Amazon Enters Set-Top Box and Microconsole Markets with Fire TV

amazon_fire_tv-640x480Amazon has announced and released the Fire TV today, a Roku and Chromecast competitor that streams out digital services like Netflix or Hulu to HDTVs for $99. If you’ve ever used a Roku or another similar device, the Fire TV will be very familiar to you, and this news alone wouldn’t normally be captivating enough for a post here on Geekenstein. However, Amazon has also packed this machine with a quad-core processor with the express intent of turning it into a gaming machine as well as a media streaming device. Recently, Amazon purchased Double Helix, the makers of the most recent Strider and Killer Instinct games, images of an Amazon branded controller have been floating around for weeks, and just today Amazon has hired on Kim Swift (Quantum Conundrum) and Clint Hocking (Far Cry 2) onto their internal games studio.

All that comes into focus with this device, which seems to be the new standard in Android powered machines (and another nail in the coffin for the Ouya). Looking at the trailers Amazon put up on their studio’s YouTube channel, jaded gamers might roll their eyes at the cell phone style graphics, but this probably doesn’t matter to the moms and grandmas out there looking to satisfy their child next holiday. Gaming still seems like an afterthought on this specific device (the post on Amazon’s front page today basically states as much), but one should never underestimate the selling power Amazon possesses by pimping their own products on their front page, and if anyone were to shift even more focus onto the mobile marketplace, it’s Amazon. Not to mention that this might not be the only device Amazon has in the pipeline. It’s only April, but 2014 in gaming has already proven to be a strange and important year.