Anybody who has spent time on any tablet, including and perhaps especially the Kindle Fire, is likely to have at least tried out a game on it. Tablets are perfect for casual gaming in many of its forms. Since this is the fastest growing segment of the game market there will only be more people looking into ways to exploit the expanded user base as time goes on. Part of this is simply the fun of the games, but much has to be attributed to the prominence of social games such as those we find on Facebook.
Zynga, the elephant in the room when you’re talking about Facebook games, has formed their own social gaming hub where users can play games and spend money in an interconnected web shared between their friends and anybody else they desire to have contact with. They’re not the only ones looking to cash in on the social networking aspects of gaming.
The fastest way for a free app of the day in the Amazon Appstore for Android to lose a high rating is to include OpenFeint, a third-party social networking platform that allows for the incredibly simple addition of social features to any game. Due to some concerns about the company’s practices, specifically information indicating that their business plan involves data-mining mobile devices without authorization, the service is much less popular with potential customers than many developers might like.
Amazon is going to essentially make them irrelevant when it comes to the Kindle Fire, though. By the end of July, presumably roughly coinciding with the launch of the Kindle Fire 2, a platform will be in place to allow developers for the Amazon Appstore to include everything from high score boards to in-game achievement badges. No information has been mentioned yet about actual communication between social connections, but it seems unlikely that they would go to the trouble of creating an achievement system that didn’t allow for competition. Nobody is going to drive sales that way.
This seems to be yet another attempt to lure in developers who might otherwise choose not to deal with Amazon. While the Appstore has over 43,000 apps in it at this point, up from 4,000 slightly over a year ago, it still lags behind every other major store including that for Windows Phone 7.
It has already been shown that Amazon’s Android developers make more for their work than their counterparts working exclusively on Google Play releases, but the rate of increase is going to have to speed up if they are going to have enough apps available to make a real iPad competitor out of the eventual Kindle Fire 10” sequel. It’s doubly important since they will also be competing with the newly introduced Windows 8 tablets by that time.
I don’t think anybody doubts that in a Microsoft vs Apple flight Amazon is practically sitting out, but even without taking over the market they can still make a big impression if there is still enough to interest new customers in a media-consumption-driven tablet at a good price. That’s really all the Kindle Fire has ever done.