Amazon has been making an effort to interest app developers, especially game developers, in their distribution platform lately. As has been mentioned here in the past, their GameCircle will allow for all sorts of social features to be integrated into just about any game without much trouble. Before this, many of the more popular Android games were unable to make use of their full feature set because of the Kindle Fire’s disconnection from Google services.
Moving forward along the same lines, Amazon has released plugins for the popular Unity game engine that should make it easier than ever for developers to add some in-app purchasing to their productions and build GameCircle into their games.
There are a number of reasons that this will be attractive. According to the press release regarding these plugins, in-app purchasing averages more than twice the revenue generation of paid app sales per transaction. Developers who can interest their users enough to encourage the occasional purchase will benefit from ongoing sales and therefore enjoy a fairly nice stream of income.
The GameCircle features help with this. GameCircle’s main attractions are Leaderboards, Achievements, and Whispersync for Games. The first two are easy ways to nudge players into spending more time immersed in the app. More exposure and more personal time investment means more likelihood of making a casual purchase. The latter feature, Whispersync for Games, encourages use of multiple devices and allows players to pick up where they left off even if they delete local data. That means that there is a far lower bar to replay should somebody be interested in running through their favorites a second time.
This will be both good and bad for the players, but mostly good.
By bringing these features to the Kindle Fire, Amazon has finally provided all the tools that developers will need to properly prepare their apps for distribution via the Amazon Appstore for Android. This will lead to more games, and apps in general, being made available for the Kindle Fire.
Whispersync for Games should go a long way to encourage quality game design as well. Since there is reason to hope that users will keep coming back now that their progress and achievements can be saved even after deleting an app temporarily, there is more reason to provide ongoing support and updates.
Of course the ease with which in-app purchases can be offered also means a slew of new apps meant to do nothing more than milk microtransactions out of every user. These types of lazy designs are a big presence on Google Play, but there’s been nothing keeping them away from Amazon aside from the extra effort it would take. I’m not referring to the genuinely malicious software, of course, but even the merely bad can be obnoxious to watch out for.
Expect to see more games with more features springing up in the months to come thanks to these plugins.