News Article

Talking Point: Amazon Fire TV is an Early Warning for Console Heavyweights

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Unlikely to kill consoles, but its successors may try

When the Ouya was successfully crowdfunded, its executives talked it up as a revolution in living room gaming, promising a wonderland of fun experiences available for free or costing less than a cup of coffee; the world would move on from pricier game consoles flogging retail priced games. Like much PR talk around new gadgets there was much hyperbole, and we think it's fair to say that gamers were split between half-believing the hype and others that dismissed it out of hand. Whatever camp you were in, subsequent events have done little to live up to the boasts of Ouya's PR machine — it's been a bit of a flop.

Hype about playing Android games on the TV quickly became disappointment that you, well, play Android games on the TV. Some of Ouya's problems have been its outdated Tegra 3 chip (editor's note: this is corrected from Tegra 2, as originally stated), a controller that was widely panned, some downright awful games that were popular on social networks for the wrong reasons, and a lack of brand recognisability. Experienced gamers that have been into the hobby for more than five minutes think Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft when it comes to home consoles, while the older among us bring up names like Sega and Atari, too. Ouya as a company is currently small fry, with crowdfunding and private investment evidently not giving it the hundreds of millions of dollars (billions, even) enjoyed by other console manufacturers; it's had little ability to get its brand into the consciousness of non-gamers, or those that mainly play a little on their smart devices.

We're tempted to talk about Ouya in the past tense, which is harsh as it still exists, is a going concern and is still working on its next model. Ultimately, though, a number of the Nintendo Life editorial team weren't impressed with its merits or its potential to 'disrupt' Nintendo and Wii U when it was emerging, so we didn't really consider it in any real detail. The thinking was that micro-consoles were a fad that would struggle to gain traction, as those that want big games on their TV buy dedicated systems, and those that don't are likely happy with smart devices and in some cases, based on sales numbers, a gadget like the 3DS.

Amazon Fire TV is the latest gadget in town, however, and it's not so easily dismissed — it's a set-top box rather than a micro-console, but in gaming spheres it's been partly considered as the latter. It's been on the market for two weeks and has been the number one selling electronics product on Amazon in the U.S., to the surprise of no-one, and briefly went out of stock due to demand. We suspect a bit of PR nonsense in that latter area, to a degree, as talk of waiting lists into May have quietly dissolved and, at the time of writing, it can be ordered for $99 on Amazon.com for next day delivery. The exception is the controller, which still estimates May for delivery due to high demand — whether that delay will disappear for next day delivery, manufacturing is slow or there is actually huge demand, is unknown. It's yet to be released in Europe, so this is North America-only at the moment.

In many respects the little box is competition for Apple TV, the Roku 3 and Google's super-cheap Chromecast — these are small devices (or HDMI 'sticks' in the case of Google's product) that make any TV with a HDMI port a Smart version of itself, primarily used for streaming TV, movies and perhaps music. Utilising their own infrastructures such as iTunes and Google Play, they aim to serve as an extension to smart devices already owned, or as a cheap way for anyone to use services such as Netflix without doing so through a games console or having to buy a new TV. They're convenience products to add a little to existing products, in that case, and haven't been substantial gaming options up to now — you can display and play games using Apple TV, for example, but it's not intuitive in a way to attract mainstream consumers.

The difference with Amazon's set-top box is the fact that it has a more viable Games section in its operating system, with descriptions on its product page highlighting it as feature; most importantly it has a separate controller that can be purchased for $39.99 and used with the games on offer. These are essentially free or inexpensive smart device games on the TV, while the controller has its critics, but let's not pretend this is the same as when Ouya arrived — Amazon is a very different beast.

Though based on Android, Amazon has been using its own variation on the operating system, in the process tying its own film, music and game markets into it; these are separate from Google Play. Early reviews and industry analysis of the Fire TV suggest that Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony executives shouldn't lose too much sleep over consumers choosing a Fire TV over one of the current home consoles — for many it's likely to be a case of owning multiple devices, with this fighting for the streaming TV segment. As an early warning shot Satoru Iwata and his contemporaries should be paying some attention, however, and the image below shows why.

Amazon is an ever-present in online shopping, and has crept into internet vocabulary in the way that we may say to "google" something. When buying online, the first instinct for many is Amazon. It's that power which it has used, in recent years, to drive it own products with advertising, and is arguably one of the few advantages it has over any other technology manufacturer. We need only go back to the original Kindle eBook reader — in some respects it was an inferior piece of kit to rivals of its day, yet it was wired into Amazon's extensive eBook library, was inexpensive and had the most powerful marketing. Devices from Sony, Barnes & Noble and others were squashed as millions of online shoppers saw adverts on Amazon's website, saw the price, considered the ease of buying eBooks using their existing accounts, and likely opted for convenience. Amazon's hardware doesn't have to be the best, it simply needs to be solid and to be integrated with its account and product systems.

Fire TV does that, though not many will suggest right now that those seeking games on the TV will choose a box for that reason. Yet some will be tempted by its cheaper price, and in the micro-console space it's likely to trounce the Ouya and other crowdfunded platforms, while Sony's Vita TV is still Japan-only. What perhaps holds Amazon's system back is that its own infrastructure for TV streaming has room for improvement, and any gamer that truly wants to use it properly for playing smart device ports — though the default remote can be used to a degree — such as The Walking Dead and Minecraft will need to pay out for that controller, taking the cost to nearly $140.

Yet it's a potential future concern for the established three players, and perhaps more so Nintendo. The Wii took Nintendo back to the top with "blue ocean" strategies — a cringeworthy example of corporate-speak, perhaps — as gamers of all kinds swung Remotes or went through fitness routines; it's not unreasonable to say that a proportion of that market has now moved on to equally simple experiences on phones and tablets, albeit with more tapping and swiping than waving around of arms. Nintendo's admitted that it needs to get the messaging of the Wii U to more consumers and persuade them of why they should want the system on top of their other sources of entertainment, with challengers and rivals that barely featured in the Wii's golden early years, in particular.

There are positives and grounds for optimism from a Nintendo perspective, however. It's still unproven whether the gaming aspect of Amazon's Fire TV will take off; there's early support and various titles from Amazon's store that are included and compatible with the box and its controller, but it's unclear whether those buying the system are simply doing so to expand their TV options in streaming content, particularly. The target audience for this machine — like its contemporaries — may have little interest in the games or merely dabble. While dual-screen play is possible with Amazon tablets, it's unproven whether a sizeable userbase wants to play these sorts of games on their TV.

It also seems unlikely, at this stage, that many dedicated gamers would sacrifice a conventional home console for a set-top box, especially as systems such as the Wii U and its rivals already have apps for streaming services such as Netflix. Sony and Microsoft are probably comfortable in the knowledge that many big-name third-party titles are coming to PS4 and Xbox One, a reward for the systems' respective PC-level grunt. As for Nintendo's system we know that's not the case right now, and the big N will be reliant upon its substantial brand power — through first-party games and those of close development partners — to improve hardware sales.

Nintendo's proven before, with the 3DS, that with the right content it can defy market expectations and analysis to sell its hardware. The Fire TV, for its part, is probably a little short of being a console killer, with Amazon's own messaging sets gaming as a bonus extra. Should Apple and Google release updated set-top boxes with more of a gaming focus, and then the Fire TV 2 does likewise, then market could suddenly become more crowded. Nintendo is no doubt watching.

These are fascinating times for gaming. There are so many products screaming for our attention, comparisons to the early '80s and dozens of consoles aren't necessarily wrong. Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon, Steam and smaller competitors besides are plugging wares that are a mix of conventional retail games, premium downloads in the $10-30 range, less expensive downloads on gaming stores, $0.99 titles and free-to-play are all competing. Quality and visibility vary wildly, but the gaming market is at once bigger and more fragmented than ever.

Fascinating times, and if you're an optimist they're exciting times. The last time Nintendo was under major pressure in the home console space it ignored the HD focus of PS3 and Xbox 360, bet on motion control and sold over 100 million systems. The company is already preparing a mysterious "Quality of Life" platform to stand apart from its gaming products and talking about boosting the appeal of Wii U and its GamePad at E3 2014 and beyond. It'll be fascinating to see what the company does to bring the Wii U to the fore at retail, and even more so to see how it responds to the increasing and varying living room competition in years to come.

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User Comments (74)

Tasuki

#3

Tasuki said:

I will admit this have piqued my interest but the fact that it doesn't have WWE Network is the deal breaker for me. I might get one once the game line up is a bit better but we will see.

Also I can agree with the statements about OUYA. The only reason one would buy one is well it can't be discussed here.

gatorboi352

#4

gatorboi352 said:

Just to give you all an idea of what we're talking about here: To get the "full" Fire TV experience, you're shelling out a grand total of $260. 99 for the console, 99 for the Amazon Prime subscript and 60 for that god awful controller.

ricklongo

#5

ricklongo said:

I'll get an Amazon Fire TV later this year, mainly because I can't watch HBO Go on my Wii U. I already watch Netflix on the U all the time, but well, Game of Thrones.

I have zero interest in gaming on the Fire TV, though. I can't imagine there will be anything there to tempt me.

Mk_II

#6

Mk_II said:

Content is king. Amazon is a very succesful retailer but has no experience in generating the kind of high-quality content you'd need for a viable alternative to the Big Three.

FOREST_RANGER

#7

FOREST_RANGER said:

@Editorial You made a mistake. The OUYA console actually has an nVidia Tegra 3 SoC.

Anyway, I kinda doubt that no matter how successful this product is, it will necessarily put other consoles at danger.

kingc8

#8

kingc8 said:

As everyone says, games are all that matter.

If the games suck and there aren't any good exclusives, it's gonna fold faster than superman on laundry day.

unrandomsam

#13

unrandomsam said:

Even with just the Sega stuff. (Sonic CD/Sonic/Sonic 2/Chu Chu Rocket/Crazy Taxi /Jet Set Radio/Super Monkey Ball 2/Sonic 4 both parts/After Burner Climax and the Dotemu stuff which is Neo Geo and Arcade ports. It is a no brainer just because the cost of the system and everything for it costs so much less than even junk NES versions. (I already subscribe to prime). If they manage to get others on board that currently only do iOS then it will be even better. Depends what Amazon chooses to do. (Look at the amount of capacity they are adding each day to AWS).

They seem to be doing better when it comes to the Amazon tablets against Apple than say Microsoft has done trying to break into the smartphone market.

Yorumi

#14

Yorumi said:

Wern't smart phones supposed to spell the end for nintendo's portable division?

ricklongo

#15

ricklongo said:

@Maelstrom Really? I read somewhere that, unlike the Apple TV, this would feature HBO Go. There goes that, then. :(

An HBO Go app for the Wii U would be a godsend.

armondo36

#17

armondo36 said:

Lol funny, because a lot of people are ready to talk about NINTENDO in the past tense... ijs...

memoryman3

#19

memoryman3 said:

"Sony and Microsoft are probably comfortable in the knowledge that many big-name third-party titles are coming to PS4 and Xbox One, a reward for the systems' respective PC-level grunt. As for Nintendo's system we know that's not the case right now, and the big N will be reliant upon its substantial brand power — through first-party games and those of close development partners — to improve hardware sales."

The reason why the Ouya failed and the Wii brand lost appeal quickly....

unrandomsam

#22

unrandomsam said:

@memoryman3 The Ouya hasn't failed that badly because they are making another. If they are selling them at a profit not spending loads on marketing etc then it will be fine.

Amazon is a different thing entirely. They are more like Microsoft in that they can subsidise anything from elsewhere if necessary and for as long as they need to.

Mahe

#24

Mahe said:

Nintendo is doing a fine job killing their own console with terrible ideas like the Gamepad. No need for outside competition.

Farmboy74

#25

Farmboy74 said:

For now the big three console manufacturers are safe Amazon TV is aimed at the casual market. Amazon are just dipping their toes in the gaming market place to see what happens.

Kaze_Memaryu

#28

Kaze_Memaryu said:

I'm not expecting much of this one. Amazon doesn't know much about the ways of gaming, so they're most likely focusing on the media services. Games will just be an additional offering, not a system seller.

Chouzetsu

#29

Chouzetsu said:

I still have my Ouya plugged in. There are some pretty fun games for it, it's just that you have to wade through so much crap before finding them...

Xtremetdifan

#30

Xtremetdifan said:

I love how ever non-gaming company(or smart gadget company) that makes a product with games in it is suddenely "Nintendo's downfall" or "console gaming's nightmare" no matter how many ps4's or 3ds's that prove critics wrong everyone wants micro transitions and smart TVs to kill gaming and that just won't happen as history has shown us time and time again.

TruenoGT

#31

TruenoGT said:

Generalizing here, but it seems the only games selling consistently on consoles are the routine western, "AAA", big budget stuff, and the only games selling on mobile are the 30 second time waster games. Neither is really viable for this product, and games in-between these two extremes aren't going to satisfy either audience (other than Minecraft). I don't see much opportunity here for Amazon unless they can attract some HUGE exclusive in an existing franchise.

Slapshot

#32

Slapshot said:

Ouya was never targeting the "big three" - that was the gaming press and their wild comparisions. The Ouya team created a "disruption" in the industry, which it did, and is what the team stated they were trying to do; it started a new trend. Also, Ouya is now branching out into a digital service - without a physical console - so we could actually find Ouya on Fire TV in the future.

BinaryFragger

#33

BinaryFragger said:

@Yorumi

They may not be killing traditional handhelds but they're certainly affecting sales. The 3DS so far has sold about 40 million units three years into its life, whereas the DS was already at around 65 million at that point. In the end, the DS ended up selling over 150 million units, and even the PSP (which a lot of people incorrectly think was a failure) sold 80 million units. I doubt we'll ever see numbers like that again.

rjejr

#35

rjejr said:

@ThomasBW84 - To TW and anybody else who is interested.

Here's a forum thread I started the day fireTV was announced a couple of weeks ago:

http://www.nintendolife.com/forums/wii-u/amazon_fire_tv_new_wii_u_competition

It was a lively 4 pages of interesting back and forth w/ a few "yeah right, who are you kidding" comments sprinkled about.

My final thoughts were - Wi U could be more hurt than X1 and PS4 b/c those systems get Madden and baseball and FIFA, Wii U gets MK8 and SSB. But it all depends on what Amazon does. If there is a $99 Christmas bundle w/ the controller - "fireTV Gaming" - and it has 1,000 games by then - it only has 100 now so they aren't advertising it as a gaming console - then it becomes a problem for Wii U for parents looking to buy consoles for their kids for Christmas. If Amazon somehow gets Disney Infinity or Skylanders it could be a big problem. It needs Angry Birds first though.

And for a little history - PS2 crushed the Xbox in sales, Xbox360 had the lead over PS3 or a long while, now basically a tie. As the article says, fireTV may not be a problem this year, but fireTV 2 could be a problem next year.

rjejr

#36

rjejr said:

@ricklongo - "An HBO Go app"

I'ld buy a $199 PS3 before a $99 fireTV for streaming. It also works great for streaming off of a thumbdrive or off a PC w/ PS3 Media server (free software). It actually controls fairly well w/ the Dualshock. Also plays blurays and upscales DVDs to a faux 1080p. Even w/ games a $199 PS3 is a good deal.

Captain_Gonru

#37

Captain_Gonru said:

@Mahe I would respectfully disagree. I think the Gamepad is a fine idea. It's not USING it enough that kills it. The best games to showcase it don't get the hype they deserve (ZombiU, Lego City) and the super-hyped games (SM3W, DKTF) barely use it at all.
I'm not saying you need to shoehorn it into every game, but make sure you don't forget about it, either.

WiiULoveSquid

#38

WiiULoveSquid said:

Nintendo has a lot riding on its QOL platform to return the company to profitability. Remember, Nintendo is in the business of manufacturing, software is just the icing for its current setup. If the new platform flops then the Wii U's problems now for Nintendo will suddenly look like a walk in the park. Nintendo needs another industry to prop up and cross promote its game business through like all it's competitors have.

Psyclone

#39

Psyclone said:

@ricklongo you can watch almost everything for free on the internet.. you don't need to buy a new tv just to watch a show lol but idk that's just me I guess

ricklongo

#40

ricklongo said:

@rjejr The PS3 is significantly bulkier, though, which would be a problem in my current living room configuration. And well, if I'm not gonna play the games, might as well get the cheaper device, I think (like Apple TV, which apparently also offers HBO Go).

I do hope the Wii U roster of streaming apps grows, either way. The gamepad is great for Netflix and Youtube.

@Psyclone - Not in a legal manner, as far as I'm aware.

rjejr

#41

rjejr said:

@ricklongo - "I do hope the Wii U roster of streaming apps grows, either way. The gamepad is great for Netflix and Youtube."

Wii U has Hulu Plus also, but I keep watching it on PS3 anyway out of habit.

And I know what you mean about cheaper, my wife got a Nook HD for Christmas b/c it was $99 at Target after I swore she wouldn't get a Nook b/c B&N is a dead company and it's a dead device. but it was $50 cheaper than Kindle Fire and much cheaper than anything else - I have a Tab 2 7", and I think the Nook HD has a better screen than Tab 3, which wasn't much of an upgrade from 2.

CaviarMeths

#42

CaviarMeths said:

If Amazon's original game content is as terrible as their original TV program content, I don't think this thing is going to attract any more casual gamers than the OUYA did.

Also, small correction. The Fire TV is only available in the United States right now. Canada and Mexico have their own Amazon store (though the Mexican one seems to be just for Kindle books), where the Fire TV is not yet available. Upon further inspection, it seems that the Fire TV content can only be accessed with a US credit card (and some only with a US mailing address), so even if you import it, it's probably useless.

Amazon Canada does have a front page ad for Chromecast though ;)

Meaty-cheeky

#43

Meaty-cheeky said:

Talk trash on the OUYA as much as you want but in reality, the OUYA has a better virtual console library than Wii U.

Also anyone with a Wii U doesn't need Fire TV, since Wii U has Netflix & Amazon instant video anyways.

Cyberbotv2

#45

Cyberbotv2 said:

@ricklongo : yup. I'm still hoping Wii U adds the following apps: Crunchy Roll, WWE Network, Marvel Unlimited, etc. I was going to mention comixology but that just got swallowed by Amazon. And this Amazon device poses a threat for all consoles, especially PS4 and Xbox One. An all in one box that runs AAA 3rd party games...hmmmm....sounds familiar.

Unca_LzStaff

#47

Unca_Lz said:

I'll keep this in mind while I continue to play Nintendo's popular franchises like Mario and Pokemon..

JaxonH

#48

JaxonH said:

To get the attention of a gamer, you have to have high quality games that are top-tier in terms of fun. Amazon doesn't have that. Neither does Ouya, or any other micro-console competition. The only other entity that could prove a powerhouse in the console market is Steam, and they decidedly kept their Steambox more PC than console. If, however, they do decide to go full-board console, things could start getting VERY interesting.

64supermario

#49

64supermario said:

Honestly on TV they are barely advertising this as a game console, it seems to try and attract people who want to watch TV...kinda like the Xbox One did.

Blue_Yoshi

#50

Blue_Yoshi said:

I got the Ouya, its not that abd its just that devs really have to work hard to get out decent quality titles. It can't be one or two man teams there needs to be full on development in order to push the specs to its limits.

Action51

#51

Action51 said:

@64supermario - I was thinking the XBONE tried this marketing strategy and came up with a box that irritated many "hardcore gamers" through it's inclusion of Kinect 2.0 and focus on TV for it's early marketing. At the same time, the "dudebro" image and hefty price tag of $500 + annual subscription fees scared away casual consumers and streamers,

In the end, I think this Amazon Fire console is more of a competition to Apple, Roku, and those who still use their Wii as primarily a Netflix box.

Will an Amazon Fire II with more powerful hardware and stronger gaming "cred" be another console challenger? That's very difficult to predict.

Ernest_The_Crab

#53

Ernest_The_Crab said:

@BinaryFragger Well that being said we have no idea how much that's actually affecting sales.

The DS when it first came out would have been considered a different type of product from the 3DS. Its marketing and design would most likely have classifed it as an "innovative" product vs an "incremental change", which the 3DS is closer to. Depending on the product type, the life cycle and sales could be VERY different. This can also be directed towards the Wii/Wii U difference in sales as well.

Another factor is that the initial launch period of the 3DS occurred during a recession AND a natural disaster in its homeland.

Not to say mobile devices haven't affected the market, but each one of the above mentioned factors have large impacts as well. It's hardly ever one factor; the markets are not THAT predictable, especially on a global scale.

Farmboy74

#54

Farmboy74 said:

@unrandomsam, I agree with your point about the Wii Wii U being aimed at the casual market. But that market has moved to mobile and at this moment in time that is the market Kindle Fire TV is aimed at, when they finely get round to releasing the controller.
Like I said in the forum on this issue if they give the Kindle Fire streaming and gamepad functionality for Fire TV in their next revision it will make things very interesting as the casuals will be able to play Candy Crush on the big screen.

Pod

#55

Pod said:

Again with the second screen integration of devices not sold together?

Nintendo is so far the most successful seller of second-screen integration technology, and even they are being ridiculed for their LACK of success with the idea.

erv

#56

erv said:

Wow, very accurate title.

And yes, exciting times :) I'll be going where nintendo is going as long as they are the uncompromising quality gaming company. It's the games that matter, the platforms are, well, the platforms.

Windy

#57

Windy said:

1 word GAMES. Which system is getting the best and the most. I don't think its going to be Nintendo. Nintendo has alienated itself from quite a few major players. You can cry about it but EA is one of them. If it was obvious that Fire TV was getting all the games people would flock to it. Games are what make thee system and well....The Wii-U isn't Cutting it.

tovare

#58

tovare said:

I need three things from consoles: 1. The exact same gaming experience the game designers intended. 2. Pick up and play. 3. Extremely playable, tested and tuned experience. (If i'm going to invest $10000 worth of time, it doesn't matter if the game is $1 or $100 as long as it deliveres. )

arkady77

#59

arkady77 said:

damn straight tovare.
people whinge about the cost of the software but if its worth the time its worth the money. you dont see people complain about the price of a copy of war and peace. mind you that is the equivalent of open source software.

WalupeachyTime

#60

WalupeachyTime said:

Personally, I don't think the Amazon Fire TV, the Ouya or the other microconsoles will be much of a problem to Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft. I think the experiences from each type of console are too different to really think one is going to make the other's future problematic.

fraenki

#62

fraenki said:

Remember, Amazon acquired video gaming studio Double Helix Games back in february...

zool

#64

zool said:

"get the messaging of the Wii U to more consumers"

First they need to get the message across to existing Wii u owners.

We believed the first message about the Wii u, when it was launched... so what is this new 'message' that needs to be told ??????????

BulbasaurusRex

#66

BulbasaurusRex said:

I have little interest in cheap mobile games. Despite the cheap prices, I find most of the games to be incredibly shallow even compared to many eShop titles, and that's even before considering how much button controls improve the experience. My money will continue to fund only gaming devices that mainly support the full gaming experience.

Platypus101

#68

Platypus101 said:

@Farmboy74 casuals... What is it that you personally know about them? How many do you speak with? Me? Quite a few! Casuals are done with console gaming. In the words of over 100 random people on the street, they have simply moved on or do t have the time (in many cases they responded with "there's something comforting about holding a cell phone" I'm paraphrasing, but that's how it comes off... :( let's forget about those that have discarded our hobby and concentrate on the coming generation of new gamers :)

Platypus101

#69

Platypus101 said:

@MusicLov3r @Captain_Gonru @Mahe to e fair @Mahe has NEVER liked the gamepad... No idea why. (Sorta fishing for a reply) :P I personally love the gamepad (seriously, I sometimes forget to turn on the TV to actually play!) Star Wars pinball plays excellent on the pad.

TheRealThanos

#70

TheRealThanos said:

WARNING: TL:DR material coming up right below!
Don't say I didn't warn you, but thanks in advance if you do take the time to read it. This touches upon my area of expertise, so logically, I do like to talk about it.
At length... ;) So, here we go...

Market segments will shift, but in my opinion these kind of devices being a real and serious threat to dedicated consoles (or even handhelds) is a long, LONG way off. And that is just in general. The Ouya has some nice games, but most will probably use it for what @Tasuki didn't want to mention: let's just say it's the Ouya's none too legal version of the virtual console, something that the team behind the Ouya was even openly advertising at the time of it's reveal.
Besides that most if not all of the accompanying controllers absolutely and totally suck, and even the controller that the Steambox (the only system I would be interested in) is apparently opting for, doesn't exactly inspire me with confidence. Although I haven't been able to try one yet, so I can't give a final verdict on it. And besides, they will also give the option to add your own controllers because the Steambox offers USB ports, so if you really don't like the controller, you could use your own. As for Amazon, it is big, but not as big as some of you might think.
Just to paint a clear picture for you to be able to go along in my story/train of thought: I'm an American, but I have been living and working in several countries for over 30 years and in the end chose to settle in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. (great city, by the way) But to the point: here, and in the Benelux at large, Amazon is small fries and means next to nothing. There are several other big warehouses (both online and physical) that are WAY bigger. Same goes for other countries like a big part of Scandinavia and I can well imagine plenty of other countries not having Amazon as it's biggest online warehouse contender.
Consoles and the companies that make them are WAY more integrated throughout the world, so that is a hurdle that Amazon (or any other contender to the throne, if they could even be considered as such, and I don't think so) should take first, so at the very least they will not succeed with this first version of their box, and even the second one is only going to shift some market share. And it is not just because Amazon isn't a worldwide contender: same goes for the additional services offered on boxes like this: they are either very expensive around here (HBO) or are very limited in what they offer (Netflix). Before Netflix is going to be a success in the Benelux, they would really have to up their game in a MAJOR way. They aren't anywhere NEAR being in the same league as their American sibling. Another VERY important factor is of course the various high profile and console exclusive games and IP's that they will NEVER be able to offer.
Also, the shift in market share comes mostly from people that haven't grown up with dedicated game consoles and arguably people that are fed up with some aspects of dedicated game consoles, be they price point of the console, price point of the games, number of games released on it, type of games released on it. Or just add your own reason for not being as interested in dedicated consoles anymore if I didn't mention it. As for the people not really "used" to consoles anymore, just look around your own circle of friends or family, I'm pretty sure you will have had similar experiences: nowadays, all kids from 3 years and up are glued to either a tablet or anything similar that starts with "smart". If they can press a button or move their fingers across a touch screen in a somewhat coordinated manner, they can learn to play a game, so for them, there is no need for a "complicated" controller with all these buttons and sticks, nor is there a need for a big, immobile screen to play these games on.
There's a couple of little runts between 3 and 10 in my family displaying those exact symptoms, and some of them have even managed to smash or break their new toy and their parents eventually just end up buying them another one because they are relatively cheap, especially compared to the real deal of a full blown console, so the choice for most parents is somewhat obvious. And of course there's the comfortability factor: you can take a bunch of tablets/smart devices just about anywhere with you, because it doesn't take up too much space and they are versatile in the various types of entertainment they offer, so it's the perfect thing to keep the kids happy during the trip and on vacation or on a visit to family that they aren't interested in. (read: old people that just want to squeeze their cheeks/pat them on the head and compliment them on their apparent growth)
To do the same with a console would be far more inconvenient, although me and my friends have done that more than enough times, especially on a winter sports vacation. But to be honest, that was mostly WAY before the smart device era and the console that got the most playtime in foreign locations back then (besides handhelds, obviously) was the N64. Blame Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64... Good times...
Anyway, for me as an old gamer (not glued to a smart device but to an Atari 2600 when I was young) the dedicated console will always be number one and NOTHING will replace it. Smart boxes like the Amazon offering will at the most be a second or third choice for experiences not being offered on these consoles. And if consoles start to change even more and also start to offer more of these services that are similar, then my interest in these set top smart device boxes will once again dwindle into oblivion, because I'm really not into most of these snack bite smart games at all, so only deep and profound experiences will tempt me into buying one, but only AFTER I have invested in the new Nintendo console and any one of the other two, just to have all my bases covered. Or the Steambox, we'll have to wait and see. So, am I worried about the foreseeable future (let's say this and the coming generation) of dedicated consoles? Nah...

unrandomsam

#71

unrandomsam said:

@TheRealThanos Look at what is currently available on the Amazon Appstore from just Dotemu / Sega / SNK (More that I like than either 3DS or Wii U VC). Consoles are what I had but the Arcades was always what I wanted. (For certain anyway if it is NES or Arcade I always want the Arcade version). If Capcom decide to go in for it I would have all their CPS games and the new Megaman Ports. The controller is not an issue you can use whatever you want. 360 controller / 360 fight stick. It is also much better specs than the Vita TV. Amazon are still working out what they are going to do. The money they are investing in datacentres dwarfs game development costs.

Steambox is interesting because it has a reasonable amount of power. (Even more so if EA take up the offer to put their stuff on it separate to Valves not that I am personally bothered about it but it will make it more viable as a platform). Both the PS4 / Xbone are utter garbage (I never realised the extent until I looked what the Tomb Raider port is like on it. It is not even close to the older PC version).

iOS is interesting as well. (At least the hardware is getting exponentially better instead of holding things back for 7 years at a time.)

Nintendo doesn't seem interested in going back to the NES level of difficulty which is all they would need to do really for me.

Most of the people who I know who play Nintendo are either over 30 or under about 12 and it is too easy for both groups. (Under 12 the only way to do it is to have all your games bought for you but getting bought a game a week is getting spoilt as far as I am concerned). The Nintendo experience now is watered down like everything else.

If there was a modern system that was like the Neo Geo was back in the day I would go for that now. (Games on SSD's or flash memory copied to a ramdisk don't like optical disks). Miles better than anything else. Its all poor quality Nintendo / MS / Sony cheap and nasty. (But priced as if it is a premium thing).

If in order to have a decent input lag Wii U setup I didn't need to replace my TV then I would probably have one already. (Don't think I will ever get a better TV its RRP is something ridiculous like £1499 but Plasma's are not fashionable but 30ms over HDMI should be enough and it is for any system other than Nintendo's).

TheRealThanos

#72

TheRealThanos said:

@unrandomsam As far as wanting the arcade in your home I can agree with you. Don't know about the investments of Amazon, nor do I care. I do think that there's a couple of game studios or rather titles that have budgets to match that, these franchises are simply too big to not have a huge budget.
The tablet issue is irrelevant to me: never liked them as a gaming device and I never will. No matter how powerful, they will never be a true game console and more importantly (like I said before) they will NEVER have the interesting IP's that are tied to each console. Furthermore, I don't like the tacked on (blue tooth/USB dongle) controller option. I would still want to be able to connect it to a big screen, because I hate gaming with a tablet on my lap or with a kick stand on a table, and especially on vacation connecting one to a bigger screen is not always possible, because not every hotel or apartment in whatever foreign location has modern TV's. To me, tablets are just pacifiers for kids, because they are, unfortunately, used to them and have no idea what true gaming systems are. Oh, and I loathe iOS or Apple. Never been interested in any of their products.
I do agree with you to an extent that the current HD twins are rather underwhelming, so I haven't yet bought either one. Yet they still have some titles coming up that I may be interested in, and since they won't come out on a Nintendo console or PC, I might have to buy one in the near future anyway.
As for input lag: never experienced it myself, on any console. I have a 42" Panasonic Viera Full HD plasma screen (bought it for a €1000) and it works perfectly in conjunction with all my consoles. The Wii U GamePad has an (for normal humans) unnoticeable "lag" of only one frame in every sixty, so you'd need to be superhuman or would have to use something to measure that to detect it.
With that being the case, simply knowing that it has "lag" might disturb some extremist purists simply for the sake of being able to nag about it because it isn't perfect, but to me it is totally absurd to be annoyed by something that insignificant. And it is not even present in all games, nor is it an issue because such a minute discrepancy will definitely NOT harm your reaction time on screen.
And another thing why it's a moot point: there's also the delay between what your brain registers and what your hand does. Talk about lag... ;)

SahashraLA

#73

SahashraLA said:

It would be nice to live in 'the golden land' aka the United States (at least a third of these services are gimped if you live anywhere else) or to have an IP that doesn't throttle and micro manage their customers' bandwidth, but Amazon Fire TV is really just alot of hidden costs and apps. Most new televisions, any PC and a whole host of Blu-ray players (all available long before this latest 'mini set top box' rage began) have as many if not more options. It's nice to centralize and Amazon's marketplace has been far kinder to me than eBay, but their video service is atrocious and Prime has proven to be entirely useless.

Gingadreadman

#74

Gingadreadman said:

The controller isn't even included. This shows how much Amazon care about gaming. And this doesn't interest me as it won't have titles like The Legend of Zelda, Mario and Pokemon.

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