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News  3, Apr 2014

Something’s burning within Amazon: the Fire TV

The online store giant announced its set-top box which supports games and stream videos for US$99

The future of gaming? Image credit: Amazon

With gamers wowed by the livestream and processing power of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (outside of Asia, at least), it seems that the current landscape of digital entertainment is set for now between the two. At least until Amazon made an announcement that could shake up the entire market.

The online store behemoth revealed its Amazon Fire TV set-top box recently, which is available right now for shipping. What does it do and how does it do digital entertainment differently? Let’s break it down:

- It streams videos and plays games.

- It’ll run you US$99.00.

- It is designed to run circles around Apple TV and Roku, thanks to its 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Krait 300 CPU, 2GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage.

- It also comes with a dual-band wireless radio plus two antennas for 1080p streaming over 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. All of these aforementioned specs fit in a 0.7 inch-thick black box.

- Apps and subscription services for the device include Amazon Instant Video (no surprise there), Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and a lot more. We suspect that the device may not utilize these subscriptions outside of the US due to region and IP locking.

Totally not competing with current consoles at all, even with this controller. Nope. Image credit: Amazon

Read Also: April Fools’ Day Gaming Edition: Who tricked you yesterday?

- Amazon is also selling a controller for the Fire TV, called the Amazon Fire Game Controller. It looks like a standard controller following the Xbox 360 controller template and it’s sold separately for US$39.99 (coming to a grand total of US$138.99 plus tax). If you feel some deja vu looking at it, click here to find out why. 

- Getting the controller means an extra 1,000 Amazon Coins that is used to buy games, apps and in-app purchases.

- The current library of games for the device include Minecraft- Pocket Edition, NBA 2K14, and an endless runner using the Monsters University brand. The sole original title that’s in development by the brand-new Amazon Game Studios is a first-person-slash-tower-defense game called Sev Zero. Do note that Double Helix Games (who did the Strider reboot for Capcom early this year) is part of the Amazon Game Studios team.

- All games on Fire TV will start at US$0.99 and will average at US$1.85. Publishers involved in pushing out games for the new device include Disney, Double Fine Productions, Sega, Telltale Games, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and 2K Games. Those are some big name publishers, and the pricing model may give the console a leg up in terms of the current competition.

- It’s not planning to compete against current-gen gaming consoles, at least not directly. Its tech is meant for customers who play games on smartphones and tablets. Remember a while back when Apple said that the iPhone wasn’t originally suppose to be a mobile gaming device? Thought so.

- Apart from running using Bluetooth, the Fire TV Remote has integrated voice search.

- So what other things can the Fire TV do? It can predict your TV-watching patterns and cues up recommendations with the Advanced Streaming and Prediction feature, instantly access photos on the Amazon Cloud Drive, and allow you to search up on actors and film details while you’re watching movies with the X-Ray movie and TV service.

That’s what we know so far. It’s exciting times, as a new tech challenger of sorts from an established brand name is available in the market right now like a sucker punch to the face. Stay tuned to e27.co for more information about the device and the game developers who will be partnering up with the company.

Jonathan Toyad

Jonathan Toyad

If you want an elaborate answer on who would win in a fight between Ultraman and Godzilla, Jonathan Toyad is your man. A six-year veteran in the game journalism industry, he did words and videos for outlets such as GameSpot, GameAxis, IGN and Stuff.TV. Fears coyotes and scorched earths.

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