The secret is out. Somebody has leaked the info on Amazon’s hush-hush plans for their gaming console. This new console will be an Android controller, with Amazon’s own logo on it. Are you ready to be amazed? Here are some juicy details we managed to find out thus far.
Overall controller design
The shape of Amazon’s new game controller seems to be very similar to the original controller from OnLive. When contacted to see if there was any collaboration between the companies, OnLive said there was not. The controller has an analog stick, and there are media buttons at the bottom, and action buttons along the right side. Also both trigger and shoulder buttons are there.
Some of the design has shifted from the OnLive controller, with some buttons and LED’s in different positions. There are also Android buttons for Home, Back, and Menu. The purpose of the LED’s is unclear. Perhaps they will be used to show battery health, what controller is being used, or which mode a controller is set to.
Specific Amazon game controller buttons
One unique feature is that instead of an OnLive button, the new Amazon controller has a button for Amazon GameCircle. This is Amazon’s game system for leaderboards, achievements, and saved games. Over a thousand games currently support GameCircle, and these games are all available in Amazon’s version of the Android App store. It is possible that GameCircle will be revamped in the future to be closer to Xbox Live or perhaps to Apple’s Game Center.
The media buttons are also curious. These could well mean that the controller will allow access to Instant Video on Amazon, as earlier rumors had hinted. Amazon is reportedly going to be releasing a set top box they are calling Firetube, which will allow customers to download movies, TV shows, and music from Amazon to their device. Gamers could also download the games they choose through the Amazon app store. Customers could then use the new controller buttons to navigate the options on the set top box. The controller will have a Bluetooth connection for wireless communication.
Firetube and the set top box
Amazon’s new Firetube box should be hitting the market soon, so we’ll just have to wait and see the end result. It was slated for a release in late 2013, but the date was delayed, so spring 2014 looks likely at this point. Expectations are that the interface will look somewhat like that on the Kindle Fire, where the tablet has options for Music, Photos, Videos, Apps, and Games. This is not likely going to be a set top box focused entirely on gaming, but more of a multi-function component. Claims are that this box will work with such popular apps as Hulu and Netflix, for providing content. The game controller should work with the new Firetube, as well as with Kindle Fire tablets.
Reports are that the new set top box from Amazon will have high end hardware from Qualcomm, enabling it to compete head to head with products such as the Xbox 360, PlayStation, and Apple TV. The team who is creating the set top box has supposedly been talking to selected game developers, both in the United States and around the world, with the intention of creating a rich gaming system. Amazon is also providing an SDK for game developers.
Some sources have reported that both the controller and the Firetube box are being developed at the Lab126 facilities at Amazon. This is the corporation’s division for research and development. Reportedly, the same facility has also been testing newly developed Kindle phones, and a wireless service, too.
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