at it. But I dare a single person here to claim that this device was reason enough to advice a person, who is really interested in gaming, to not buy a PC, PS4 or XO.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 2 years ago
@Klaus:

Amazon will send you a box gratis,
(Yes, it's addressed to YOU)
I'd not be so keen to open it up
For it will contain a Grue!
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd2 years ago
@James Brightman - Most people buying it will be using it for video, and they're trying to keep it so barebones that it doesn't even include an HDMI cable. So I can see why they didn't bundle a joypad.

@Todd Weidner - It's "just another box" that is presented to millions of potential customers every day with a one-click buy button. I think we can safely say it will do better than Ouya at least ;)

@Igor M - "They are going to release an app for mobile devices that will serve as controller (you'll have on-screen buttons) which will be enough for most people" - on-screen joypads are rubbish. However it might be possible to get it to talk to other Bluetooth or USB controllers (i.e. console pads).
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Neow Shau Jin Studying Bachelor in Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia2 years ago
@ Felix

yup, they are presenting this as a video streaming box, that can do games on top of that if you want.
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If they deliver it by drone, will be impressed
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 2 years ago
@Greg

and as the monster was charging
to cleanly bite off my head
I calmly sheathed my sword
for the Grue was already dead
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Eyal Teler Programmer 2 years ago
Looks like a good direction to go, at least in theory. Phones and tablets aren't marketed as gaming devices, yet gaming is the single most common user activity on them. A media box with a decent gaming experience could open up that market (Android TV gaming). Still, reports say that the controller is crappy, and that's not a good sign.
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Think no frills kindle philosophy
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Mark Nelson Games/Level Designers 2 years ago
Does the Amazon app store allow VLC Media player? And does it have a Web browser and take bluetooth keyboard and mouse?
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game2 years ago
Yes to VLC, and I would assume it will come with silk browser, and the Fire tablets allow side loading. Netflix and Flixter are also on Amazon appstore, (at least on tablet, can't see the difference here).
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 2 years ago
@Klaus:

Well, pack up that fresh Grue corpus
And head on down to the mall
Look for the Amazon Return Box
and drop it in (that's all!)
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