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Amazon's Fire TV: Is It Worth Game Developers' Time?

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the how-to-achieve-play-anywhere? dept.

Games 88

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Amazon is serious about conquering the living room: the online retailer has launched Fire TV, a set-top box that not only allows viewers to stream content, but also play games. That streaming-and-gaming capability makes Amazon a threat to Apple, which rumors suggest is hard at work on an Apple TV capable of doing the same things. In addition, Fire TV puts the screws to other streaming hardware, including Roku and Google's Chromecast, as well as smaller game consoles such as Ouya (a $99, Android-based device). Much of Amazon's competitive muscle comes from its willingness to sell hardware for cheap (the Fire TV retails for $99) on the expectation that owners will use it to stream and download digital content from Amazon, including television shows and apps. Those developers who've developed Android games have an advantage when it comes to migrating software to Amazon's new platform. "Porting You Don't Know Jack was really like developing for Android, with the exception of the store and the new controller library," Jackbox Games Designer/Director Steve Heinrich told Gamasutra after the Fire TV announcement. "The store itself is the same as the Kindle version, which we've used many times now, and the way the controller works is very close to what we did for Ouya." While Fire TV could represent yet another opportunity for game developers looking to make a buck, it also raises a pressing question: with so many platforms out there (iOS, PC, etc.), how's an indie developer or smaller firm supposed to allocate time and resources to best advantage?"

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Sounds like a Steam Box (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651115)

except closed garden and useless

Re:Sounds like a Steam Box (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 7 months ago | (#46651613)

Can we hack the bootloader?

There's the trick!

Re:Sounds like a Steam Box (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46651739)

A Steam Box is more a set of specs than a single physical device. I would compare it more with a Roku or AppleTV (those can play games too), only with a Ouya controller offered as an optional purchase.

And, personally, I like my Roku 3 a lot better (very easy to side-load apps on a Roku). The games on a Fire Box look better than most Ouya fare, but the best of them still looked like PS2 games. My PS4 does a much better job in that department.

It also doesn't help that the remote is blutooth only, meaning (like my PS4, but unlike my Roku), I can't use my Harmony remote with it.

Re:Sounds like a Steam Box (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 7 months ago | (#46654885)

Riiight, because Steam isn't a closed garden (???).

Re:Sounds like a Steam Box (2)

almitydave (2452422) | about 7 months ago | (#46655207)

Steam, the distribution platform, is a closed garden. SteamOS, and the Steam Machines, are not. See http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamMachines/ [steampowered.com] .

Can I hack this box? Run another OS? Change the hardware? Install my own software? Use it to build a robot?
Sure.

Re:Sounds like a Steam Box (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 7 months ago | (#46655533)

Riiight, because Steam isn't a closed garden (???).

123AHSD712UQWJASDJQWU1238129000XZC0ZX0CZX0C0ZXC0AD0ASDASD

Android, No? (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 7 months ago | (#46651137)

...so the trick becomes -- do you want to write an app where the primary input isn't touch.

Re:Android, No? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651191)

It's all the power of Android with all the UI options of a television!

...

Pass.

Re:Android, No? (1)

almitydave (2452422) | about 7 months ago | (#46655421)

Android is sufficiently powerful for certain tasks, and TV's typically have a good (easy and intuitive) UI.

We've been hearing for a while about how casual games are the new norm, at the expense of the serious gamer/console market. We're also seeing "internet TV" functionality on high-end consoles. So this seems to fit that niche perfectly. It's less expensive and power hungry (as if anyone really cared about that - do they?).

I could see this working nicely for someone who wants to replace cable, and likes casual games more than OMG Graphics [wikipedia.org] or Super Violence V [wikipedia.org] , as long as the games are good. If the games are crap, then it's just an expensive Roku or Chromecast.

Depends on your games revenue model... (3, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 7 months ago | (#46651149)

If it's ad based, then getting in front of more eyeballs via Android and derivatives is the way to go.

If it's depending upon purchases or in-app purchases then iOS is the platform to concentrate on first.

news.dice.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651179)

That last link points to news.dice.com. Am I the only one who dislikes such a link (without a disclaimer)?

Re:news.dice.com (0)

glasshole (3569269) | about 7 months ago | (#46651405)

Can't say I'm exactly a fan either.

Re:news.dice.com (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651789)

That last link points to news.dice.com. Am I the only one who dislikes such a link (without a disclaimer)?

Nope. Nerval's Lobster is the pen name of they guy who wrote a ton of articles on (the now apparently defunct) SlashBI. He gets a ton of stories posted [slashdot.org] (several of which link back to news.dice.com) but doesn't actually participate in the community [slashdot.org] .

Additional related link [techrights.org]

Re:news.dice.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46653433)

Being downmodded? No big surprise there. Between daily shill posts being passed off as legitimate posts from fake community members (Nerval's Lobster) to stories posted from other fake community members whose only contribution is one accepted story [slashdot.org] that was posted 30 minutes [slashdot.org] after it was submitted, it's pretty clear that slashdot no longer wants or needs contributions from its actual users.

Useless outside of the USA (4, Interesting)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46651193)

Why would someone buy a FireTV in other countries? Even in Canada, we don't get things like Hulu, Amazon Streaming, etc. All we have is the Canadian version of Netflix which has, at best, 20% of the library available to the USA.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 7 months ago | (#46651263)

I have not found this answer yet (have not tried too hard, though): can it mount nfs and smb shares and play back from NAS; or is this 'streaming (from wan) only'?

if its streaming only, then I have 0 interest in this. streaming is nice but the must-have is to be able to properly mount and play smb and nfs content and also not care about how the content was encoded (some hardware playback devices only play certain settings-enabled content; if the encoder was using 'odd' parameters, quite a lot of hardware players will have problems).

if this can fully replace my win7 box or linux box using vlc, that's great. to play amazon prime HD, an atom cpu is not going to cut it (I get lots of pauses) and a core 2 duo is the very minimum to play HD over amazon; and even then, the laptop fan spins very loud during playback.

a nice fanless hardware player would be welcome but only if it can fully replace my software based player.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | about 7 months ago | (#46651659)

I have not found this answer yet (have not tried too hard, though): can it mount nfs and smb shares and play back from NAS; or is this 'streaming (from wan) only'?

if its streaming only, then I have 0 interest in this. streaming is nice but the must-have is to be able to properly mount and play smb and nfs content and also not care about how the content was encoded (some hardware playback devices only play certain settings-enabled content; if the encoder was using 'odd' parameters, quite a lot of hardware players will have problems).

if this can fully replace my win7 box or linux box using vlc, that's great. to play amazon prime HD, an atom cpu is not going to cut it (I get lots of pauses) and a core 2 duo is the very minimum to play HD over amazon; and even then, the laptop fan spins very loud during playback.

a nice fanless hardware player would be welcome but only if it can fully replace my software based player.

No, but it does support Plex. Install the Plex Server on your computer and it will automatically transcode your library on the fly to a format that any supported device supports. It also automatically finds meta-data.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 7 months ago | (#46651721)

transcode? no thanks. that's not any way forward.

players should play any format and play it well. if a movie is encoded in a format, it took time and effort and to just re-encode again on top of that is so wrong I can't begin to explain..

this is what keeps me using software players like vlc. whatever encode was used, it does not matter, vlc (and others like it) can play it. hardware based players (that rely mostly on bluray based video decoders and hdmi encoders) often work well when the format is to their liking, and badly in all other cases.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 7 months ago | (#46651765)

transcode? no thanks. that's not any way forward.

players should play any format and play it well.

Agreed. Plex has its place, but why complicate things unnecessarily? I was looking to see if this had file and network storage support, looks like the base version does not.

I wonder, if the Fire is truly android based, if a version of XBMC or other player software could eventually come to fruition.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

Caedite Eos (2769585) | about 7 months ago | (#46652359)

Given the benefits of Plex - automatic download of info, sorting, presentation, etc, etc - and the fact that it runs beautifully on a power sipping pogoplug - running Debian, or Archlinux - there is no reason not to run Plex. There are many other benefits in having a very low power box running Linux.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 7 months ago | (#46652719)

If you have clients that don't need DLNA or transcoding, IMO, there is no reason to have PLEX. Its not for everyone. Transcoding = quality loss. Also, I would never purchase a pogoplug, as it would add zero value to my system. There may be benefits to some, but everyone's needs are different.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

bberens (965711) | about 7 months ago | (#46652337)

I run a Plex server and connect to it remotely via my phone. My phone can definitely play 1080p video, but my cell connection generally isn't going to stream fast enough. Having plex transcode on the fly means that the video is playable vs not.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46656635)

Plex also acts as a DLNA server. Most, if not all Plex clients can request a direct stream. No transcoding required. It's an option if you want it, not a requirement.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 7 months ago | (#46651989)

a nice fanless hardware player would be welcome but only if it can fully replace my software based player.

At this point, I'm not really interested in a device for there. As it stands I've got a win8 box; the netflix metro app is about the only thing genuinely good about metro :)

I've got XBMC now for video playback. (VLC is great, but fails at usability at 10 feet)

And I've got a pair of xbox 360 wireless controllers paired to it, along with Steam big picture mode.

Its only slightly less user friendly to use those 3 applications than a dedicated device would be. (mostly due to it being a bit clutzy to switch between them).

The games library is steam for windows... so... HUGE.

And its a full desktop OS, so I can do other things with it as well; playstation one emulator, NES emulator, torrent client, etc. these things are a bit of a pain to get going at 10 feet (particularly configuration, setup, etc) but its infinitely more flexible.

For anyone on slashdot I can't imagine why you'd go with anything else (although you might prefer linux or win7. I went windows because I want the bigger steam library, and I went with because I had a license available... although the netflix app, like i said, is quite good.

For my parents... yeah... I'd probably recommend an appliance. And in point of fact they do have an apple tv.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46652297)

I've been using a WDTV Live for over a year now with no complaints. It doesn't support Amazon Prime as of yet (my Bluray player does so no issue there) but it does connect to SMB and NFS shares just fine and I've thrown all sorts of files at it with a high success rate of them playing without an issue. It's also one of the few devices I've seen that supports Shoutcast Radio.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 7 months ago | (#46652651)

The interesting thing for me is: Will it play movies off of a USB hard drive? Right now, I rip DVDs that I own to MP4 and put them on a USB hard drive. I hook that up to my Roku box and it plays those movies. (I'd keep them in MKV format, but Roku has issues with MKV. I've had much more luck with MP4. It's an extra conversion step, but it works.)

Amazon's box has a USB port but (according to the reviews at least) it doesn't use it. Could USB support be coming in a firmware update? If so, this might be a tempting buy.

Whatever happens, though, it's nice to see more competition on the OTT setup box front. More competition means better products for less (or the same) money and this is good for consumers. If only for that reason, I welcome Amazon into the market.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

jomcty (806483) | about 7 months ago | (#46654341)

Sounds like you want a WD TV Live [wdc.com] . It can mount NFS & SMB, and act as an SMB server as well, sharing any attached HD. It has played every downloaded video file I've thrown at it.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

blackjackshellac (849713) | about 7 months ago | (#46651273)

Free Trade! Unless the media content holders disagree or have some bizarre unwarranted suspicion that you come from a country of copyright infringers, as they obviously believe all Canadians (and all the rest of you) to be.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46652167)

I'm all for free trade but not the way the Canadian government is doing it.

Negotiations are in secret with only corporate input; citizens are not allowed input. If you want the latest trade agreement you have to accept GMO food but you can't label it as such and you must accept US copyright laws on medicine.

There are other much worse things in the Pacific trade agreement but the Canadian gov is prepared to sell your rights away without even letting you see what and why.

DNS VPN (1)

brunes69 (86786) | about 7 months ago | (#46652103)

Unless you subscribe to unblock-us or unotelly or one of the other DNS VPN providers, then you can watch all of that in Canada as well.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about 7 months ago | (#46653475)

Yea, but you can get that 20% of the content like 10 times faster than the USA.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | about 7 months ago | (#46655829)

Get a vpn for $40 (American) a year. Problem solved.

Re:Useless outside of the USA (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 7 months ago | (#46656617)

I don't see the issue. Amazon.ca isn't selling the device. Canada's population is about 1/10th of the USA, it's less affluent, and streaming services are less common, so it's not like American devices need the Canadian market to succeed. There are a million devices that are initially released in only one country, this will make it one million and one.

I'm sure Amazon would love to make more money, if this does well and if Canadian streaming services get larger they will probably sell this in Canada.

No controller, Not worth it (4, Interesting)

bluescrn (2120492) | about 7 months ago | (#46651199)

If it shipped with their game controller, it might be worth considering. But the controller is an optional extra...

Answer... (3, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#46651207)

Short answer: no.

Long answer: Nooooooooooooooooooooo.

Honestly, if they are not writing for Ouya, they will not write for this.

Re:Answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651611)

Honestly, if they are not writing for Ouya, they will not write for this.

Who the fuck are Ouya again? There's the problem with your statement right there.

Amazon has the infrastructure and the marketing push. Ouya has.. well.. nothing... except for shitty hardware (i.e. the controller).

Re:Answer... (4, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 7 months ago | (#46651915)

I think it's true that Amazon does have deep pockets for an initial development push, much more so than Ouya. But even Amazon's pockets only go so deep. I wasn't exactly impressed with the launch title they showed. And if the games don't improve significantly and this thing doesn't take off, you can bet Amazon will shift that development money elsewhere eventually. Bezos maybe be a dreamer, but he's not crazy.

Re: Answer... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46653427)

It's less about deep pockets than about customer base, reputation, etc. Even a weak product by Amazon would generate massive money compared to a startup just because they can get the product out there in front of more people.

Re:Answer... (0)

mcrbids (148650) | about 7 months ago | (#46653679)

Bezos isn't crazy? How much do you want to bet on that? [amazon.com]

The Drones idea has more holes in it than an R/O water filter....

Re:Answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46660441)

Could someone please explain why my Amazon stock is plummeting? It's down almsost 15% the the past few weeks. At this rate, I won't have anything left!!

Re:Answer... (2)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 7 months ago | (#46651795)

Depends on where the developer thinks the money is. Ask anyone on the street if they have heard of Ouya. My bet is almost no one will know who or what Ouya is. Then ask them if they have heard of Amazon. I'm guessing a very large percentage, probably over 90%.

Amazon has tons of money they can devote towards marketing for such a device. Far more than Ouya could dream of. So one could surmise that FireTV will have far more exposure and therefore has the potential to become a lucrative platform. It's certainly worth the risk.

Re:Answer... (1)

Collective 0-0009 (1294662) | about 7 months ago | (#46652155)

Agreed. Never heard of Ouya until now. Been using Amazon for years.

But I am still not convinced it's going to be a huge gaming platform. Needs to be bundled with controller for that.

Re:Answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46653775)

If you've never heard of the Ouya, you haven't been reading Slashdot [slashdot.org] very long.

Re:Answer... (4, Insightful)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 7 months ago | (#46653907)

The majority of consumers don't read Slashdot.

Re:Answer... (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 7 months ago | (#46658853)

To be fair, neither do the majority of Slashdot commenters.

Given it's Android... (3, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 7 months ago | (#46651213)

...I'd assume the only time that needs to be spent on development of an app that already works on Android is "Use this input device instead of a touchscreen." For some games, that'll be a problem, but for the type of FPS type thing you'd expect to play on a TV, I'd have thought it'd be simple.

So I guess the question is why are you even bothering to ask us? You'd going to have to spend a whole extra day programming. Big whoop. Just do it.

Re:Given it's Android... (2)

Anrego (830717) | about 7 months ago | (#46651367)

Agree.

The answer here seems very polarized. It's either going to be trivial or a nightmare depending on the game.

If the former and you think there's a market, do it, if the later, probably not worth it.

Re:Given it's Android... (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 7 months ago | (#46651977)

Unlike a physical controller, you have to look down at a touch input.

Even corners or center aren't always clear if you're not looking at it. Try unlocking your phone 10 times in a row without ever opening your eyes.

What about books? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651221)

Am I the only one who would like to have this as a book reader? Sit on your couch and turn the page.

Re:What about books? (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#46651311)

yes, you are the only one.

Re:What about books? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651803)

The main market for that would probably be people with poor enough eyesight that a tablet ereader can't display text big enough for them to comfortably read.

The intersection of those people and people young enough to have caught on to the whole ebook thing is probably still pretty small.

Amazon mysteries (3, Interesting)

colfer (619105) | about 7 months ago | (#46651259)

Amazon's primary interest in this device *seems* to be to drive sales on Amazon Instant, not to serve as a general purpose streamer like Roku (though it does that too). There's some confusion in the business press about what Amazon is up to, but this is a likely guess. It doesn't want to be reliant on Roku, ChromeCast, Sony, etc., and would like to have a sticky ecosystem like Apple.

The other theory is that Amazon believes users will prefer it as a premium branded product, again like Apple. The product does not need to compete with Roku on price, in that case, but does need to compete on features.

Re:Amazon mysteries (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 7 months ago | (#46651445)

My 2 cents is that walled gardens even when successful have a shelf life. If you were trying to milk the most money out of your product and have the longest lifespan I would open it up and take advantage of all the users that are willing to develop or add content for free like Roku has done.

Re:Amazon mysteries (1)

alen (225700) | about 7 months ago | (#46651593)

not surprised
best buy owns cinemanow
vudu is owned by wal mart

both are positioned to profit from a move to digital media and a drop in DVD/blu ray sales. amazon instant is like a bastard stepchild in streaming video

Re:Amazon mysteries (1)

Collective 0-0009 (1294662) | about 7 months ago | (#46652179)

Good insight. Amazon instant is a stepchild compared to others. While the Prime price is right there with Netflix, I still think at this time most consumers equate Prime with shopping, not watching. But maybe Amazon is out to change that. They had a successful promotion of prime in late 2013... if they repeat that success with Fire, they might be a market leader in a hurry.

Re:Amazon mysteries (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about 7 months ago | (#46652229)

The other theory is that Amazon believes users will prefer it as a premium branded product, again like Apple. The product does not need to compete with Roku on price, in that case, but does need to compete on features.

My guess is it's this and right now Amazon seems to be betting that people want what is basically a Roku with a whole lot less video options and a whole lot more game options. Seems like a strange bet to me and not what I would think as the people I know who have Roku (including me) aren't interested in the game part of it, which isn't much.

Lacking a point (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 7 months ago | (#46653931)

The problem here is that the product has no specific point to it - it exists *solely to produce vendor lock in*. Since it's little more than a re-badged Android TV stick [amazon.com] there's really nothing special at all about it. This, in a market space that's saturated with me-too also-rans.

It's not that Amazon's offering is horrible, it's that it's not notable in a field littered with the corpses of other not-notable failed products.

repeat after me (2)

blackjackshellac (849713) | about 7 months ago | (#46651327)

Not a threat to Apple(tm). Apple fans are the least likely to leave their chosen brand. We android users are a fickle lot though, and I'll jump ship in a millisecond to Ubuntu if Shuttleworth can get his shit together on the mobile platform. Until the next thing comes along that tweaks my interest.

Re:repeat after me (2)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 7 months ago | (#46651663)

As someone up thread said, if your model depends on ad revenue (in app ads), then Android. If it's app purchase revenue, then Apple.

Which also makes your statement true. If you're not buying apps for the Android, you have nothing tying you to the platform. If something new comes along, you'll jump to the new sparkly because you have no money invested. With Apple, you're buying apps. So you're throwing away the money you've paid.

I have quite a few apps on my iPhone that I would have more of a problem bailing on because I've paid for them vs my Android phone that I'd punt in a hot second and without a second thought. Same as the Blackberry I used to have. The benefit was the physical keyboard but other than that, no reason to keep the BB around once I got the iPhone.

[John]

Re:repeat after me (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 7 months ago | (#46655515)

Not a threat to Apple(tm). Apple fans are the least likely to leave their chosen brand. We android users are a fickle lot though, and I'll jump ship in a millisecond to Ubuntu if Shuttleworth can get his shit together on the mobile platform. Until the next thing comes along that tweaks my interest.

This is off-topic, but I enjoy the desktop version of Ubuntu enough that I don't want to do anything that might encourage Mr. Shuttleworth to waste more resources on clutching the fifth or sixth spot in the mobile OS market after Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry and whatever the Chinese megacorporations decide on.

I like that when you donate to Canonical you can tell them how you want the donation to be spent. All on the desktop please.

INB4 Betteridge (1)

L1mewater (557442) | about 7 months ago | (#46651363)

INB4 someone posts something about Betteridge's Law of Headlines, along with a link to the Wikipedia article informing all of us for the very, very, very first time that such a thing exists.

Re:INB4 Betteridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651599)

Meta-betteridgodwin'ing still counts as betteridgodwin'ing. For shame, sir or madam.

Nobody wants this device (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651387)

Nobody wants this device to begin with, and nobody makes any money developing for Android, so this is a complete dead-in-the-water device that will only be adopted by the same boneheads who adopted the Ouya. So SquareEnix's Final Fantasy division and nobody else. (SquareEnix is the only company to put their games on pretty much every new platform, and is also the same company who has no commitment to any platform. See how FF7 and FF8, but no later games came to the PC except for the MMORPG's. One of the few companies that made anything for dead-from-the-beginning devices like the Wonderswan color, and the Ouya.)

We never saw Japanese games on American phones until the iPhone because all phones that came before it were worthless pieces of crap that were not compatible with each other beyond half assed JavaME.

Nobody wants to play that game again of building software for worthless pieces of crap that nobody actually plays games on. Nobody makes money from games on Android, and nobody plays games on SmartTV's, this is just the logical end of it.

Easy answer (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 7 months ago | (#46651497)

They develop their game to the platform that already has the most users, thus maximizing their potential profit.

This is the kind of stupid question that's asked by geeks who diss MBAs.

Re:Easy answer (2)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about 7 months ago | (#46651645)

No, it's not an easy answer, you target the platform that will have the best sales when the product is released (say, 12 months in the future). Further complicated by the fragmentation of the Android platform. So now you've got the Play store, Ouya, Fire TV, and a dozen other Android platforms that you may need to customize for, each with varying hardware specs, so it's hard to predict if your game will perform as expected. Then you compare that to the Steam ecosystem, Windows, Apple, Wii U, XBone, and Play Station.

So, smartass, what's the gameplan that's going to target the greatest number of the right kind of users while minimizing development and administrative overhead? How successful will these various platforms be a year from now, and how crowded will their various marketplaces be? How many other games on that platform will you be competing against? It's a very complicated puzzle to try and figure out.

Here's the secret key to the puzzle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46653119)

Can an end-user easily replace the flashplayer on the Fire TV?

    If not, it will die just like the Logitech Revue, because the service providers will block it by the flash ID (just like they did Google TV) and nobody wants a box that can't play Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert.

    If the end user can easily root the box and recompile the browser and flashplayer so that content providers on the web can't tell it's not a Microsoft box running Windows 8, then they'll sell a bazillion units. Somebody will publish a script for it. Otherwise, the machine is dead. There will be an initial uptake and then it'll die, so it won't have a big enough installed base to be worth writing games for it. Same as the Logitech Revue was.

Hardware (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 7 months ago | (#46651531)

Given that amazon cheaped out on the hardware, I would say 'No'.

Why in the world they chose the S4 Pro over the Snapdragon 800 (with Adreno 330) boggles the mind.

It's like when nVidia released the tegra 3 and the darn thing was outdated before it even hit the shelves.

To be honest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651533)

Any game developer is foolish not to spend 5 minutes thinking about this question. However, given the current gaming landscape, the Vita TV looks like the most ideal place to invest some time if you're targeting gaming on a Television, without specifically also targeting mobile gaming, and also not looking to do something big enough for a "big 3 console" launch. (No, I don't include PC gaming since the overwhelming majority of PC gamers don't play their PC games on their TV.)

So... No.

amazonFireTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651557)

Here's few bonus features: http://bitly.com/Amazonfiretv #AmazonFireTV

Amazon Prime (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651711)

The Amazon Fire TV requires a Prime membership to get the maximum value from the device. Without the Prime membership (and extra $100 a year), the device is drastically hamstrung compared to an Apple TV or a Roku.

If you have an Amazon Prime membership already, this device is fantastic.

If you don't have an Amazon Prime membership, this device will add a notable expense to your yearly entertainment budget.

If you live in pretty much any country other than the US, you're buying a device that is severely hamstrung due to the lack of Amazon Prime benefits such as streaming video. You know, the point of this device.

Until Amazon overcomes that final scenario - the lack of value/availability of Amazon Prime outside the US, this device will have a very small and focused target market. If you already pay for an Amazon Prime membership then this device is awesome. For everyone else, the choice is heavily skewed towards an Apple TV or a Roku and away from a Fire TV.

Seriously, how much value does this device have without access to video streaming via Amazon Prime? Somebody within Amazon should have ensured that they had an acceptable answer to that question before launching this device. DOA outside the US.

Re:Amazon Prime (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46651955)

I have a Prime membership and even I'm not interested. I can already stream my Prime videos just fine on my Roku3, so why would I need this thing?

Re:Amazon Prime (2)

Collective 0-0009 (1294662) | about 7 months ago | (#46652193)

I have a Prime membership and even I'm not interested. I can already stream my Prime videos just fine on my Roku3, so why would I need this thing?

Because you don't already have one like the other 90+% of Americans?

Re:Amazon Prime (2)

terryo (689471) | about 7 months ago | (#46652261)

I just bought a FireTV box even though I have a Roku. If it works out, then I won't replace the Roku when it dies. I had a Chromecast but it didn't get used and took up a connection on the tv, so I gave it away.
I don't like buying apps on Amazon for my Android phone and tablet but I plan on buying some solitaire, poker and puzzle type games for a disabled family member, things that can be played with the remote. It will be convenient to check the weather or headlines or YouTube (which is pretty limited on the Roku 2). I suppose if developers don't want to enable their casual games for the remote, it won't matter too much as long as the Internet apps and media streaming work as advertised. I do have Prime and lots of Kindle books - I suppose some of the enhanced ebooks might be kind of a novelty on the television if you have younger kids.

Re:Amazon Prime (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | about 7 months ago | (#46652147)

That is a silly assessment. To get the most out of any of the devices, a consumer must have subscriptions to external services.

It's not like purchasing an AppleTV or Roku gives you free subscriptions to Netflix.

Re:Amazon Prime (1)

radish (98371) | about 7 months ago | (#46652705)

Seriously, how much value does this device have without access to video streaming via Amazon Prime?

Pretty much the same values as a Roku - you can use it to stream Netflix etc. I really don't understand your point - yes this device is more integrated into the Amazon ecosystem, but it does do the same basic things that most other similar devices do.

DLNA?!?? (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 7 months ago | (#46651885)

If this supported DLNA as a client (since I have a media server), I'd be all over this. If I owned one, I'd develop for it. Kindle owners BUY APPS. They are about on par with iOS users.

Amazon Bothers Me (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 7 months ago | (#46651927)

Who do I trust to stuff like this right? In order ...

1. Steam
2. Apple
*distant dip in confidence from here on *
3. Microsoft (oddly)
4. Google (doesn't have user's interests in mind)
*And now it gets real shaky*
5. Amazon (doesn't seem to get things "right", hard to explain)
6. Sony (trust is major factor)
7. Nintendo (doesn't seem to understand market at all)

Re:Amazon Bothers Me (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 7 months ago | (#46652181)

I noticed how EA / Origin didn't even make it onto the list.

(which I 100% agree with)

Re:Amazon Bothers Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46652185)

Who do I trust to stuff like this right? In order ...

1. Steam
2. Apple
*distant dip in confidence from here on *
3. Microsoft (oddly)
4. Google (doesn't have user's interests in mind)
*And now it gets real shaky*
5. Amazon (doesn't seem to get things "right", hard to explain)
6. Sony (trust is major factor)
7. Nintendo (doesn't seem to understand market at all)

Oh you trust Apple, Microsoft and even Google but not Amazon . How Cute!

Re:Amazon Bothers Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46655009)

of the 4 amazon has the least experience, the least established streaming audience and the highest likelihood of falling flat on its face with a product. The only thing I would change is dropping Steam down several rungs in that list as steam are purely about game distribution, they make horrible products.

History is destined to repeat itself (3, Interesting)

gladish (982899) | about 7 months ago | (#46652265)

Is it or me does it seem more and more like SunOS, IRIX, HP-UX, VMS, Digital UNIX, and so on all over again? I sometimes wonder if this is the precursor to the second coming of windows. Microsoft is the only company that seems to be trying to unify all their "stuff" across various devices/platforms.

Bad choice in name (2)

jjhall (555562) | about 7 months ago | (#46653161)

I knew the Fire TV name sounded familiar, and now I remember why. FyreTV is a set-top box for streaming pr0n delivery that advertised years ago in the back of Maxim magazine. I'd forgotten about them until Amazon reminded me, and am actually surprised to see they are still around. I wonder if Amazon will be forced to change the name of their box due to trademark concerns?

Not enough storage (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 7 months ago | (#46653337)

It only comes with 8 gigs of storage and no expansion slot. Considering that a lot of games weigh in at more than a gigabyte nowadays it's pretty obvious that no "hardcore" gamer would buy this instead of a console even if the other hardware specs were reasonably good.

EC2 Compute (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | about 7 months ago | (#46653549)

I know for certain that Amazon is building up some GPU in their compute data clusters. I wonder if they're going to start to offer a game streaming service like OnLive. That would actually be pretty cool if they did it, not only video streaming, but game streaming also.

Woah woah woah, wait... (1)

sootman (158191) | about 7 months ago | (#46653729)

You Don't Know Jack still exists? Huh.

Amazon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46654997)

Amazon!
http://de.mon.st/RyEq2/

PS Vita (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46655881)

The PS Vita is already a gaming console, and it is built by a gaming company (Sony). Sony released a small, TV plug in version in Japan several months ago. The PS Vita TV supports video streaming from Hulu. Sony just has to do a software update.

The xfinity app does not seem to be available (1)

Marrow (195242) | about 7 months ago | (#46657915)

Does anyone know if its planned? The kindle fire has it, so I am confused why their desktop fire would not have it. Xbox wants 60 bucks for another year of Gold and the only reason I still use it is the xbox xfinity app.

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