When Amazon purchased Strider developer Double Helix, it seemed to indicate the company was getting incredibly serious about the living room. That began to crystalize today with the announcement of Amazon Fire TV, a $99 streaming box. Amazon's event built a controller to make playing traditional games a breeze.
If you're familiar with the Apple TV, Roku, or Chromecast, you have a general understanding of the Fire TV, too. It's loaded with video delivery options, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and others. The big names are there or coming soon.
There's also tablet integration ala SmartGlass, voice search, photos in the cloud--blah blah blah blah blah blah.
What's up with the games? That's where Fire TV is pretty interesting, and if it weren't already broadly the case, probably immediately makes Ouya obsolete. Amazon has built a specific game controller for Fire TV that costs you an additional $39.99. Here's a look at the controller itself:
It looks nice, but like the Ouya, we really need to know how it feels. That's the key factor here. Buying the controller nets you $10 in credit and copy of Sev Zero, which we'll get to in a second.
We didn't learn anything about what Double Helix is up to, but that's not a surprise, since the deal didn't happen very long ago. Amazon Game Studios, which has secretly been around for several years, revealed several games. A third-person sci-fi shooter with tower defense elements called Sev Zero was shown, in addition to other games from the developer, including one where a dinosaur had a rocket strapped to it.
Electronic Arts, Disney, Gameloft, Ubisoft, Telltale, Mojang, 2K Games, Sega, and Double Fine were among the developers mentioned on stage. As each of them has a mobile presence on other platforms, it makes sense. Minecraft was shown, and the company also promised Monsters University, The Game of Life, The Walking Dead, NBA2K14, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, and Despicable Me: Minion Rush were on the way.
You don't have to wait long to buy one, either. No joke, but the Fire TV starts shipping today, and new customers can quality for a free month of Amazon Prime and Netflix. 2014 is keeping things interesting.