The 2nd-generation Amazon Fire TV Game Controller currently has a 1.6 star rating on Amazon. That came as a shock to me because I really like the new game controller, more so than the 1st-generation controller which has a 4.2 star rating. Curious if there was some huge flaw I overlooked, I read through the reviews, only to discover that all but one of the negative reviews were complaining that the new controller did not work with the 1st-gen Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.
Amazon’s original plan was to release Fire OS 5 to 1st-gen Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks before the new game controller’s October 22nd release date. The Fire OS 5 software update is required for those older devices to work with the new game controller because, unlike the bluetooth based 1st-gen controller, the new controller connects via WiFi direct, which Fire OS 3 does not support. Since Fire OS 5 for existing Fire TV devices has been delayed due to numerous bugs, it resulted in many unhappy 2nd-gen game controller owners left with a new device they couldn’t use. Amazon tried to get ahead of the backlash by sending 1st-gen Fire TV and Fire TV Stick owners who ordered the new controller an email explaining the situation, along with a $10 courtesy refund, but it hasn’t been enough to avoid a flood of negative reviews from buyers who have yet to even use the new controller.
Not counting the reviews complaining about incompatibility with older devices would leave the new controller with an average rating of 4 stars. Amazon has temporarily added “(Only Compatible with 2nd Generation Fire TV)” to the peripheral’s title in an effort to prevent future unhappy buyers until Fire OS 5 is released. The new title is sure to confuse customers since the page still mentions compatibility with the Fire TV Stick in several places. Amazon says “compatibility with Fire TV Stick and previous generation Amazon Fire TV will be available in the coming weeks,” so they haven’t scrapped plans to make the new game controller work with older devices. There’s no word on when exactly Fire OS 5 will arrive on the 1st-gen Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, but I would guess it will arrive around November 13th, which is when the new Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote bundle will be arriving with Fire OS 5 pre-installed.