Amazon Set to Join Console Stakes with New, Sub-$300 Android Console

By Steve Anderson January 29, 2014

Console gaming is still a very big market, even though these days it's largely taken up by the three major frontrunners: Sony's PlayStation 4, Microsoft's Xbox One, and Nintendo's Wii U, at least for this generation. For the next several years, these three firms will likely be slugging it out for supremacy, but there's a growing chorus of consoles of a less likely sort. Consoles like Ouya in Android and the Steam Machine line are looking to bring a new kind of gaming experience to the living room, and Amazon now looks to join in on that game in progress with its own console set to be released this year.

The console in question currently goes by a host of different codenames, but current word suggests that the Amazon console in question will sell for under $300 when it's released later this year, and has been demonstrated with not only Android games, but also iOS games. It's said to be about the same size as a redesigned PS one, and looks somewhat similar as well being both gray and oblong, though it's likely that the final release will get a substantial cosmetic makeover, rendering this description somewhat moot. There will be plenty of power under the hood as well, as reports indicate the console will be driven by Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors.

Plus, there are further reports that say Amazon will be taking a page out of Microsoft's playbook, as well as refining what was done earlier with the Kindle Fire, and offering up not only games, but also movies, TV shows and music as well, all for use on the big living room screen. Reports indicate that the console was supposed to launch last year, but delayed until this year in the closing days of last year.

Of course, some might think here that this isn't a good idea on Amazon's part, and not without reason. The Ouya and the Gamestick, similar Android-driven consoles, haven't exactly done land-office business. But Amazon may have a critical edge in the field that could mean all the difference: specifically, it's got a user base of up around 200 million users, and 10 million of these are subscribed to the Prime service at $79 a year, with reports suggesting that Prime members could go up around five million every year. What's more, the rise of the casual market has given way to plenty of providers in terms of games like King, Kabam, Rovio and Supercell, meaning that there are likely to be plenty of titles on hand, which as Nintendo is demonstrating is hugely important to the long-term success of any gaming system.

Of course, the big point to address is how much overlap there is in the Venn diagram that represents gamers and Amazon members. Chances are Amazon's betting on a fairly substantial overlap, and given the numbers involved here there's likely to be at least some. Throw in the numbers who might get in for the idea of a game console that plays movies and music all from one package right in the living room and suddenly the whole thing makes a lot more sense.

This could be enough to give the Amazon console at least a niche market, and make it a big player indeed in the increasingly profitable video game market. Only time will tell just how far it goes, of course, but we could be looking at a whole new player in one of the biggest games around.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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