FORTUNE -- Remember bookstores? Those adorable little places of curated and whimsy and fanciful stories? The place where we purchased books?
They're gone, mostly, and you can blame Amazon (AMZN). The $157 billion company got its start selling books online, happy to lose money while driving prices down, waiting for its brick-and-mortar competitors, with their thin margins and high overhead, to starve. They did, and Amazon won. The company has repeated this process for a number of other categories, to varying degrees of success. (Electronics, yes. Fashion, not so much.)
With Amazon Fire TV, announced yesterday, Amazon has its sights set on the gaming industry. The company's new Fire TV streaming system costs $99 and features, alongside ample video content, a suite of 100 games. That includes popular casual gaming titles like Minecraft and Monsters University, and other "high-quality, low-cost" hardcore games from Sega, EA (EA), Ubisoft, Telltale Games, and Gamelot. Users have the option to play games with the standard Fire TV remote, a smartphone app, or Amazon's newly revealed Fire game controller, which will retail for $39.99 starting in a month.
More meaningful than an inexpensive controller, or a game section in its service, is Amazon's new gaming studio. Amazon Game Studios is developing games exclusively for Fire TV, with a growing team: In February the company acquired a gaming studio with 75 employees called Double Helix. Today reports revealed Amazon hired Kim Swift, a designer of Portal, and Clint Hocking, a designer of Far Cry 2. Amazon Game Studios' first release is a game called Sev Zero, a third-person shooter game with the ability to go multiplayer. It looks and plays like the hardcore games from EA or Sega.
But in typical Amazon style, Sev Zero is a steal. The game only costs $6.99, and users who purchase the Fire game controller get it for free. Beyond that, the average price of paid games on Fire TV is just $1.85.
Compare that to the average price of videogames for Xbox (MSFT) or PlayStation (SNE). The latest World of Warcraft edition costs $49.99, or $69.99 if you upgrade to the digital deluxe edition. Grand Theft Auto V costs $54.99 for PlayStation 3. It's not clear if Amazon would convince those studios to include their games on Fire TV. Hardcore gamers will remain loyal to their systems and titles. But with Sev Zero and the host of low-cost games on Fire TV, Amazon is making a statement: The price of games will come down.
Compared with any other piece of digital media, from music, movies, and TV to news and books, games haven't taken a price hit with the shift to digital. With its entrance into the category, Amazon is likely to change that. Your move, game studios.
From New Orleans to Baton Rouge, game companies like Gameloft and Electronic Arts are setting up shop in Louisiana, and new startups are flourishing.
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A round-up of the companies, deals, and trends that made headlines.
Every day, the Fortune staff spends hours poring over tech stories, posts, and reviews from all over the Web to keep tabs on the companies that matter. We've assembled the day's most newsworthy bits below.Dozens of online stores -- including Toys 'R' Us, Barnes & Noble (BKS), and Radio Shack (RSH) -- have teamed up to launch a counter-offensive to Yahoo's MORE JP Mangalindan, Writer - Oct 6, 2010 6:45 AM ET
After years of stasis, Pandora is on the verge of being rewarded for recent growth with a fat check. But can Elevation Partners' Roger McNamee -- even with U2's Bono in the backseat -- pick a winner?
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Pandora, that online music station you likely have open in another tab right now, is on the verge of adopting a new sugardaddy. Elevation Partners, the venture capital firm most famous for its MOREAug 26, 2010 11:47 AM ET
Insiders explain why the future expansion of videogames with widespread appeal rests with Apple's already popular tablet
Since the first Game Boy hit our shores in 1989, gamers have used single-purpose devices for gaming on the go, a model most developers followed until 2007, when the iPhone took "walking-around" gaming mainstream. The smartphone's touch-screen interface, hardware, and widespread adoption means that both casual gamers and hardcore gamers could get their fix MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - May 3, 2010 10:04 AM ET
>Mason Cohn, Producer - Dec 17, 2009 3:14 PM ET
By Yi-Wyn Yen
Perhaps the third time is the charm for Electronic Arts. After its offer expired Friday, the video game publisher extended for another month its $2 billion tender offer to Take-Two Interactive's shareholders.
Many industry watchers say that EA (ERTS) and Take-Two (TTWO) are working on a friendly deal behind the scenes. Take-Two, the publisher of Grand Theft Auto IV, admitted Monday that it is in "formal discussions" with interested buyers. MOREyiwyn - May 19, 2008 12:15 PM ET
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Electronic Arts is selling more video games than Wall Street expects, but that doesn't mean chief executive John Riccitiello is happy.
Nor are investors. EA's (ERTS) stock dropped more than 3% in after-hours trading Tuesday after the video game publisher reported a $94 million loss in its fiscal fourth quarter compared to a $25 loss in the same quarter last year. Revenue rose to $1.1 billion from $613 million, MOREyiwyn - May 13, 2008 8:25 PM ET
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