Is Amazon's Fire TV a dud for gamers?

In today's open source roundup: Amazon's Fire TV gaming experience seems to be a mixed bag according to reviewers

The release of Amazon's Fire TV has shaken up the television set top box market. One of Fire TV's big claims to fame is the ability for users to play games. But how good are the games and how much fun is it to play games on the Fire TV? Tom's Guide takes a look at the Fire TV's gaming ability and finds it somewhat wanting.

According to Tom's Guide:

Amazon has cast its hat into the set-top box ring with the $99 Fire TV, touting its gaming features as one of its most important selling points. While it's true that the Fire TV is a functional game box, that's about all it can boast. Between its shoddy selection of games, poor optimization and soporific "killer app," the Fire TV has a long way to go if Amazon wants people to invest in it, and its overpriced $40 controller.

Much like the Fire TV overall, the device's gaming capabilities have potential, but that's about all they have at present. The controller is expensive and unwieldy. The game selection is small and dated (at least for the moment). Plus, the exclusive title is too hard for newcomers and too boring for diehards.

More at Tom's Guide

I was somewhat surprised to read Tom's take on the Fire TV game controller. It's unlike Amazon to make a goof like that, especially since they had the XBox controller to base it on. Hopefully Amazon will redo the controller for the next release of the Fire TV.

And yet Tom's Guide is not alone in criticizing the Fire TV controller, Apple Insider agreed that it comes up short.

According to Apple Insider:

As expected, Fire TV gaming is nowhere near console levels, but that was never the goal. Amazon wants to target casual gamers with pick-up-and-play mid-tier titles. And for that, Fire TV is fairly successful. The two things holding the company back from delivering a truly great quick-fix gaming experience are a gussied up "parts bin" controller and lack of enticing original titles.

Amazon has given itself a nice push out of the gate in the race to extend mobile into the living room, but solid game-centric peripherals would make Fire TV a far more compelling platform. Unfortunately, without a proper controller the games category feels more like a slick experiment than a full-blown feature; we can understand why Amazon is loath to market it more aggressively.

More at Apple Insider

But what about the games and the overall gaming experience? Engadget had a surprisingly upbeat take on the Fire TV gaming experience in its review.

According to Engadget:

Some games look great and fit on TV without a hitch, while others cut off some UI elements (and, ultimately, pieces of the game being played). It's clear that many titles are rushed conversions from other platforms, something that's evident whether it's the gamepad not doing anything beyond standing in for a touchscreen or the game not displaying correctly.

Structure and ecosystem aside, the good news is that playing games on Fire TV can be pretty fantastic. Not every game has a demo, but many are free (at least for a limited trial). And, of course, there's always the standard paid option. If you're looking for exclusives, there's only one so far (Sev Zero), but many more are slated to arrive in the coming months.

More at Engadget
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