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Would Amazon’s Android console be a smart move?

Friday, 9th August 2013 10:09 GMT By Dave Cook

Amazon is rumoured to be releasing an Android console soon. VG247′s Dave Cook ponders the rumours and asks if the industry really needs another box at market.

Word on the street is that Amazon’s Android console will launch before November’s Black Friday sales in the States.

The rumour broke last night and we’ve seen a mixed reaction from gamers so far. The big issue among the players seems to be the console’s position – Who is it targeting?

According to intrepid internet sleuth Superannuation the console has a core focus and is more than a mere set-top box that just happens to have Google Play access.

In fact, it’s been speculated that Amazon has been courting studios in a bid to try and get new content for the platform, suggesting that this is part of some bigger, deadly serious strategy from the retailer.

The company even has its own development team, so it seems likely that Amazon is going after keen gamers with a strong bank of IP and perhaps even some exclusives.

It really feels like there’s something big going on over at Amazon right now, but might this all be for naught? Until we know more it’s hard to say but word has it that the console will feature Google Play integration. Given the rampant level of games being pirated on Android rather than being bought via Google Play, it’s hard to see a viable proposition for developers.

Why would a studio that needs money to survive push its content out on a format where a high percentage of players will pirate the game for free? If this is going to work then Amazon would have to close the console off somehow to curb illegal downloads of games. At the same time however, this could sever one of the most appealing facets of the Android format – the homebrew scene.

Would such a console continue to allow independent game and app makers the freedom to make and push out their own content? Google doesn’t appear to be doing much to stop the wave of clones and emulators on its app store at present, which suggests it’s perfectly happy to allow this kind of activity to a degree.

Timing is also another factor. Would an Amazon-Android console get slaughtered at retail by the PS4 and Xbox 360? Would those dedicated PC, Mac and Linux scene look twice at the box or would they just stick with Steam and the Google Play titles on their Android phone?

My guess is that people may want to trade-up their Android experience for something more tangible and with a physical controller. I see a lot of people bemoan touch screen as the one thing stopping triple-a experiences truly hitting mobile formats.

I sense that all these particular people really want is two analogue sticks and ports of the same games they can get on other formats. That – to me – is dull. The point of touch screen is that it gives us new ways to play and fresh ideas that you can’t get on a pad-controlled game, but hey, that’s just me.

My concern is that an Amazon-Android box might be swarmed by piracy, fail to establish a strong bed of IP, be technically out-classed by next-gen consoles and the PC/Mac/Linux triumvirate and launch at the worst possible time.

Or maybe, just maybe some of us aren’t getting the appeal because we’re already converted to the core? Perhaps this rumoured box is being viewed as a bridge to those who play casually on their phone or tablet who want to grade-up to a full console experience.

I honestly don’t know, but there’s a few nagging thoughts that linger at present.

What do you think? Let’s get a chat going folks.

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5 Comments

  1. FeaturePreacher

    Amazon is not a company willing to make the large investment to compete with the 2 next gen systems. If they try to go after a hardcore audience with a weak arm processor, which is what they’ll do, it will be a failure like the ouya. Same goes with apple or any other company trying to promote the lie that ARM could ever compete with X86. Hardcore audiences are not as dumb as softcore phoney fools to the point where they can be tricked into getting an inherently weak system.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. redwood

    well amazon has the muscle and experience to get new content done exclusively for their console, and I think the indies will be the first one to jump on to it (as always). but they really need to avoid focusing on the freemium trend. That is a general pitfall that every “android” thingy falls into/has to avoid.
    If they can get a curated store up with good games from cool indies than they do have a good chance at creating a seperate market. Also remember that they will definitely want to bind this with their kindle line-up of tablets.
    It will be awesome if they can allow kindle users to stream games on to their tablets from the console so that they are not just limited to playing games on the TV or the type of Kindle hardware you have.
    Lastly they need to learn from steam and have a curated store. Like really not allow shovel-ware into their stores.

    @1 they are probably not targeting the hardcore, Wii showed everyone that when it comes to making money the “core” is not as important as they (the core) think.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. FeaturePreacher

    @2
    Wii also showed everyone that softcore audiences are not interested in buying games. Hence why the Wii U was made.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. sh4dow

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/amazon-used-neonazi-guards-to-keep-immigrant-workforce-under-control-in-germany-8495843.html

    ’nuff said about Amazon.

    Although… while most of the English articles about this REALLY focused on the Nazi (or at least pseudo/maybe-Nazi) guards because… you know… it’s shocking and makes for great headlines, I found they rarely/barely covered the much more dominant part of the original German report that uncovered all of this. Which is how Amazon perceives/treats workers in general. Such as one Amazon management chick saying: “I don’t want to hear anything about ‘people’ any more. I count in buses.”

    Screw the whole Nazi guard shit, Amazon is obviously a fucking horrible company in general and I won’t support it with another cent of my money.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. sebastien rivas

    Well,

    Can’t talk, and can’t say anything until I get some:
    1) machine spec
    2)Decision from the manufacturer to 1st, 3rd, and/or even indie publishing.
    3)It sounds like there would be a cloud but to what cost and terms…
    4) finally the price tag…

    Cheer ;)

    #5 1 year ago

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