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Amazon Fire TV 'not trying to be a console,' exec says

"Great opportunity in between a console and a smartphone"

Amazon Fire TV sports a game controller, carries reasonably powerful hardware, and is supported by a game studio with several notable hires, but a key executive at Amazon says it isn't trying to build a standalone console.

[Amazon Fire TV: Images and video | Specs | US release date | UK release date | Fire TV Games | The controller | Exclusive game | Key dev hires | Ouya responds]

That's according to Amazon vice president Pete Larsen, who told Engadget that the system will not compete with the likes of PS4 and Xbox One.

"This isn't trying to be a console, but we do think there's a great opportunity there in between a console and a smartphone for fun, quality games," Larsen said.

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Larsen said the $99 device, which fuses the set-top box capabilities of Roku with the Android gaming options of Ouya, was not designed to fit into a pre-existing market category. Still, the system is launching with tactics familiar to console gamers.

Aside from the familiar (albeit optional) controller, Amazon is investing heavily in its first-party development operations: it hired well-known designers Kim Swift and Clint Hocking for Amazon Game Studios and purchased Killer Instinct developer Double Helix in February.

Amazon Game Studios will work on games "built from the ground up for Kindle Fire tablets and Fire TV." Its first game is futuristic third-person shooter Sev Zero.

Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman told us that her company's Android micro-console retains its niche despite Amazon's advances: "for us, games are not simply an 'added bonus', they are the whole point."

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