Is Amazon Making an Android Game Console? Sort Of.
The online megaretailer Amazon is apparently planning to release an Android powered game console/media box, joining the throngs of internet giants shoving their way into your living room. Not satisfied with competing with Apple with the Kindle, Amazon is building a reportedly $300 box to compete with Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Valve in an increasingly crowded market of living room devices. The box is reportedly being produced by Lab126, also responsible for the Kindle.
So they’re not just about running your ma and pa bookstore out of business, they want a piece of that sweet couch money too. And more power to them. I like to see companies taking big risks like this, like they did with the Kindle, and if Amazon can produce a box that’s both a great Android game console AND a media streamer, I’d see it as a worthy entry on your TV stand. Whether or not it’ll be a game console or not depends on how strongly Amazon can look at itself and compare their corporate might to the absolute flop of the Ouya. Remember that thing? The $100 Android game console that burned hot at Kickstarter and fizzled fast, and didn’t jumpstart the Android console game market the way it promised it would. Touch screen games ran like molasses, its controller was a cheap plastic knock-off, and there’s, frankly, not that many great Android games worth playing off the crapper. At least not yet.
Amazon has more going for it than just selling stuff online or the Kindle. They see themselves as a delivery platform rather than a retailer, and I can see the Amazon Box potentially being a tad disruptive. There’s no definitive streaming box yet, no go-to device that links all your . Maybe the Roku 3, Apple TV, or Chromecast, but none have the crown yet. They all succeed and fail equally.
But a powerful streaming box coupled with their library, or even a free year of Amazon Instant Video plus a Droid console could be a coup, as long as they don’t bank on gaming being the driving force. At this point, there’s no way they can compete with the Big 3 currently sitting pretty, and Valve poised to take a chunk of that market. The first thing Amazon will need to do is give gamers a more compelling argument to trust another Android-centric console, since media streaming is often seen as an fun add-on, not a core decision point. I’m thinking Amazon will take the Microsoft route, pushing their box as the One to Rule Them All.
Amazon has not made any formal announcement for their unofficial console, but it’s the industry’s worst kept secret at this point, and is expected to debut in 2014 at around $300.