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Amazon Fire TV Can Now Play Tablet Games

For a streaming device, Amazon is placing a pretty heavy emphasis on the Fire TV's gaming capabilities. A new update has given the box the ability to play tablet-style games, swapping out touch controls for a controller.

Amazon has detailed the Fire TV's new software update version, which goes by the name of 51.1.4.0_user__514006420. In addition to support for tablet games, the update adds screen mirroring for guest users and the ability to bring your Fire TV to another country (although for right now, this feature is restricted to travelers between the U.S. and the UK).

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After installing the software update, users don't need to do anything special to access tablet games. Simply download the game you want to play and proceed as normal. Gamers should note, however, that they will need either an Amazon Fire Game Controller or a wired Xbox 360 controller; the standard Fire TV remote will not work with tablet games.

Controlling the games is also fairly straightforward. The left joystick moves a cursor, the A button functions like a tap and the shoulder buttons control cursor speed. This system may not be fast or accurate enough for the most demanding touchscreen games, but it's a fairly elegant solution for the inherent problem of transferring tap controls to a standard controller.

Gaming will likely be an important determinant in the race between the Fire TV and its closest competitor, Google's Nexus Player. Seventeen new Fire TV games have appeared in the past 30 days, bringing the total number to 381, compared to about 35 for the Nexus Player.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.