Amazon Fire Phone and gaming potential

By Robert Workman, Jun 19, 2014 2:45pm PDT

Mobile gaming has skyrocketed over the past few years, as many developers release apps for Android and Apple devices and clean up financially. This week, Amazon introduced its debut in the mobile market with the Fire Phone, which will release on July 25th for $199.99-$299.99, depending on the size. The device has plenty of potential, but we're left wondering just what it'll be able to do with games. Our answer? Quite a bit.

The specs

The tech specs for the device, which were broken down by Modojo, are quite impressive. The Fire Phone comes with a 4.7 inch 720p IPS liquid-crystal display, which means you'll be able to see every beautiful pixel of the game you're playing. Furthermore, you'll also get a lot of power out of the device, since it comes packing with a 2.2 GHz processor, Adrenna 300 graphics chip and 2GB of RAM. In other words, it'll certainly run a lot more than your Angry Birds games.

Sure, the iPhone 5s is a bit more powerful with its A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor, but the Fire Phone is no slouch. From what we've seen in a pair of brief tech demos, it can shift 3D visuals with ease. That means it'll make use of fine examples in specific genres, such as first-person shooters and driving games.

What Dynamic Perspective can do

One unique feature that will make the Fire Phone stand out from the competition is Dynamic Perspective. This is a feature where your display actually moves around as you do. So, if you dip to the left, the perspective will follow in real-time, as if it's following your motions.

Game developers can easily incorporate this into video games to make them more unique. For example, can you imagine Minecraft if it managed to run with Dynamic Perspective? You can actually get a better look at the terrain you're putting together, in real time, without having to move around so much. (Plus, you might spot a few of those Creepers a bit sooner. We hate it when they sneak up.)

Survival horror could also benefit wonderfully from the Fire Phone's tech. The Dynamic Perspective would allow players to peek out or hide as necessary. Relying on your actual movements in real life could raise the tension, especially if the story were catered to the device. Maybe your phone is "haunted"!

Games could also benefit from the Dynamic Perspective feature offering an illusion of depth. Sega has an active mobile market, so a game like Super Monkey Ball could benefit not only from the motion, but from the perspective inside appearing to shift as you move it around. This could make playing games appear like peering into a diorama with actual parts.

Although not too many games have been announced for the device yet, you can bet that a lot of developers will take advantage of it to some degree. Double Helix was acquired recently, and so it only makes sense to put the studio to work on the new device. Its history runs the gamut from the creepy Silent Hill to the fighting game Killer Instinct and most recently to the Strider reboot, so we know the developer is very capable of adapting to different genres.

Fire TV Connectivity

With the Amazon Fire TV currently available, there will probably be questions about how it will interact with the Fire Phone when it comes out. The company hasn't detailed this yet, but there's bound to be some sort of game experiences that will be deepened by the addition of a second screen. Just look at what it did for the Wii U.

Dynamic Perspective can play a huge part in this. Imagine if you're playing a game where the main player is doing something, and the second is holding a Fire Phone, and needs to scout ahead to check on something that's going on. If developers can find a way to grasp this twin-screen interaction, it'll help sell more of both devices...and won't just make them popular for the typical App Store games that are available now.

It'd be nice for Amazon to fill in the blanks about what the Fire Phone can do in terms of working with the Fire TV, and we don't just mean similar look-up services for programming.

Potential galore

So, between the potential of connecting to the Fire TV (and downloading games you may have purchased on the Appstore), titles that may work with the Fire Phone as easily as they would the Fire TV (like the recently released Sev Zero), and future games being made specifically for the device, the Amazon Fire Phone has tons of gaming potential. It's just a matter of what push the company puts behind the device, and how much developers are willing to support it. One thing's for sure… Apple and Samsung aren't the only players in town.

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