Google is following Amazon into the crowded television device market with their Nexus Player, which looks to offer the best of all their available worlds inside one device. Among all the promised features, the Android machine is offering itself as a game system with a controller that has sections from various other video game controllers on the market currently. An early observation making the internet rounds is that this device seems to carry a lot of familiar features to the Amazon Fire TV, leaving many to ask if another similar device is worth the price.
The Google Nexus Player separates itself from the company’s own Chromecast with the ability to use apps and games from their Play store on top of streaming capabilities. Separating itself from Amazon Fire TV, however, seems to be a more challenging task as both are being advertised as streaming and gaming devices. The largest difference between the two seems to be the lack of a program that streams directly through Android ala Amazon Prime. That being said, the Play store still has movies and television shows that will be available, making this difference seem negligible.
The Nexus Player, as far as features, will showcase everything Google has to offer through the Android system. The system will run through a 1.8 Ghz quad-core Intel processor with eight gigabytes of storage and one gigabyte of RAM. Google will include a remote control with the Player itself that is voice search capable for searching Netflix, Hulu and other available subscription services, or to search through uploaded pictures, videos and music from other Android devices. The streams will have the standard 1080p streaming capability and sports a 64-bit Imagination PowerVR chip for cutting-edge graphics coming through living room televisions.
On the gaming front, Google is including the capability to purchase and download titles out of the box, but is leaving the controller needed to play the titles off as a separate purchase. Android’s entire catalogue of mobile titles will be available for download, and there is still a possibility of bringing other mainstream titles for the system as Amazon Fire TV has with Minecraft and The Walking Dead. The Nexus Player is slated to cost $99 and will come with a remote controller, and pre-orders will be taken starting Oct. 17 with a full release coming Nov. 3. A sold-separately controller for games will be $39 and be released Nov. 3.
The Google Nexus Player’s controller has quite a few similarities to those put out by the major console developers today. Two joysticks have a side-by-side, Playstation controller setup with the Xbox-based A, B, X and Y buttons present above and to the right. The directional pad is also of Playstation decent while the shoulder buttons look to be taken from the Wii U gamepad. This amalgamation has three center buttons with a circle, for options, and a backwards arrow, for going back, surrounding a larger power button set inside a matching black controller case. Its overall design is separated enough from the Amazon Fire TV gamepad to keep it recognizable, but many are questioning Google and their commitment to the gaming crowd given this separation of controller and console.
By Myles Gann