Giant Bomb News

69 Comments

Amazon Getting into the Living Room With Fire TV [UPDATED]

The company has even designed a controller for the device's games.

UPDATE: Kotaku reports Portal designer Kim Swift and Far Cry 2 designer Clint Hocking have both been hired by Amazon Game Studios.

**

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.

74 Comments
  • 74 results
  • 1
  • 2
Edited by FUMN

oooooh ya, moar ouya.....

Posted by Linken

that d-pad looks like the best one in years. hopefully it feels good Kreygasm

Posted by SomeJerk

I believe more in this than Ouya.

There, that's about 50 posts made redundant.

Posted by flakmunkey

That UI reminds me of Plex meets Windows 8. That said if this thing will run Plex (assuming it's all android underneath it should) then I might just be interested.

Posted by paulunga

It looks "nice"? That controller looks like an unergonomic piece of shit. Amazon is huge, why can't they invest in a better design?

Posted by liquidfox00

Bring it to canada along with Instant video and I'm in.

Posted by csl316

Like a Sega Saturn stealth launch.

I use Amazon for everything, but I guess I just don't understand set top boxes if you have a game console these days.

Posted by Rafaelfc

Had it in my cart, but they won't ship to my country.

Their loss.

Edited by joshwent

Aside from games, this just seems like a $40 more expensive version of the Roku Stick(which can already play all of the Amazon content).

Hopefully the games will be great!*

*(no sarcasm implied. well... okay, a little. but... hopefully?)

Edited by cyberfunk

SNES EMULATOR TIME YALL

Posted by bombedyermom

That controller looks wack, yo

Posted by FifiChiaPet

I think I found a few mistakes--apologies if these were mentioned and I didn't see them.

"Amazon's event built a controller to make playing traditional games a breeze." - I assume you meant Amazon's even...

"and new customers can quality for a free month of Amazon Prime and Netflix." - customers can qualify

Posted by Fitzgerald

TODAY!?

Posted by LibrorumProhibitorum

I want a controller which says Amazon on it I'll pay any price

Edited by Nightriff

Hey, we still want amazon prime videos on the chromecast guys, HEY!

Posted by ArbitraryWater

TODAY!?

That's some Sega Saturn-type action right there.

Edited by MonkeyKing1969

Since this article was a bit brief I looked up what it can do according to Amazon:

(I took out the corp speak, and just culled some factoids)
Amazon Fire TV is a box you connect to your HDTV.

- Access to Prime (of course) which means access to over 40,000 Prime Instant Videos on your HDTV.

- Over 200,000 TV episodes and movies, millions of songs, and over a hundred games

- Voice search—Simply say the name of what you want to watch and start enjoying in seconds. Show me

- The Box - Fast quad-core processor, 2 GB of memory, dedicated GPU, plus 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound

- Easy Set up & use promised—Pre-registered to your Amazon account so you can enjoy favorite titles and personalized recommendations

- Instant streaming—Exclusive new feature ASAP predicts what movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you hit play

- Parents Controls —Amazon FreeTime lets you easily limit screen time and create personalized profiles just for kids (coming soon)

- Gaming —Play blockbuster titles like Minecraft-Pocket Edition, The Walking Dead, and Monsters University, plus free games and Amazon exclusives. Paid games start from just 99 cents

So, basically, if you have an Xbox One or PS4 this is mostly redundant...well unless you really want access to AOL On, Vimeo, Movies by Flixster, Showtime Anytime, Smithsonian Channel, Red Bull TV, Redux TV, All Fitness TV, Classic TV, or Hollywood Ticker. ...Red Bull TV(?, really that's a thing?

What I want is access to ABC, CBS, FOX, and a few other stations. I'd pay for that, but until these boxes offer that they all just give you teh same thing. This is the latest box, so it probably is the best box out there...but I really think the big revolution needs to be getting regional broadcast TV. I don't need to see Boston ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox; but what I do need is that stuff at a lower cost and better than Comcast can offer.

Posted by sub_o

TODAY!?

Yeah, they pulled a Sega Saturn

Posted by MrMazz

I'm interested in how the streaming goes if roku Dosent release a new box soonish I may get this as an upgrade, perhaps the gaming becomes and actual thing but I'm cautious.

Edited by HammondofTexas

Posted by Marokai

It's a tempting thing, but as a gaming device it seems smart to let it evolve a bit before anyone buys it specifically for that purpose. Controller support seems pretty sparse for actual games at the moment; if they can get that controller working on a wider variety of games I might pick it up. I do already have a Kindle Fire and a bunch of Amazon purchases anyway, and as a media box device it seems better and more accessible than most of their competitors.

Posted by MormonWarrior

Metal Gear?!? Oh wait.

My coworkers are perplexed about who this is for at this point with the Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast available for the same or less with more or less the same features. Maybe the games will make a difference? I dunno. For me I'd only get an Apple TV since it can mirror my iPhone and such.

Posted by Rejizzle

I've ben waiting for years for someone to pull a Sega Saturn. I can die happy now... or live with this knowledge for a bit. Whatever works.

Posted by Bobbyr

What? No preorder robot helicopter pack in? Bummer

Posted by TurboMan

Gotta take advantage of that Ouya money.

Posted by guanophobic

Cool, another console exclusively for the US.

Edited by FMinus

@turboman said:

Gotta take advantage of that Ouya money.

Gaming is an after though for this, whilst it was the main focus of the Ouya. It's like buying a smartphone, you don't buy it for games, that's just a bonus. Nobody would buy a smartphone just for games, that's stupid, and that's what Ouya was.

Edited by LarryDavis

Such an elaborate April Fool's prank that it took an extra day of development.

@mormonwarrior: If you look at the amazon page for this thing, apparently it has more features than the others but it's the same price. Which, really, isn't that surprising since it's so late to this TV Box Party. I still don't really care about it, but if I had to choose between these dumbass things I'd probably go with this one I guess?

Posted by Djungelurban

Only 8 GB of storage though... That concerns me as to their intentions... If they're intending to use this to make gaming through stream more established and accepted... I don't want that, I don't ever wanna give up that much control over what I play... If it's made with external drives in mind then I guess it's not as insidious but as of right, I'm not prepared to trust them just yet...

Posted by sixpin

@guanophobic: It isn't a console. It is a streaming media box for your TV that plays crappy app store games. Not something worth getting excited over even if you live in the US, which I do.

Posted by dvdwalker8

I just ordered one. Mainly bought it for the features that aren't gaming related and because I'm a big fan of amazon and want to support them. If good games come out, I'll definitely give them a chance.

Posted by RecSpec

That Sega Saturn launch strategy.

Posted by Cybexx

Building a better Ouya. Not a bad idea. The lack of a touchpad on that controller at least says that Amazon is looking for developers to do at least a minimal amount of work to convert their touch screen controls over to sticks and buttons.

As with Ouya, this needs good exclusives in order to interest gamers, and based on the letter from the CEO at the front of amazon.com at the moment I would say they are definatly pushing this as a streaming box first and a game system second (the controller is sold seperatly). Specs have double the ram of the Ouya but the CPU/GPU seem comparable.

They are willing to do what Apple has not with Apple TV. With the current popularity of Unity and Unreal 4's android support we could potentially see some pretty interesting stuff happen with this if Amazon can push this into people's homes, if people are willing to buy the controller, if that controller is good, if there is no glaring flaw in the system's architecture, if gamers care and if the general public is willing to try the games.

If this was available in Canada I would buy one right now.

Posted by Deathpooky

Interesting that they're putting any focus on games for a Roku/Apple TV competitor, but I think we've already figured out that charging more to play mobile-quality games on TV sucks. And that lineup is mostly family-focused, licensed shovelware. Though I don't think they're targeting any of us that play games on a $400+ console.

Posted by Hawkerace

Not available in Canada? Really?

Posted by jarowdowsky

Can't see this having much of an impact if it makes it over to the UK. I think the interest in Chromecast from myself and a number of friends shows there was a really desire for streaming to TV but I can't imagine the same interest in playing games on the telly.

So for the majority of people I think this'll just look like an expensive version of Chromecast or Roku. Then again, Amazon, like Facebook and Google, clearly need money sinks to dump taxable funds so, hell, why not try a TV box?

Posted by Shtinky

They've basically killed the Ouya with this.

Edited by Gaff
Edited by BaysideJr

I don't see the need for this. I am kind of sick of the walled gardens. I recently replaced the OS on my kindle fire hd with regular android 4.2 and it is infinitely better. More apps, games, faster etc... I am an amazon fan however after the kindle fire hd I no longer want to be tied to just that ecosystem.

I would much rather buy one of these with stock android and the regular play store. All we need is an indicator showing games are controller compatible. I feel android gets apps/games faster than the amazon forks if amazon gets it at all. I think i'll pass on this.


How can they get my money immediately? Have all the media apps + allow me to stream my steam games to the tv for $99 bucks! Id buy one immediately.

Posted by Winternet

That controller looks like it could crack some heads pretty easily.

Posted by bkbroiler

CLINT HOCKING AT AMAZON GAMES? SOMEONE ALERT THE IDLE THUMBS

Edited by tourgen

good luck with that. looking forward to the enormous belly flop sound we'll be getting out of this.

Posted by TinyGrasshopper

I don't see the need for this. I am kind of sick of the walled gardens. I recently replaced the OS on my kindle fire hd with regular android 4.2 and it is infinitely better. More apps, games, faster etc... I am an amazon fan however after the kindle fire hd I no longer want to be tied to just that ecosystem.

I would much rather buy one of these with stock android and the regular play store. All we need is an indicator showing games are controller compatible. I feel android gets apps/games faster than the amazon forks if amazon gets it at all. I think i'll pass on this.

How can they get my money immediately? Have all the media apps + allow me to stream my steam games to the tv for $99 bucks! Id buy one immediately.

If you put stock Android on there, isn't that just Google's ecosystem? You traded one ecosystem for another. It's not necessarily any more open than Amazon is. Google's garden is no more or less walled than Amazon's is. It's just a nicer garden.

Posted by beard_of_zeus

Amazon is setting my living room on fire?!?!?! Oh wait, I read that wrong.

Posted by HubrisRanger

The fact this story is filed under Ouya cracks me up.

As to the product itself...um, okay? I probably would get it over a Roku, but I also have three or four gaming devices in my house already that stream most of these services already, to say nothing of my phone or my tablet. The price point is tempting, but what is the value add of this box over all others? As a budding content provider I would expect for Amazon to have been out the gate with something that made me want to buy this TODAY, and I'm sure that Amazon Game Studios group is cooking something up, but in the meanwhile a firm "wait and see" for me.

Releasing on day of announcement is pretty baller though.

Edited by Fram

CLINT HOCKING AT AMAZON GAMES? SOMEONE ALERT THE IDLE THUMBS

THE CONSOLE WILL RANDOMLY JAM UP AND REQUIRE YOU TO BUY ANOTHER ONE.

Edited by Chaser324
@fminus said:

@turboman said:

Gotta take advantage of that Ouya money.

Gaming is an after though for this, whilst it was the main focus of the Ouya.

While I would agree that the Fire TV does have the advantage of not solely being marketed as a games device and probably will make its way into many living rooms as a media box, I don't think you can look at the talent Amazon is acquiring and dismiss it as an "after thought".

Moderator
Posted by Seeric

As neat as having an announcement and a release together sounds, wasn't this same strategy something of a disaster for the Sega Saturn?

I suppose communication has evolved substantially since then so the word can spread much more quickly, it's a multimedia device and not just intended for playing games on, and Amazon will presumably be handling the distribution themselves so that helps a lot too, but sacrificing pre-launch hype still seems like a remarkably risky move to make.

Edited by Mayor_McCheese

I'm pretty positive that a TI-30X is enough to make the OUYA obsolete.

  • 74 results
  • 1
  • 2