Of the three devices that run Google’s Android TV platform, one of them is already fading from the market.
Razer’s Forge TV, which went on sale in May, is no longer available from the Google Store or Razer’s own online shop. We’ve reached out to Razer for clarification, as it’s unclear if the $99 set-top box has been discontinued for good.
Update: Here's what Razer had to say:
"Following our acquisition of OUYA, we've been focused on integrating the content we inherited and building a spiritual successor to OUYA with the Forge TV. We're doubling-down on Android gaming in the living room and looking forward to producing the world's largest library of Android TV games, from AAA to indie. Concurrently, we are working to ramp-up production to address present demand and should have more news to share soon."
As Android Police points out, Razer didn’t put much support behind the device after showing it off at CES in January. The company still hasn’t launched its Turret mouse and keyboard for living room gaming, or its in-home streaming service for playing PC games on the Forge set-top box. (In fact, the old webpage for this service is now blank.) Reviews of the finished product are hard to find on tech and gaming sites, as it seems Razer didn’t send out the Forge TV to reviewers. Worst of all, the device has never supported Android TV’s Netflix app.
Razer had big ambitions for Android TV as recently as July, when the company acquired the software assets of Ouya, an early entrant into the small-scale gaming console business. At the time, Razer said it would give Ouya users a “clear path of migration” to Forge TV, which itself would see “significant development” going forward. The plan was to bring Ouya’s existing game library to Android TV, and invest heavily in bringing new games to the platform.
For now, Forge TV is still available on Amazon, bundled with a game controller at a $15 discount. This could just be an attempt to clear inventory, but with an average customer review rating of two stars, Razer could be dealing with some extra stock for a while. Those interested in Android TV are better off buying a Nexus Player ($99, and usually on sale for less) or an Nvidia Shield ($199) instead.
Why this matters: If you bought a Forge TV, its disappearance from store shelves don’t bode well for continued support on Razer’s end. But if this is more than just a temporary setback, it’s also bad news for the Android TV platform, which as a whole seems to have less enthusiasm from Google compared to the far more popular Chromecast. Although Google is still pushing Android TV as a platform for TV manufacturers, set-top box makers might not be so eager to jump in with Razer exiting the game so early.
Editor's note: This article originally published on 11/11/15 but was updated on 11/13/15 with comment from Razer