Amazon's Video Game Controller Looks Hideous

It looks like Amazon is about to take on Microsoft and Nintendo.

Mar 15, 2014 at 3:45PM

Last year, Game Informer reported that Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) was working on a video game console. Then, in February, TechCrunch said the retailer had acquired Double Helix Games, the developer of Killer Instinct, a launch title for Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One.

While Amazon's video game debut could put pressure on the existing console players -- Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo (NASDAQOTH:NTDOY) -- the most recent leak doesn't look particularly promising.

Amazon's controller
Leaked images of Amazon's controller (via Zatz) show something not too terribly different from any other video game controller. Two thumb sticks, a circle of buttons, some triggers, and a D-pad complete a design that looks more than capable of playing the latest Call of Duty title.

Amazon uses Fire OS, a modified version of the Android operating system, on its Kindle Fire tablets. It seems logical to assume that it would do the same on its video game console, and if the controller is any indication, it will do just that -- the three center menu buttons on the controller correspond directly to the buttons found on any Android-based phone or tablet.

But overall, the controller design looks horrendous -- an ugly, uncomfortable rip-off of Microsoft's Xbox design. I'm not only gamer to think this -- commentators on NeoGAF, a gaming enthusiast forum known for leaking details on, among other things, Microsoft's Xbox One, came to a similar conclusion.

"Ugly," wrote one poster. "It looks so sad. Someone needs to cheer it up," wrote another. "That looks like it'd be really uncomfortable to use."

Controllers can make or break a system
The importance of a video game console's controller cannot be understated: Microsoft reportedly spent $100 million developing the Xbox One's controller, while the success of Nintendo's last console, the Wii, was predicated almost entirely on the (then) revolutionary Wiimote. The successor to Nintendo's Wii, the Wii U, has largely been a failure at retail, due partially to its expensive, and under-utilized tablet controller.

It's possible that the images of Amazon's controller are of an earlier version, a prototype, and not indicative of the finished product. It's also possible that it feels much better in the hand than it looks. But based on these images, I wouldn't expect Amazon to obliterate the competition.

It looks like Amazon is serious about video gaming
Still, Amazon's move to offer a full-fledged controller, rather than say, a touch-based control scheme using a tablet, suggests that the retailer is serious about competing in the traditional video game market.

Last week, TechCrunch's Natasha Lomas argued that the console market was "in crisis." Lomas' argument involved a certain amount of cherry-picked data (focusing on January's poor sales and ignoring a strong November and December), but sluggish console sales suggest the market is ripe for a shakeup: Nintendo's living room console, the Wii U, has fallen far short of Nintendo's expectations, while Microsoft appears to have overestimated the demand for its Xbox One console.

Given Amazon's extensive cloud assets, and the data it has compiled over the years on its customers' video game preferences, Amazon could eventually emerge as a formidable competitor -- but it might need to redesign its controller first.

You use your TV for more than playing video games
You know cable's going away. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple.

Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Apple, Google, and Netflix and owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers