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Is Amazon Making a Sub-$300 Console To Play Mobile Games? 76

Posted by samzenpus
from the play-time dept.
itwbennett writes "Yesterday, a story suggesting that Amazon was planning to launch a sub-$300 Android game console made the rounds. A $300 box to play mobile games on your TV? ITworld's Peter Smith doesn't buy it. 'If Amazon is working on some kind of set-top box, it's going to be about streaming,' says Smith. 'Music, video, and games. Remember back in November when Amazon announced G2, a new AWS instance type designed for streaming GPU intensive tasks like games? Combine Amazon's G2 cloud servers and an Amazon set top box for console-like game streaming, plus supporting Android and/or iOS games (possibly the latter would also be streamed), and of course support for Amazon Video and MP3, and we're getting closer to something that may be worth $300.'"
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Is Amazon Making a Sub-$300 Console To Play Mobile Games?

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  • A console for Android games?? What a clever and original idea!

    • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:46PM (#46107041)

      A console for Android games?? What a clever and original idea!

      I said, before the Ouya was released that it would not be a smashing success, but it will be a success and well it was. A minor success.

      I also said it would pave the way for future consoles based on the same idea making the Ouya a version 1.0 type of product and for a version 1.0 the Ouya did pretty well.

      The majority of console buyers don't want a PC wannabe console because they're not PC gamers. They want a simple box they can turn on and play simple games on, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. The Xbox 1 or PS4 dont fill this market and the Wii U has been pretty underwhelming. So if Amazon can pull of a decent console (like they did with their ereader) then they could own the market in the same way the Wii did.

      In fact, I'd be quite surprised if Amazon is the only company going to try this.

      Between this and Steamboxen, the Playstation and Xbox will need to change radically to avoid fading into oblivion, both the casual and hardcore gamer will soon have better options and there are not enough hardened fanboys in either camp to sustain them.

      • There's still potential for the Ouya 1.0, the Tegra 3 chip it uses has been demonstrated (by nVidia) to be perfectly capable of game streaming. [google.com]

        So if steam machines pick up, with proper support, the Ouya 1.0s could easily become the streaming machines of choice.

      • by non0score (890022)
        I think the "casual gamer living room" is a myth. Just like the Nintendo Wii and the 0.5 games it sold per console sale.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sexconker (1179573)

          Thee Wii actually had a software attach ratio of between 9 and 12 depending on how you count certain games (some people don't count Wii Sports because it was bundled with the hardware, but it was only bundled in certain territories, similarly for Wii Play which was bundled with a controller, or Wii Fit which was bundled with the balance board).

          The PS3 and 360 had ratios between 9 and 11.

        • by OakDragon (885217)
          The people behind the Ouya said they thought there was a market for people that wanted to play casual games, but on their TV, so they would have that group or family experience. But I think they're wrong. Casual gamers seem more than happy with their phones and tablets. Not too long ago, casual gamers didn't have a choice, really - they either played on their computer or in front of their TV.
      • A console for Android games?? What a clever and original idea!

        I said, before the Ouya was released that it would not be a smashing success, but it will be a success and well it was. A minor success.

        Is this Bizarro world? The Ouya was a massive failure in terms of both hardware and software figures. They released it in a broken state (the controls are trash) and there were no damned games worth playing on it. On the off chance someone wanted to play your crappy mobile game on their TV, they'd just pirate it anyway because lol Android.

        They're chasing a market that doesn't exist, and they're going to double down with the 2.0 model which will allegedly have working controls and even more of a lack of w

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        The big problem with the Ouya was not the idea but the execution. It wasn't that good and had a small store. If Amazon can get not have the controller lag that is an issue with the Ouya they could have a good gaming console. The new Tegra from nVidia is a pretty powerful chip and will be good enough for a lot of games.

      • The majority of console buyers don't want a PC wannabe console because they're not PC gamers. They want a simple box they can turn on and play simple games on, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. The Xbox 1 or PS4 dont fill this market

        Who says? IMHO, console gamers ARE PC gamers, they just prefer a different location and form factor, and have some differences in preferred games. But for most games, it's the same stuff.

        The casuals that the Wii targeted are happy playing games on their phones/tablets...that they already have.

        Between this and Steamboxen, the Playstation and Xbox will need to change radically to avoid fading into oblivion, both the casual and hardcore gamer will soon have better options

        What better options? both this and the Steam machines are vapor till they are actually on the shelf.

        Can I play Skyrim or TESO on this or the Steambox....without streaming it from a PC running Windows? Diablo 3/Rea

      • I think it's about music, movies, Amazon original programming **AND** games.

        It's like a xbox Marketplace only Amazon.

        Amazon is really jealous of Netflix's success, they've really pushed their original programming on the Amazon Prime.

        It's weird that Amazon is producing TV shows....weirder: a few of them are actually really great.

    • by afgam28 (48611)

      I like how you narrowed in on the form factor and operating system, and assumed that no other details are important enough that they could be used to differentiate. You know, little details like how Amazon has this whole business of streaming digital content, how it has the huge financial resources to produce content and market the device. Stuff that Ouya doesn't have.

      But no....maybe you're right - it's a console and it runs an operating based on Android. So therefore it's going to be exactly the same.

      • You know, little details like how Amazon has this whole business of streaming digital content,

        Which is already available on consoles. I can already use the MP3 store and Amazon instant Video on the consoles I currently have.

    • This "iPod" is a pocketable player for MP3s you say? What a clever and original idea! *slyly references Nomad in the title*

      You're kinda missing the wood for the trees here. There were plenty of Android tablets before the Kindle Fire. I believe there were even a few liquid paper eBook readers before the regular Kindle. And even if we ignore the fact that Amazon actually made popular versions of what were obscure geek toys, in truth there's no reason why Amazon has to be "original", it just has to be succe

  • Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kamapuaa (555446) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:08PM (#46106815) Homepage

    A $50 Roku or $60 Blue Ray player can already stream Amazon content fine. Heck, even a Kindle Fire has a micro-HDMI cable.

    $300 for an Android game console would be nuts, but it would actually make a lot more sense than a $300 streaming device.

    $100 for an Amazon version of the Ouya would be kind of cool.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      Why can't it do both?

    • > $100 for an Amazon version of the Ouya would be kind of cool.

      I agree, but the hardware is kind useless without software. The one thing Balmer got right is you need developers to write great software for your hardware.

      With today's market ...

      You need open hardware
      You need an open OS
      You need an open SDK
      You need to court indies (to get as many games as possible)

      Otherwise the industry is too entrenched into the existing infrastructure of consoles and mobile.

      • by non0score (890022)
        I would agree with 2 out of the 4: open SDK and courting indies. I'm a dev, and yhy the hell do I care about open OS or open hardware? I'm not going to make my own hardware, and neither am I going to ask my customers to install custom OSes (which means the OS has to be full-featured and bug-free before I support said platform). Game developers need ways to make money (most likely just to put food on the table), not to fulfill some ideological desire.
        • Believe it or not, the issue is actually more then some obscure ideological desire. Let me explain ...

          With closed hardware it costs a FORTUNE to get all the bugs out. By using cheap commodity off-the-shelf hardware you can save
          a) debugging time), and
          b) get something that just works.
          Wait, you mean don't like tossing out thousands of units due to some design flaw? :-)

          With a closed OS how many man-years will you pay to make it
          a) secure, and
          b) write drivers?

          Again an open OS is

    • A $50 Roku or $60 Blue Ray player can already stream Amazon content fine.

      A $35 Chromecast has all the hardware needed to do exactly the same thing.

      Actually, a Chromecast, an Amazon AWS virtual instance, and some software to tie it together would make a fair game console, *if* they could get the latency low enough. (You'd need to add a low-latency back channel to send local controller inputs back to the server; so make it a $50 Chromcast2). Might not be possible *yet*, but you can bet they are thinking about it.

    • by Dorianny (1847922)

      A $50 Roku or $60 Blue Ray player can already stream Amazon content fine. Heck, even a Kindle Fire has a micro-HDMI cable.

      $300 for an Android game console would be nuts, but it would actually make a lot more sense than a $300 streaming device.

      $100 for an Amazon version of the Ouya would be kind of cool.

      Exactly why Amazon doesn't won't to release another media streaming box. Amazon is in the content selling business, what it wants to do is create the center of the living room version of the kindle, of course with so many cheap devices that can stream content it needs to do something else to differentiate itself in the saturated market.

      Enter cheap gaming console. Hardware has gotten pretty cheap and unlike previous generation consoles neither the PS4 nor the Xbox 1 are heavily subsidized. Considering that t

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      $100 for an Amazon version of the Ouya would be kind of cool.

      The problem is, there is no evidence that anyone can deliver a game console that doesn't suck for $100. Ouya couldn't manage it, for example.

      Mad Catz MOJO is $250, I believe. That's an Android STB with decent hardware. Costs too much to even think about buying. For $250 I could buy a refurb'd Nexus 7, a MHL cable, and a bluetooth controller.

  • I just had an interview with Amazon Games, and the one thing they're dangerous about is that they have deep pockets. They only have one game so far. But if they pick a strategy that works for a company with capital, they can do all sorts of cool things. Then again, maybe they won't get any direction at all, and just be like a polished indie developer for smart phones. I pitched them the whole "Corner the market on any random game with player driven content made from friendly UI toolkits" I didn't get t
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      PS3 controller support, sadly, is a joke. It's very spotty and dominates bluetooth while in use. Android controller support in general is still a minefield. Google needs to do some serious work to rectify this situation if they want Android to dominate gaming. Ouya sure didn't help with their own wonky controller API.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:21PM (#46106891) Journal
    Between the state of CPUs you can buy and the presence of a massive supply of used and new-old-stock last gen consoles, $300 seems like about the weirdest place to postulate an unconventional console launch.

    Once you cut the expensive multitouch IPS panel and battery out of the equation, you'd be hard pressed to spend $300 on a 'mobile' derived system. The SoCs just don't cost that much, and they are extremely heavily integrated because they are supposed to go in phones and tablets and things. Something like the Ouya, and the absurd number of more or less anonymous Android HDMI sticks from the pacific rim cut things a little close to come in under $100; but an extra $50-$100 still leaves you at or below $200, and gives you a great deal of room for improvement. At the same time, $300 is a hard target to hit with 'full PC' derived systems, unless they've had several generations of cost reduction (as we can see from MS and Sony and how long it took them to break even at that price point, after they eventually cut down to it). It's just an odd number.

    If Amazon wants a 'Kindle Couch', $300 is silly high, given the very very strong odds that it would be a screenless or screen-reduced variant on a relatively cheap mobile design. If the rumor alleges that Amazon is gunning for the AAA console space, months after the two main players and the hapless runner up have already played, that just strains credulity.
    • by mjwx (966435)

      Between the state of CPUs you can buy and the presence of a massive supply of used and new-old-stock last gen consoles, $300 seems like about the weirdest place to postulate an unconventional console launch.

      $300 at launch,
      $200 in 12 months,
      $150 not long after that.

      Besides this, Amazon seem to be going to after the console crowd rather than the phone crowd. This means they'll need some kind of controller, UI/Frontend designed for a console and a bunch of other things. It's not like you can just slap Android onto screenless HW and expect it to work as intended.

      • by Dahamma (304068)

        $300 *is* pointless for an Android console (especially if as you say they are going after the console crowd) when you can add $100 to what you said and get the PS4 price curve.

        And I don't understand why people keep saying "but Android consoles will have simple games that people want". Making games *simpler* seems like the worst barrier to entry I've ever heard of. If Sony and Microsoft expand their online stores and make "simple" games easier to develop/publish on their consoles, then they will be a compl

        • If Sony and Microsoft expand their online stores and make "simple" games easier to develop/publish on their consoles,

          They already did that! There are tons of "little games" on PSN.

          http://www.playstationlifestyl... [playstationlifestyle.net]

          • by Dahamma (304068)

            It's a start - but they have a couple thousand (and most of those are PSOne/PS2/PSP "classics") compared to over 100k on Android and an absurd number on iOS.

            Currently it's still orders of magnitude more difficult and expensive to get a game published on PS or Xbox - even the "simple" ones. Basically, most indies can't afford to make a console their first platform because of the price. They have to strike it rich (relatively speaking) on iOS/Android, and then they have the means to expand to consoles...

        • by unrtst (777550)

          $300 *is* pointless for an Android console (especially if as you say they are going after the console crowd) when you can add $100 to what you said and get the PS4 price curve.

          I wouldn't be so quick to judge the price point. There are a lot of features that, if done right, would not only make it worth it, but would make it something that doesn't exist today... and something I really really want.

          One of the features that all the current streaming boxes/sticks are missing is a dedicated control interface, separate from the TV itself.
          I'm know I'm in a very small minority here - my primary TV is a projector. If I want to turn on some tunes, I don't want to have my 100" display fired u

          • by Dahamma (304068)

            One of the features that all the current streaming boxes/sticks are missing is a dedicated control interface, separate from the TV itself.
            I'm know I'm in a very small minority here - my primary TV is a projector. If I want to turn on some tunes, I don't want to have my 100" display fired up wasting bulb life, lots of power, and displaying nothing of real value. My phone, while home, is usually in the kitchen charging

            Actually, this is already doable with any Airplay capable device (not just AppleTV & Airport, but *many* cheap receivers, etc now) + iPhone/iPad/iPod. Or if you prefer Android devices, Chomecast + any Android phone/tablet. Why would you need a $300 "game" console to solve this when a $35 Chromecast will do it?

            Same thing goes for TV/movies... If I just want to see what's on, I don't want to fire up everything. If there was just a little screen next to the TV, or on the entertainment stand, or on the end table, etc..

            Um, yeah, they have those, too, they are called tablets ;) And both Xbox One and PS4 now have "companion" apps (Smartglass, PS Companion, whatever) to do this. Same with the previously mention

      • It's not like you can just slap Android onto screenless HW and expect it to work as intended.

        "Screenless"? A game console has an HDMI output. Or did you mean "touch screenless"? Android has always had support for input events from up, down, left, right, and activate keys [android.com]. These may be discrete keys on the device, a trackball, or the arrow keys and Enter on a Bluetooth keyboard. I imagine that a directional pad and primary button could generate these events, which would let the user use any focus-navigable [android.com] application.

        In addition, Android 4.4 on my Nexus 7 tablet supports a USB mouse through an O

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday January 30, 2014 @04:57AM (#46108053) Journal
        I'm not saying that it would necessarily be trivial; just that they don't have much choice. As of a few minutes ago, when I checked, I could get an Xbox360 (250GB HDD, 1 controller, Halo 4, and Tomb Raider) for $250 or the nasty cut-down 4GB-of-flash version for $200. All with the advantage of a large, guaranteed (and typically available used for peanuts, since it's a last-gen system) game library.

        Unless Amazon is seriously stealth-launching a tier 1 console, without so much as a ripple from the various studios and devs who they'd need to build games for such a beast, they'll be laughed out of the market if they try something at the same price as an incumbent console.
    • by c (8461)

      If Amazon wants a 'Kindle Couch', $300 is silly high, given the very very strong odds that it would be a screenless or screen-reduced variant on a relatively cheap mobile design.

      How about $300 for a Kindle tablet integrated with a decent HDMI media dock? Functionally, something like a Nexus 7 plus charging dock and a Chromecast (which, coincidentally, totals about as close to $300 as my caffeine deprived brain wants to count at the moment), but with Amazon integration and maybe a little more hardware polish

  • Nearly $300 for a game console, playing mobile games? Sounds really expensive.

    That's the price of a fairly high-end Android handset - maybe not today's model, but certainly half year ago models that are "outdated" for the fashionable crowd. Those happily connect to a TV playing HD video, and can play all but maybe the absolute latest, highest-end games available on the Android market.

    A console certainly should be a lot cheaper. No need for GSM radio or GPS receiver. No need for (expensive!) display on the d

  • I have a HDMI out on my LG P990, and it's a few years old. It wasn't a big deal then and it isn't now.
  • taking the mobile out of mobile games. smart. how about amazon makes it so I can plug my kindle fire into my tv instead of this bs.
  • In other countries, the local telcos actually bother to lay fiber. Here in the US, with net neutrality stuck down as completely dead, bandwidth will only get more expensive over time unless one is lucky enough to get Google Fiber.

    So, assuming everyone is going to stream can be a stupid way to go, especially in areas where people will be paying $10/gig in bandwidth for their land-based Internet, much less cellular stuff.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @11:45PM (#46107039)

    Is /. making every story headline a question?

    If so the answer to these questions will always be no.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

  • I feel like I'm reliving the 80s, where every electronics manufacturer on the planet seemed to come out with a Z80-based console to take the market by storm.
  • If any company can realize streaming gaming it's Amazon, largely because they can take advantage of their existing infrastructure of warehouses to maximize the # of customers that can actually use the service(not to mention their huge computing infrastructure). Previous attempts failed in part because they could only provide service to a few metropolitan areas due to latency issues. Buying buildings in a lot of different places and managing compute services in those places is pretty capital intensive, bu
  • This is another indication of how eager the tech industry is to get in on the same monetization model that Rovio was just implicated in with the Snowden documents--data for dollars.

    Rovio was just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone is trying to get involved in a "goldrush" of funds that have infused the industry with a serious lack of morality.

    As I pointed out in a couple of posts recently ( http://yro.slashdot.org/commen... [slashdot.org] ), it is the mobile analytics market that the NSA is targeting for their data on as ma

  • thats cool for amazon, if amazon run it,everything will be change,mobile game is high increase market,every internet company want to get it .
  • Great.. I think good idea but is it worth of playing game with that much money?
  • Amazon has a lot of cloud storage and servers. They should just sell a cheap stick akin to Chromecast or the multitude of Android TV sticks which has a small amount of storage for Android apps running locally but also does streaming through the cloud. It shouldn't have to cost more than $100 even with a controller.
  • Is Amazon buying up studios to create it's launch games? Do they have parterships with EA, Ubisoft to port the big third party games? Or are they expecting people to buy the console and wait for games to come.
  • Make your box able to store the content locally so that we can play it anytime we want. You offer that on the PC and the Kindle, and I would love to see it expanded to the streaming boxes. You should also consider changing your xbox360 client so that it can download purchased content to the hard disk. I am sure there is enough DRM in a 360 to satisfy your licensing requirements.
    People here are saying make a dumb plug that just runs off of your servers in the sky. Don't listen to them. Deliver the

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