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Amazon readying Android console

Amazon readying Android console

Amazon's console would be joining a growing Android console market including the Ouya and the Nvidia Shield.

Online retailing giant Amazon is rumoured to be readying its own Android console for release by the end of the year.

Anonymous sources talking to Game Informer state that the console will have its own dedicated controller and is likely to be released by Black Friday.

The system will use Amazon's own highly successful app store that is already used by the Kindle Fire tablet. The app store offers up a different paid app for free every day, a feature which the console will also be able to access.

Although Amazon has refused to confirm or deny the rumour, it is definitely interested in the video game market. Earlier this year it launched a digital distribution platform for indie titles on PC and Mac, designed to not just sell the games but to try and help them reach a broader audience through the use of an "indie spotlight" feature on the site.

Rumours that Google were developing a similar console did the rounds a couple of months ago with speculation that Google's plans were allegedly to rival an expected console release from Apple as part of its next Apple TV product.

The Amazon console would join a growing number of other Android consoles in the market. The notorious Kickstarter-funded Ouya has been the first of its kind out of the gate, though it has received mixed reviews. The $99 price point has proved attractive but the major criticism has been a lack of games to draw in players. Being an open source system however has made it an attractive device for the emulation scene.

The Nvidia Shield, another Android console, also saw its release at the end of last month and like the Ouya has received a mixed critical reception. The $300 handheld console faces criticism that the system is too pricey considering its lack of games.

Last week, Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250m. He claims however that he has bought this in a personal capacity as opposed to rolling the publication into Amazon.

7 Comments

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barny2767 12th August 2013, 10:12 Quote
Looks like everyone wants to make some quick cash from android consoles.

How many of these will have a more powerful version in 6-12 months and slowly force people to upgrade by stopping new game from coming out on the older console saying there's performance issues.
Gareth Halfacree 12th August 2013, 11:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by barny2767
How many of these will have a more powerful version in 6-12 months and slowly force people to upgrade by stopping new game from coming out on the older console saying there's performance issues.
Well, I don't know about anyone else, but you've just described Ouya's business model to a T.
Corky42 12th August 2013, 11:17 Quote
Seems odd that people say Android devices lack games, as there are around 300 available.
edzieba 12th August 2013, 14:17 Quote
There are likely more than 300 available. However, the majority are designed to by played on small touchscreens, not on a large screen at a distance with a controller. And even for the ones that are control-scheme agnostic, they were made as mobile games. They're made to be played in short segments of instant-gratification, not over longer periods as you would with a sit-down console.

When you try and turn basic minigames with a handful of gameplay mechanics into full-fledged games, you get the Wii. That worked once, but people are wise to it now (e.g. the total failure of the WiiU, Ouya, etc).

It may just be a case of someone breaking the catch 22 (no games because no successful Android consoles, no successful Android consoles because no games), but the Ouya was ideally placed to break this and has still failed to gain significant traction.
schmidtbag 12th August 2013, 17:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
There are likely more than 300 available. However, the majority are designed to by played on small touchscreens, not on a large screen at a distance with a controller. And even for the ones that are control-scheme agnostic, they were made as mobile games. They're made to be played in short segments of instant-gratification, not over longer periods as you would with a sit-down console.

When you try and turn basic minigames with a handful of gameplay mechanics into full-fledged games, you get the Wii. That worked once, but people are wise to it now (e.g. the total failure of the WiiU, Ouya, etc).

It may just be a case of someone breaking the catch 22 (no games because no successful Android consoles, no successful Android consoles because no games), but the Ouya was ideally placed to break this and has still failed to gain significant traction.

I agree entirely.

What you described is where Nvidia's Shield has really separated itself as an android console - they acknowledged the fact that many games REQUIRE touch screens. The only problem is (unless I'm mistaken) it doesn't seem nvidia did anything to fix the problem with portrait-oriented games. Android does have an app that lets you force an orientation, but it can look ugly at times.


Android overall makes a pretty terrible TV console OS, and an even worse PC OS. While many people hate the Modern/Metro interface, I personally think it's a good merge between a PC and phone/tablet interface. I feel where MS should be credited the most is trying to unify every platform to operate similarly to give the most comfortable user experience. Apple obviously didn't even try, and Google never made a desktop OS. Right now I'd say Canonical is MS's main competitor, as they're trying to take the same approach with Ubuntu. Personally, I think Canonical will win, as they have an incomparable advantage on the ARM side of things. Also, Ubuntu being a free and open source platform is an advantage to OEMs.
edzieba 13th August 2013, 08:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
What you described is where Nvidia's Shield has really separated itself as an android console - they acknowledged the fact that many games REQUIRE touch screens. The only problem is (unless I'm mistaken) it doesn't seem nvidia did anything to fix the problem with portrait-oriented games. Android does have an app that lets you force an orientation, but it can look ugly at times.
Personally, I think Nvidia's big mistake with the shield was, if not having Android installed at all, at least having it as a prime advertised feature. It's a local-network remote viewer for PC games (a'la the WiiU's much praised remote display pad feature) that just happens to have an on-board OS that can emulate stuff if you happen to be outside your local network (or don't have a sufficiently large pipe to tunnel in remotely). This has resulted in a lot of bad publicity, essentially boiling down to people who have no idea the remote play feature even exists complaining that it's a fairly overpriced android phone which can't make calls and they will stick to their existing smartphone with a controller clipped to it thankyouverymuch (and without the remote play, that would be pretty much correct), with Nvidia's marketing doing little to help.
schmidtbag 13th August 2013, 15:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by edzieba
Personally, I think Nvidia's big mistake with the shield was, if not having Android installed at all, at least having it as a prime advertised feature. It's a local-network remote viewer for PC games (a'la the WiiU's much praised remote display pad feature) that just happens to have an on-board OS that can emulate stuff if you happen to be outside your local network (or don't have a sufficiently large pipe to tunnel in remotely). This has resulted in a lot of bad publicity, essentially boiling down to people who have no idea the remote play feature even exists complaining that it's a fairly overpriced android phone which can't make calls and they will stick to their existing smartphone with a controller clipped to it thankyouverymuch (and without the remote play, that would be pretty much correct), with Nvidia's marketing doing little to help.

Hmm you make a very interesting point. I was ready to disagree until I read your whole post.

But, while I don't know exactly how the remote play feature works, I do know it's basically a console-centric VNC. The Raspberry Pi could handle a task like that. Considering Shield has (IIRC), the processing power and graphics power of PS3, it isn't surprising that Nvidia wanted to point out that Shield is fully capable of playing games too. But, considering tablets/phones and Nintendo DS dominate mobile gaming today, Nvidia will not succeed if they attempt to start from scratch - they aren't a household name (technically they are but I'm sure the average person you talk to has no idea they exist). Using and advertising Android lets customers know what the system will be compatible with.
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