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Amazon's TV Box Gets Some More Serious Video Games

Several of Playcast's games have never been available before on Android-based devices such as Amazon's Fire TV.


The Fire TV, Amazon’s 2014 answer to set-top boxes like Roku and Apple TV, was supposed to have its own gaming identity, with both original titles made by Amazon Game Studios and a focus on “mid-market” games.

In practice, though, the 700-plus game titles currently available on Fire TV have trended toward the casual and overlapped heavily with Amazon’s existing Android Appstore — meaning they didn’t wring much extra value out of the TV box’s $40 controller. A new app called Playcast thinks it can inject some more diversity into the system.

Playcast, an Israeli company now owned by game rental company GameFly, is launching a cloud-based game-streaming service in the U.S. today, and it’ll start exclusively on Fire TV. Rather than paying a flat rate as one might for Netflix (even though Playcast is billing itself as a “Netflix for games”), the service will instead offer bundles of games for varying monthly subscription prices.

Several of those games — including Batman: Arkham Asylum, Fear 3 and Grid 2 — do not yet have mobile versions, meaning the Fire TV may be a cheaper way to get them for gamers who don’t own a console or gaming PC.

Terms of GameFly’s acquisition of Playcast were not disclosed. Competitors in the game-streaming space include Nvidia, which offers a service called Grid, and Sony, which streams its older titles to the PlayStation 4 via a service called PlayStation Now; in April, Sony acquired the patents of an erstwhile competitor, OnLive.

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