March 19, 2014, 2:30 PM — Rumors have been swirling for a while now that Amazon might release a device similar to the Apple TV. But TechCrunch reports that Amazon's set top box might actually be similar to Google's Chromecast device. Is Amazon about to copy Google?
Amazon is readying a game console/set top box of its own, and we’ve learned from multiple sources familiar with the device that the Lab126-produced gadget will have a form factor similar to the Chromecast, or in other words it’ll be a stick or dongle as opposed to something like the Apple TV. In addition, one source claims it should have support for streaming full PC game titles, and as such might be able to compete with consoles including the Xbox and PlayStation, instead of just Android-powered living room game devices.
The stick form factor is not a surprise, given that Roku has just launched its own device using the same design, and the Chromecast has done so well in terms of attracting buyers. But the interesting component could be the way the gadget approaches gaming. Streamed PC titles is in keeping with some of what we’ve heard before in whispers around Amazon’s efforts, and makes sense given that the company sells digital download titles for PC and Mac direct from its ecommerce website.
Image credit: TechCrunch
Image credit: Amazon
I have to admit that the possibility of Amazon releasing a Chromecast type of device has totally taken me by surprise. I thought for sure that they'd emulate the Apple TV the same way that the Kindle Fire tablet resembles Apple's iPad. But it seems that my perceptions about Amazon's intentions were way, way off this time.
I have to give Amazon credit though if they do this. Google's Chromecast devices seem to be a big hit on Amazon itself, ironically enough. As I write this the Chromecast has a four star rating with more than 13,000 user reviews.
I'm sure that Amazon knows very well how many Chromecast devices have been sold on its site, and they mean to compete head on with Google. There's no doubt they are also well aware of the positive reviews posted by Amazon customers. And even Google itself has finally acknowledged the popularity of Chromecast media players recently.
We'll have to wait and see how well an Amazon Chromecast type of device will sell in comparison to Google's. But you should never count Amazon out, just when you think you have them pegged they turn around and do something completely unexpected.
GOG primes classic PC games for Linux
PC World reports that GOG.com is readying support for Linux.
GOG.com, a site that specializes in selling classic PC games for modern computers, has decided to support Linux after all.
GOG says it has been working on Linux support for the last few months, and will add support for the Ubuntu and Mint Linux distributions this fall with at least 100 games at launch. This not only includes classic games that ran on Linux originally, but games that never had official Linux support to begin with.
Image credit: PC World
While this is great news for Linux gamers, I also find it somewhat amusing that it comes in the wake of Valve's announcement of SteamOS. Yeah, I think Valve lit a huge fire under GOG.com's rear end that left them scrambling desperately to support Linux.
Oh well, you know what they say about never looking a gift horse in the mouth. I'll take as many games as I can for Linux regardless of what motivated developer support for them. Linux gamers are living through some great times these days, after so many years in the gaming wilderness.
The death of Flash and the rise of OpenFL
A developer shares some thoughts about why Flash is dying and why OpenFL should replace it.
I've been a stalwart Flash developer for 15 years, so nothing bothers me more than greatly exaggerated reports of Flash's premature demise. Even today, Flash remains a very viable platform with a large install base and a relatively healthy commercial ecosystem. Many awesome games have been written in Flash and/or Adobe AIR, including our own Defender's Quest, which to date has sold over 125,000 copies.
But even a long-time Flash booster like myself can read the signs of the time. Flash may not be dead, but it is certainly dying, and the killer is not Steve Jobs, mobile devices, or HTML5, but Adobe. They are slowly neglecting Flash to death.
I'd love to see Flash replaced by OpenFL. I've come to loathe Flash over the years so I won't shed any tears the day it is officially declared dead. I can't imagine why anybody would invest any time or effort into Flash if there's an open alternative available. Flash really cannot die soon enough for me.
What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.
The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.