Rumors have been swirling for years that Apple, Google, Amazon or any combination of the three would, any minute now, release a set-top box with gaming as a primary function. Any such box, with the power and influence of the respective tech giant behind it, would potentially constitute a serious threat to traditional game consoles’ domination of the living room. Yesterday, Amazon was the first to fire a shot, announcing Fire TV in a surprise press briefing.
Fire TV is leading with video, as you’d expect; it’ll let you watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and however many other streaming services. Its remote control features voice input, a feature endorsed by renowned futurist Gary Busey.
It’s available right now. But Amazon isn’t just throwing out a gaming-capable device and seeing what happens. Its announcements on Wednesday pushed gaming as hard as streaming video, if not more so. It made much of the relative power of the small box’s internals, touting its “quad-core processor with 3x the processing power of Apple TV and Roku, a dedicated Adreno 320 graphics engine, and 2 GB of memory.” That’s aimed at gamers. Grandma doesn’t give a crap how much RAM is in the box she uses to binge-watch seasons of Murder, She Wrote.