Market Overview

Amazon's Fire TV Is a 'Nonevent' For Gamers

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has delivered its first game console in the form of a set-top box called Fire TV.

Available to order at Amazon.com, Fire TV can stream movies, music and TV shows, just like other set-top boxes. This one comes with a couple of bonuses (such as voice search) that set it apart from the crowd.

At $99, Fire TV is one of the cheapest game-playing devices available. Unlike the traditional Android-based game consoles, Fire TV will (eventually) offer games from a number of high-profile developers.

Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Disney, 2K, Sega, Telltale Games and Double Fine have already signed up to create new software for Fire TV. That's a good start for a device that is aimed at movie lovers. But is it enough to attract the gaming community?

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter weighed in on the matter, telling Benzinga that he is "completely unimpressed" by Fire TV.

"It's a faster Roku box for the same price," he said. "Not enough 'must have' features to justify a switch, [and] the game content is a nonevent."

Related: Sony Unveils PlayStation Vita TV To Take On Apple TV, Chromecast

Thus far, Amazon has only announced a handful of new titles, including a Fire TV version of Minecraft, an untitled prehistoric adventure, and an exclusive first-person shooter called Sev Zero.

Disney is also bringing a mobile-style Monsters University game to the platform. Expect other developers to follow a similar path and port/develop other mobile-type games for Fire TV.

These games wouldn't be enough to sell a $400 console like PlayStation 4, but they could be an intriguing draw for someone who wants a cheaper (perhaps secondary) gaming device.

Sony's PlayStation 4 currently dominates the console market with more than 6.5 million units sold worldwide. Nintendo's Wii U follows in second place with roughly 5.9 million consoles sold. Microsoft's Xbox One is in third place with more than four million units, but it is expected to overtake Wii U and battle Sony for first place.

If that happens and Nintendo continues to struggle, Fire TV could become an interesting third place competitor to the industry stalwarts.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

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