The best-selling streaming player on the market today, Roku, recently revitalized its capabilities with the announcement of the Roku 2. Minuscule when compared to the original Roku, the new device adds a collection of new channels such as FoxNews.com and AOL, the ability to activate subtitles, and the most appealing to many, the ability to play games. In fact, the Roku 2 XS set to retail at the price of $99.99, is shipping to retailers now and includes a Wii-like remote incorporating motion control to enjoy gaming on the device. To help launch gaming support on the new Roku 2, the groundbreaking mobile game, Angry Birds will debut on the platform allowing users to experience Angry Birds on the big screen. Read more for my thoughts on where I believe this could be headed.
Anthony Wood, CEO of Roku, has stated that Roku will be targeting ?games in the $5 range rather than $30 range.? This statement along with the addition of a Bluetooth Wii-like controller, makes me wonder if OnLive is pulling strings to become one of Roku?s hundreds of channels available. While the current Roku 2 remote may not be suitable for the experience OnLive has to offer, I would not be surprised to see Roku introduce a more classic-style controller for the Roku 2 sometime down the line to allow for a console-like experience on their device.
While Roku is just now entering the gaming market and has a lot to earn in order to compete seriously in the gaming industry, could we possibly see Roku go after the PlayStation and Xbox market later down the line? I think it is a great possibility especially with services such as OnLive requiring little to no hardware requirements. Who knows? Maybe Roku is testing the waters with gaming on the Roku 2 to determine if investing in the gaming industry would be practical for the company. It will definitely be interesting to see where things go from here, but the one thing I do know is if gaming is truly heading towards the cloud and streaming technology, don?t expect the competition to be restricted to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo for much longer.