Can Amazon and Apple Gain a Foothold in Gaming?

Developers who might have been recruited to help Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) add games to their cheap set-top boxes may already be committed to Ouya, Senior Tech Specialist Tim Beyers says in the following video.

Ouya's tiny $99 Android-powered console, designed to hook up to any TV, started shipping a year ago. More than 840 games are available to players today, up from 170 at launch and 575 at the beginning of 2014. Some 36,000 developers have signed up to write code for the console, with another 1,000 joining every month, TechCrunch reported.

Tim says that's bad news for Amazon and Apple, which are in the process of adding games to their own set-top boxes even as Microsoft and Sony rush to add original programming to the Xbox One and PS4. Both companies need developer support to establish desirable game libraries as the lines that separate a console from a set-top box blur and the market converges.

How quickly the shift takes place is anyone's guess, though the introduction of 'microconsoles' such as the Ouya and Fire TV appear to be playing a role. How so? They don't take discs, relying instead on streaming or digital download. IDC expects rising digital revenue to mostly offset a 45% drop in sales  of console game discs over the next several years.

Naturally, Amazon and Apple want to capture the bulk of those sales but they'll have to compete with Ouya to gain share. And to do that, they'll need developers writing new and exclusive games to drive sales. Can investors bank on that possibility? Not yet, Tim says. Ouya has too much momentum plus an open system that includes all the tools necessary to create and test code. 

For now, Tim says the best thing shareholders can do is be on the lookout for announcements from major game publishers. If they start agreeing to either port major titles or develop new ones for Apple TV and Fire TV, it could signal a catalyst in the making.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Have you tried the Ouya console? Would you consider Apple TV or Fire TV instead? Please watch the video to get the full story and then leave a comment to let us know your take on the key players in the market for video game consoles.

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