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Amazon launches Fire TV for $99

Amazon launches Fire TV for $99

Wed 02 Apr 2014 4:12pm GMT / 12:12pm EDT / 9:12am PDT
Hardware

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

Amazon

Amazon.com strives to be Earth's most customer-centric company where people can find and discover virtually...

amazon.com

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.

27 Comments

Jakub Mikyska CEO, Grip Digital

207 1,122 5.4
Popular Comment
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.

Posted:7 months ago

#1

Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve

341 292 0.9
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.

Posted:7 months ago

#2

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,611 1,473 0.9
Pity it's not an x86 CPU. It'd be the perfect thing to drop SteamOS on and use as a Streaming Steam Machine.

Posted:7 months ago

#3

Jonathan McEnroe Freelance 2D artist

47 20 0.4
These markets are becoming way too saturated. How many platforms do we need?? :/

Posted:7 months ago

#4

James Brightman Editor in Chief, GamesIndustry.biz

259 457 1.8
Popular Comment
I'm skeptical. I feel like for $99 they should have just thrown in the gaming controller too.

Posted:7 months ago

#5

Jason Pullara Podcaster

28 70 2.5
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.

Posted:7 months ago

#6

Neow Shau Jin Studying Bachelor in Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia

52 81 1.6
@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.

Posted:7 months ago

#7

Jonathan McEnroe Freelance 2D artist

47 20 0.4
@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 :/

Posted:7 months ago

#8

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

420 999 2.4
unless it has a billion dollar marketing push I think its just another "box" that gets lost in all the noise.

Posted:7 months ago

#9

Paul Shirley Programmers

178 150 0.8
Popular Comment
@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.

Posted:7 months ago

#10

Felix Leyendecker Senior 3D Artist, Crytek

184 204 1.1
@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.

Posted:7 months ago

#11

Jeffrey Kesselman Professor - Game Development, Daniel Webster College

30 52 1.7
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.

Posted:7 months ago

#12

Anthony Gowland Lead Designer, Outplay Entertainment

211 733 3.5
Popular Comment
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.

Posted:7 months ago

#13

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

374 225 0.6
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.

Posted:7 months ago

#14

Adam Campbell Associate Producer, Miniclip Ltd

1,199 1,011 0.8
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'.

Posted:7 months ago

#15

Igor M Rebel Without a Cause, iSquared Games

22 18 0.8
Popular Comment
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

Posted:7 months ago

#16

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,157 1,219 1.1
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.

Posted:7 months ago

#17

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,170 0.5
@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!

Posted:7 months ago

#18

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

26 50 1.9
@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).

Posted:7 months ago

#19

Neow Shau Jin Studying Bachelor in Computer Science, Universiti Sains Malaysia

52 81 1.6
@ Felix

yup, they are presenting this as a video streaming box, that can do games on top of that if you want.

Posted:7 months ago

#20
If they deliver it by drone, will be impressed

Posted:7 months ago

#21

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,157 1,219 1.1
@Greg

and as the monster was charging
to cleanly bite off my head
I calmly sheathed my sword
for the Grue was already dead

Posted:7 months ago

#22

Eyal Teler Programmer

93 98 1.1
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.

Posted:7 months ago

#23
Think no frills kindle philosophy

Posted:7 months ago

#24

Mark Nelson Games/Level Designers

9 3 0.3
Does the Amazon app store allow VLC Media player? And does it have a Web browser and take bluetooth keyboard and mouse?

Posted:7 months ago

#25

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
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).

Posted:7 months ago

#26

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,170 0.5
@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!)

Posted:7 months ago

#27

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