Oct

8

Will The Kindle Fire The Imagination of Game Developers?

Mark Stephens

Our earlier post this week covered the impending release of the Amazon Kindle Fire in November; here we look at it from the game developers’ angle and see what the Fire will spark in gaming circles.

As we mentioned, the Kindle Fire seems on first glance…and second glance, actually… to be a “turbo-charged reader” rather than a gaming device, so despite its great price of $199 ($300 less than the iPad), is it about to offer up more opportunities for mobile gamers, and therefore developers?

Current Kindle Games

When we’re talking games we really mean games that involve some action and adventure rather than the cerebral games like Scrabble, Triple Town and hidden object games– board games and puzzles etc – that the current Kindle readers are geared towards.

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Actually there are loads of these types of games currently available if you want them, but they are not exactly pushing the boundaries in terms of visual and sensual adventure. The simple fact remains that screen of the Kindle is meant to display text and existing games are in monochrome and are slow to refresh.

The Kindle Fire Gaming Prospects: The Spec

We’re not saying the Kindle Fire follows suit with the Kindle but we need to understand the mentality where things come from and the Amazon mentality has not been disposed towards games, but rather towards books and videos. So, not surprisingly, the tablet seems designed to access Amazon content and to store it in their free “cloud”.

Clearly the Fire has many multimedia additions and is geared towards better visual and audio experiences. It has a much more powerful processor that can handle more than just the likes of puzzles. The screen is multi-touch which makes for more possibilities too.

Amazon has also said the Kindle Fire will support Adobe Flash Player – something that the iPad still doesn’t do and which game developers may welcome as another tool for game design.

However, you get the feeling that in order to make the tablet cheap and marketable, corners have been cut in areas that mobile gamers and developers have taken as a given in the recent past.

The screen is significantly smaller than the iPad screen; there is no 3-G for downloading games and apps from anywhere; there is no mic or camera and there are no gyroscopic sensors – which are essential for games like Doodle Jump and racing games.

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Hold Fire! A Successful Kindle Fire Is Good For Developers Too

Game developers are always interested in pushing the limits of their art …so its doubtful that the overall spec or the reader-viewer purpose of the Kindle Fire will get them salivating at this stage.

But many will be keen to welcome a new player on the tablet market and they always like a challenge, so interest has certainly been piqued.

And maybe we should hold fire – excuse the pun – before writing off this unit as a gaming device.

Amazon has the pulling power to get the Kindle Fire into a lot of pairs of hands. If they get this tablet out there in large numbers (remember the bargain price too and the fact that they have experience with getting the e-readers out there already), the demand for compatible games will increase and Amazon would be mad not to respond to that demand, right?

That means Amazon will need to upgrade their tablet and come knocking on the doors of game developers, who will be able to re-work their Android games for the Android Honeycomb-based Kindle Fire and get their games selling on Amazon’s Appstore for Android. That would have to be good news.

So while at first and second glance the Kindle Fire is dwarfed as a mobile gaming device by others on the market, we may need a couple more glances at this device in the future to really see its potential.

Gamers and developers everywhere would do well to monitor what heat comes from the Kindle Fire after its release later this year!