With Fire, Amazon.com, Inc. Puts Console Makers on the Defensive

Bringing gaming to the set-top box could kick off a larger and longer-lasting disruption of the entire industry.

Tim Beyers
Tim Beyers
Apr 4, 2014 at 7:13PM
Technology and Telecom

Amazon.com, (NASDAQ:AMZN) is disrupting the gaming console business with the new Fire set-top box, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

Unlike Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) own Apple TV, or Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG)(NASDAQ: GOOGL) Chromecast, the new $99 Fire allows users to play games via an Amazon-supplied controller that retails for $39.99. More than 100 games are available right now. The message? You needn't own an Xbox One or the new PlayStation 4 if you want quality gaming.

Credit: Amazon.com.

Tim says we should have seen this coming. Recent advancements in mobile gaming technology are making it possible to bring console-quality games to mobile devices. Among them, NVIDIA's (NASDAQ: NVDA) Tegra K1, which includes the same graphics processing horsepower found in its PC chips. Separately, video game streaming specialist Twitch recently unveiled plans for streaming mobile gameplay. The thinking? Mobile games aren't nearly as lightweight as they used to be.

Games such as Minecraft-Pocket Edition from Mojang and Sev Zero, an exclusive from Amazon Game Studios, both of which come with the Fire. Hard-core gamers won't be impressed. But everyday users who already want to stream TV and movies? Tim says they're likely to give Amazon's Fire a look.

Over the longer term, we're likely to see all set tops improve to support beefy titles in the style of Titanfall or Grand Theft Auto V. When they do, Tim says we'll remember that it was Amazon -- not Apple or Google -- but Amazon that started the Fire.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you think adding gaming will help the Fire stand out against Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku's new Streaming Stick? Are you more or less bullish on Amazon stock as a result? Please leave a comment below to let us know what you think.