Amazon is releasing a tablet that is $49 later this month, with pre-orders beginning now. This is actually a very notable event, especially for gamers of all genres. You might not think the world of tablet hardware has any impact on gaming, but it does – both in the mobile gaming sphere and in our world of PC / console gaming. First, let’s analyze what this tablet means, and then we’ll discuss why you should care.

In the $50 tablet range, there isn’t much in the realm of “useful.” Outside of the HP Touchpad fire sale, there isn’t many tablets that are notable in the sub-$100 realm. Mobile MMOs need a lot in order to be a satisfying experience. You first need hardware to run the game, a connection that’s stable (mobile data is far from that, still), and time to play. Therefore, the experience has to be boiled down to the point you could play for 5 minute blocks, able to leave at any time you absolutely have to.

This creates a lot of issues that aren’t easily solved, because if mobile data isn’t reliable, you’ll want players to play the game at home. Which is fine, but they’re not going to want to use a small screen like on their phone when they have a console or PC available. Therefore, they need a tablet, but tablets aren’t as accessible as smartphones. An iPad Air 2 is $399 and Samsung’s latest flagship is usually around the same price point, give or take $100.

In the sub-$100 arena, there is a lot of trash and nothing really notable, and something has to be at that price point to reach global adoption, otherwise no one is going to have the money for it. We all only have so many smartphones because of the $0 2-yr contracts. Let’s be honest, most of you reading this probably couldn’t afford the $899 sticker price of flagships of ye ‘olde time.

Amazon, who I believe loves moving the market around as if it was a ragdoll, makes its money off of consumption. It’s a consumption company. It focuses most of its attention on consumables – like books, movies, games, and household supplies. If you can consume it, Amazon really wants you to come to them for it. Look at the Amazon Dash buttons, so that you can easily reorder your washing detergent or the fact its emphasis has been on hardware to make eBooks a reliable business (Kindle).

Therefore, by releasing the sub-$100 tablet that you can literally buy in a six-pack for the price of a normal flagship ($249 for six) or buy one for the price of a tank of gas ($49), tablet adoption rates should skyrocket, assuming the hardware is everything they say it is. With a 1.3ghz quad-core processor, 1 gig of ram, and 8gigs of storage it’s rather not bad, good enough to play most games and run most any regular application in the store.

The consequence of this for Amazon is that they’ll have people clambering for the cheap devices as stocking stuffers for Christmas, greatly expanding the reach of their store (one is to assume). On the flipside, one thing we have to look at is gamers, is the fact that when players take surveys they will be more likely to indicate that they have a tablet, as obviously other hardware manufactures will try to move into the sub-$100 arena to compete (assuming that they have the desire to).

Thusly, when something like this happens, it means that game developers should look at something like second screen support much more seriously. One of the most requested features is the ability to manage inventory, auctions, equipment, etc. on a second screen, allowing you to manage your character leaning back in a chair, or while you leave the room, or the car ride home. Additionally, it makes finding info about a game easier – considering you can look it up without having to alt-tab out.

Additionally, mobile MMOs become more reasonable with the larger screen space, and the fact that there is WiFi. While it won’t revolutionize the industry, it’ll make tablets way more accessible, which will in turn make the idea of making tablet MMOs and MOBAs more enticing, for sure.

Of course, Amazon’s OS doesn’t use the Google Play store, and nothing is going to happen overnight, but rest assured, it’s a good thing for gaming, even if you never thought of it from that angle.

Thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in this article are that of its author.


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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

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Xerin 1
Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.

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