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Android Headliner: Can Amazon Succeed As A Viable Gaming Alternative In The Living Room?

April 6, 2014 - Written By Justin Diaz

Amazon Fire TV, the long rumored streaming set top box from Amazon was just announced on Wednesday and to those that think this is just another option for the media junkie, think again. Amazon not only has a clear focus on offering individuals an easy way to access the great video and media content they love on the big screen, but they’re keen on taking a piece of the pie in the home console market for video games as well. They have stated that Amazon Fire TV has also been developed with gamers in mind, which makes the Fire TV a one-stop shop/do-all device that can appeal to even gamers who are looking for a less expensive alternative to mainstream consoles. Like others before it and inevitably the ones to come after, Amazon Fire TV aims to give gamers a truly great console gaming experience right from the couch, all wrapped up with a nice and neat little $99 bow. The question is will they succeed where others have failed? OUYA has made some strides as a nice alternative to traditional home video game consoles, but even with their tremendous kickstarter support and big promises, the OUYA still lacks that pizzazz that some gamers are looking for. It’s a nice option to have on the sidelines, and as someone who was extremely excited about the OUYA from day one of it’s announcement and a current owner, it just doesn’t have enough developer support, nor the library of good games that can capture the large portion of hardcore gamers or the mainstream gamer market.

Other companies have tried entering the space like Mad Catz, but their console is not only more expensive, but offers even less games at the current time. Sure there is promise, but as it stands there is no reason I and many other gamers looking for a console would want to go out and spend the original price of $249.99 to pick one of these up. The alternative would just be to spend an extra $150 and grab the PS4, which is exactly what I had decided to do instead. I love the idea of Android game consoles and mobile games making the jump from mobile to the big screen, because I love games. Other people are more casual gamers though, and can’t see the benefit to spending over $100 for something that is really only geared towards gaming. This is where the Amazon Fire TV box may be able to shine. They don’t offer just games. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that they won’t have good content though. Sure their main focus isn’t video games, but it’s a big part of it, and there are already at least a couple major game publishers on board that have made some of their most popular games available for the Fire TV at launch. Gameloft for instance has announced that they have three games ready for the Fire TV, which if you’ve already ordered one, you’ll be able to play right away as soon as you hook it up. Assuming that you also would need to buy those games. Asphalt 8, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, and Modern Combat 4 are ready and waiting for those who want to pick up and play. Even Minecraft pocket Edition has made the jump to Amazon Fire TV, so you can gather and build to your hearts content. Let’s also not forget about Amazon’s own launch title offering, the first game from Amazon Game Studios called Sev-Zero.

We covered Sev-Zero on Wednesday during the initial Fire TV launch, and for those who missed it this is a launch title that honestly, could be considered quite a bit better than some of the launch titles that were put out for next gen home consoles. It looks amazing, seems to have a great back story, which is a fundamental backbone for a really great game, and it seems to have tons of content. Not only that but it fosters playing with friends or family members by utilizing second screen capabilities for the other person to help you play from their tablet. They don’t get the same experience as if they were playing the main game, but they can assist in a few ways that still make things fun. All things considered, Amazon came out of the gate swinging with their goals for providing users with a viable gaming alternative to regular consoles. Will they be able to provide the mega blockbuster hits some of us are looking forward to later in the year and early next year for next gen? Most likely not, not immediately anyway. What they will have to offer is something none of the other competitors have been able to do. Offer a low cost device that has a strong focus on gaming, will be able to offer great games, and have a vast library of titles that will surely make its way to the platform soon enough. This is a device from Amazon after all, and like its line of Kindle Fire tablets, you should be able to expect a huge number of games get the retrofit for the new device. Neither OUYA, nor the Mad Catz MOJO, or the Game Stick will have the same content availability. Simply because they’re just not Amazon. Amazon already has partnerships with many of the game publishers out there for their android based devices, so they should be able to easily convince those publishers to make the games accessible to Amazon Fire TV.

What about the game controller? They have that covered too. It’s an additional $40 and if you buy it during the limited time offer, you’ll get Sev-Zero for free(normally $6.99), and $16.99 worth of apps and games. Still not convinced there will be enough games to play? It is true that they might have some catching up to do in the game department, but they are starting strong with some big name hits like NBA 2K14, and others like Deus Ex: The Fall, The Cave by doublefine, Sonic titles, Reaper, Terraria, Muffin Knight, Auralux, Arma tactics, Riptide GP 2, and many more seem to be on the way. There hasn’t been any confirmation as of yet if they are already available or if they’re coming soon, but they are coming. The point is, Amazon Fire TV could be a powerhouse contender in the gaming market. The device is inexpensive, it’ll have a vast amount of games to play, and the device does more than other similar products. What do you think about Amazon Fire TV? Will it be able to serve as a good alternative to those looking for console gaming solutions?

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