Today Amazon has announced their $99 answer to the Apple TV and Roku market. The Amazon Fire TV will be able to stream video content like Hulu Plus as well as play your favorite music, home videos and photos. That is the initial focus of the system in its base model as it only offers a voice activated remote control. For gamers however, the box opens up to something more with the addition of a secondary bluetooth gaming controller priced at $39.99.With this addition, the console opens up and allows you to play fan favorites like Minecraft: Pocket Edition and new titles like the Amazon exclusive game Sev Zero.
The core of the platform is built around the Android operating service similar to Ouya. The question still needed to be asked is how open it truly is going to be. So far all signs point to the SDK being relatively easy to port to for Android developers. Mike Hines of Amazon would basically break it down to making sure the game worked on HD screens and making sure the controller worked for it before submitting the app for review. This opens the game up to a lot of developers and seeing as how it will be sold through the marketplace, this could be controller assurance testing for those that sideload their games through the Amazon App Store market for their Ouya or other android devices.
The bulk of content is probably going to be standardized ports, but an interesting new addition is the ability to pair a touch screen device using the DIAL software. Basically, you could use a Kindle Fire or any other device supporting the software to turn your tablet into a secondary touch screen device similar to what the Wii U is doing. This will be showcased with the Sev Zero: Air Support app that pairs with the Sev Zero game to offer a secondary map that allows you to collect resources on the touch screen.
The hardware built in is a step up in the lower end market of consoles. The system will be pushing a quad-core processor with 2GB of ram. The controller itself doesn’t seem to be much more than a standard controller with the addition of a new button that allows you to track your in game progress. When people begin getting the first consoles, we’ll see how well a comparable bluetooth controller will work alongside it. Maybe you’ll be able to use your PS3/PS4 controllers instead of having to pick up Amazon’s.