Amazon Fire TV is here, and some say Sony and Microsoft better watch out. It has Minecraft. Nice, but so do tablets, smartphones, PCs, consoles and the list grows. Sorry, if you are banking on the fact the thing has its own version of Minecraft as the console killer, you are mistaken.

One hundred games are already available on the Amazon Fire TV. Thousands are planned. What does that mean? Mobile gaming is making the leap to the big screen. We are already hearing the sounds of microtransactions with Amazon Coins. The Double Dragon Trilogy is making its way back. Fantastic. The death of consoles will come at the hands of retro games that cost $3? Humorous, but no.

Powering the Amazon Fire

Oh and the ‘horsepower’ that is contained in the $100 box. It has triple the processing power of the Roku and Apple TV. But magnitudes of order less than the next generation consoles. If Amazon was serious about gaming, they would have made a bigger splash considering the fidelity GTA V showed on what amounts to dinosaur hardware. Yet we see graphics that are a step up from mobile and that’s it.

Michael Pachter summed up the games portion of the press event rather well. In a note to investors yesterday he called the presentation underwhelming. “Although Amazon has many notable partners lined up, we do not expect Fire TV’s gaming initiative to be successful, as we do not anticipate that consumers will perceive a need to play mobile games on their TVs.”

Can They Disrupt With Games?

Yes, Amazon Game Studios bought Double Helix, the team behind Killer Instinct. The studio is on an acquisition tear that makes you believe they are serious about the hardcore games. But it all comes down to games. Sure, they introduced a controller at $40, signifying they want to jump into the arena in a major way.

What Amazon does have going for them are investors that don’t care how much money they throw at the vertical to make an impact. Microsoft and Sony do not enjoy that same leeway. If Amazon wants to introduce a new version with more power in a year, they can do that. The amount of cash the company has access to gives them the chance to disrupt the current environment.

Sales and Triple-A Titles

How many times have you heard the notion PC gaming is dead? There have been hundreds, if not thousands of articles, posts, tweets etc on the topic. It’s a dying niche. Everyone wants mobile gaming. Slight problem with those assertions. Diablo’s recent expansion showed that PC gaming is alive and well with 2.7 million copies sold in one week.

Sure Amazon can throw as many mobile-looking titles as the company wants on the new platform. But until there is a legitimate triple-A title on the platform, that is not an also ran, this box is simply a $100 why not purchase.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be wildly successful in its carved out niche and the fact that Amazon will have it in your face the moment you visit the site. But a threat to next-gen or even PC gaming? Call me when the fidelity matches up. Something tells me that’s not the plan, and the company is content with snatching up the casual market through video first.


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