Amazon and GameFly want to help you start playing.
GameFly, which lets customers rent video games through the mail, on Tuesday unveiled a new service to stream video games right to TVs, exclusively through Amazon's Fire TV streaming-media player. People can rent from six different themed game packs -- like the "Adventure Pack" with Batman: Arkham City and Overlord II -- for $7 to $10 a month. About 50 game titles are available on the new service, with more titles expected to be added in the future.
The new service pushes GameFly into the field of streaming video game services, which already include Nvidia's Grid and Sony's PlayStation Now. Another rival, OnLive, shut down in April after Sony purchased its patents. Streaming media has caught on with movies thanks to Netflix and music thanks to Spotify and Pandora. Yet video-game streaming is still a tiny market, in no small part because there remain delays between user's controls and the action in the games, which makes for a less-than-enjoyable experience for players.
Despite those challenges, GameFly's leaders were bullish on the service's prospects, with GameFly director Michael Moritz saying in a statement that the new offering "should help accelerate the growth of this market considerably."
For Amazon, the introduction of the exclusive service could help it gain more attention in the crowded market of streaming-media players, where it remains a second-tier player. Rival Roku is the leading brand, with 29 percent of sales during the first nine months of last year, followed by Google's Chromecast, taking up 20 percent, then Apple TV with 17 percent, according to Parks Associates. Amazon Fire TV, which went on sale in April of last year, held 10 percent of the market.
Amazon on Tuesday also said it added 600 new channels, apps and games to its Fire TV devices over the past three months. The platform now has over 1,600 titles, including the channels Fox News, Funny or Die and Popcornflix. That's still fewer than Roku's over 2,000 titles, but far more than Apple TV's few dozen channels.
Update, 1:13 p.m. PT: Clarifies OnLive's status and its April deal with Sony.