Amazon Shakes Up Mobile Gaming By Freeing It
Amazon Underground, an app launched two months back, is causing quite a stir at the moment. Having tripled its selection of free games in just two months it has also led to an increase in money for developers with no cost to the consumer. If Amazon Underground continues at its current rate of growth it will be more than capable of going toe to toe with Google and Apple.
What is Amazon Underground?
For those of you who are unaware, Amazon Underground is an app by Amazon that has an entirely new system of paying developers. Rather than the customer paying for the game or paying via In-App purchases Amazon takes the bill and pays developers per minute played by the consumer. The player doesn’t pay a dime for this service and since its inception it has brought significantly more money to the developers’ table. Developers have claimed to be receiving double the revenue they were previously getting from Google and Apple.
Ravio (Angry Birds), is getting triple the revenue it used to on the previous version of the Amazon Appstore, according to its SVP, Tero Raji:
“In the first month since the launch of these games, the Amazon Underground model has brought us up to three times more revenue compared to the same games’ user revenue in the Amazon Appstore previously.”
And Halfbrick Studios’ (Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride) CEO Shainiel Deo commented on the success:
“Thus far we have doubled the downloads and revenue from our apps in the Amazon Appstore and most interestingly, customers are engaging with our in-app purchase content within our games at an extremely high rate. Since all in-app purchases are free in Amazon Underground, they can play the games in new and exciting ways.”
Why is Amazon Underground’s Success Important To Gaming?
You might be asking yourself why Amazon Underground becoming popular with developers is a big deal. A lot of people, myself included, hate most mobile games and so surely shouldn’t care about this, right?
Amazon Underground’s success may be the thing that boots mobile gaming out of the ‘Quick Cash Grab’ area into an actual platform worth investing in. Why do people hate mobile games? I think it’s because of the free-to-play genre. You download a game for free, but in order to progress you ended up spending more than you ever would if you bought it to begin with. This set up inspires the thousands of Bejewelled clones we have to sift through because the formula is perfect for getting people to shell out.
Amazon Underground’s system will force developers to make games that have better quality and replay value. Free-to-play games like Candy-Crush, Juice Jam, Frozen Free-Fall (insert any unimaginative rehash of a match three game here) rely on psychological tricks to keep you playing. You know that little stamina bar? That is key to a successful time sink. Think about it for a second, what happens when you binge on something? It becomes less appetizing to you, doesn’t it? But what you can’t have always seems attractive, right? Bring those two concepts together and suddenly you have this potent little psychological trick that can hook anyone! (Kicks Fat Princess ‘Silver Dedication Trophy’ under bed). Basically, this mechanic prevents a player from binging on playing the game. Therefore, the game doesn’t lose its allure the same way that playing 72 hours of Final Fantasy VII: Dirge Of Cerberus will and when you run out of stamina the game seems even better. You’ve been ripped from your happy playtime and the only way to continue is to open your wallet.
It’s a bit like the completionist principle, but on a slightly different vein. Either way, it is a tried and tested formula that won’t be able to work in Amazon Underground’s system. Since all in-app purchases are free that means being able to have as much stamina as you will ever need. Effectively killing this devious trick. What will truly work in the Amazon Underground system are games that are well put together, RPGs, visual novels, maybe games like Super Drift, time-consuming games that are actually good and not endless money making clones. If Amazon Underground becomes a real competitor I am very confident that gaming on tablets will become more than a casual gamer’s hobby and will only add to the growth in the colossal mobile app market.
Difficulties With Amazon Underground
Google aren’t going to go down easy. Amazon Underground is a great idea if people use it, but you can’t download it in the AppStore. If you want to get the app you have to install it via a third party and mess around with the setting to allow it. It is entirely possible that Google will work to make downloading Amazon harder in future.
Amazon Underground isn’t available in every country. Here is a list of where it is available, and you will surely notice that China isn’t available. Which isn’t so surprising considering, Google is blocked here and everyone uses Baidu for the most part, However, China would be a major boost. The mobile market is huge here and I rarely go a day without seeing several people playing on their Xiaomi phones. The only console they have here is the XBox One and I don’t imagine that is making much money when you can pay a hacker to program every game known to man onto it or the same price as a cup of coffee and find it is entirely socially acceptable. I’d be interested to see where Amazon does expand to in the future.
Amazon isn’t exactly an unknown in the world of the internet, but when you have the AppStore pre-loaded on your Android tablet, getting people to try your app especially when it’s a large download, is hard. Google definitely have an advantage on that front, but that can be overcome with persistence. Overall I think it’s heading for success. Who said that innovation was dead?
Some Recommendations To Download On Amazon Underground
In my entirely unsponsored opinion I definitely have some free apps that I think you have to try:
Goat Simulator: If you haven’t heard of it I don’t know what rock you have been living under, but it is good fun with its crazy physics and goatiness.
Akinator the Genie: Mainly because I have been enjoying Jacksepticeye’s playthrough.
Farming Simulator: because it’s free and better than that one people on Facebook send you request for.
Demon Hunter: Chronicles From Beyond &Fearless Fantasy because they’re both great!
Also pick up the Office Suite Pro 8, but be aware that you can’t delete the preloaded lite version from your Android tablet unless you root the darn thing.
And that’s all folks. Tell me what you think about these new developments in the description below and don’t forget to share the love over your various social medias and tell your friends to give Amazon Underground some summer loving. In November…