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January 27, 2017

Mike Hines

IndieFaves.jpg

Earlier this month we launched a brand new program to highlight outstanding achievers in indie mobile games; those earning accolades in indie prize competitions around the world. Each month Amazon Appstore will feature of a special collection of these indie game titles on the Games gateway on the Amazon Appstore.

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January 20, 2017

Peter Heinrich

UnityWebinar2.jpg

Unity touches 770 million gamers all over the world through games made using their engine. If you are one of the millions of developers who create with Unity every day or are considering developing with Unity, you won’t want to miss our latest free webinar: Integrating Amazon APIs in Unity.

In this webinar you will find out how easy it is to incorporate Amazon APIs, such as in-app purchasing, mobile ads, and multi-screen support, into your Unity app.[Read More]

January 19, 2017

Abdullah Hamed

UnityBlog(1).jpg

In our previous post in the series, we shared the 2 ways to integrate the Amazon IAP API into your Unity game: using the built-in cross-platform Purchasing API from Unity or using the Amazon Appstore Unity plugin. In this episode we provide a detailed walk through for implementing the Amazon IAP Unity plugin.

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January 11, 2017

Abdullah Hamed

UnityBlog.jpg

So, you have this shiny game you made in Unity3D. You have tested your monetization funnel. You have created all of your In-App Purchase items (IAP). All you need now is to integrate it with Amazon Appstore In-App-Purchasing APIs. There 2 ways to integrate the Amazon IAP API into your Unity game. You can use the built-in cross-platform Purchasing API from Unity, or you can use our own Unity Plugin. In this blog, we will look at a basic comparison of the two methods, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. We will also walk through setting up IAP items and implementing the Unity Purchasing API in your game.

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October 21, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

Achievements unlocked!

Achievements and trophies are available on most platforms today and help build engagement with your players in a few ways. They capture “the moment” for the player when they accomplish something meaningful in the game. And over time, for some players (like the “Achievers” of the Bartle taxonomy) they form a scrapbook, or collection, of sorts that marks their experiences over a variety of games. Finally, they provide another storytelling tool that allows the game designer to guide the user through different approaches to playing the game and exploring the game world, perhaps in ways that might not be obvious—completing a level in a very short time, or only using a certain weapon. 

In our previous installment, we spent quite a bit of time working through setting up leaderboards for your game. Let’s build on that by adding GameCircle Achievements and give your players some goals to strive for.

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October 20, 2016

Mike Hines

One of the biggest challenges I have in my apps is keeping users interested. If you share this challenge, you might be interested in some things that we’ve learned in the Amazon Appstore, and some simple things we found that work well to keep customers engaged.

First and foremost: customer expectations are really high. No wonder, there are so many apps available—it’s easy for them to simply delete my app and download another.

Consider this: According to Google, the average user downloads about 26 apps on their mobile device. And because average users only spend about two hours a day using apps, there isn’t much time to convince customers that your mobile game is where they should be spending their time.

How can we keep the interest of users that are swamped with a million things to do and so many other apps to distract them?

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October 18, 2016

Becky Young

With more and more developers worldwide launching freemium titles, we embarked on a study to see who is doing this effectively, and what they are doing that the rest of us aren’t.

Over the past year, we have been sharing the in-app purchasing (IAP) lessons we observed in our study of the top 50 game developers. Our top five lessons are now available as an eBook: In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Developers.

The eBook takes a look at data gathered in a 30-day study. It breaks down retention rates, daily time spent playing games, and average daily revenue. It then looks at the top 50 games in the study to uncover the similarities that lead to their success. Its purpose is to provide a knowledge template for developers that are looking to monetize their games using IAP.

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October 14, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

Take me to your leader…board!

Now that we have GameCircle set up and Whispersync working, it’s time to bring out the competitive instincts of our players with leaderboards. Leaderboards are a staple in the gaming landscape and allow players to compare their scores with all the other people who have played the game today, this week, or ever. Depending on the nature of your game, you can have multiple leaderboards. Retroids has an overall leaderboard, as well as separate leaderboards for each type of control—touch, game controller or Amazon Fire TV remote control—to allow players to compare themselves against people who play the way they do. For another type of game, you might have just a single, overall leaderboard or leaderboards based on level, character class, or whatever makes sense.

Figure 1 - List of leaderboards in Retroids and the Top Scores leaderboard

Setting up leaderboards

Unlike Whispersync, you need to do a little configuration on the Amazon Developer Portal before you can use them. Never fear, the set up work is very easy, but first you need to create your title in the developer portal. You don’t need to publish it or even upload an APK to continue on to the rest of the set up steps. Refer back to the earlier post in this series to set up GameCircle if you haven’t already done that.

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October 13, 2016

Mike Hines

A free chocolate. Extra storage. A rare gem. A badge of loyalty. A new character or theme.

We can all agree: everyone loves an unexpected gift. And it doesn’t matter how big or small the gift is, it makes you feel good.

Whether it’s a bonus storefront item or a character upgrade, offering a free gift is a smart, surprise-and-delight monetization tactic that we see developers use to create “happiness in the moment,” as well as to strengthen a game’s loyal fan-base and bottom line over time.

Gifting: a closer look

You want your users to feel good, right?

Of course you do. But you also need to meet your game’s revenue goals by having players visit and buy your in-app-purchase (IAP) items.

Here are three ideas on how to engage users with nice gifts and transform that gift into meaningful revenue down the road:

  1. Increase Player Retention: Sending a small “gift” to your game’s users on a random basis can be a great way to encourage players to return frequently—while adding an exciting element of surprise. This also plays into what social psychologists call the law of reciprocity. Giving an unexpected gift encourages players to respond to your positive action with another positive action. It’s nice to be nice!
  2. Encourage Future IAP Purchases: When a new player finishes their first session of your game, give them a free IAP item as thanks for having tried your game. Many users will recognize the kind gesture and will return to the game later to try the new items, and may be even more likely to check out your IAP store upon their return. Note: Do NOT make this gift contingent upon their visiting your store or buying something first. Experienced players can be cynical when it comes to the “the first one is free” method of marketing IAP items. Make it a genuine, no-strings-attached gift for the best response.
  3. Encourage Re-Engagement: If you want to remind inactive users that your game still exists, consider creating incentives—like extra lives for characters or eye-appealing cupcake toppings—for your customers to encourage them to re-connect with your game. Doing this can remind them why they liked your game in the first place, and can bring them back to re-engage.  

Turning a free app into meaningful revenue

Developers who use the freemium model must first focus on building an innovative, engaging game, and then also create high-value IAP content that will delight players. Offering special, unique gifts to introduce players to the value you’ve added in your IAP content is one smart way to showcase that value to potential customers. It could even encourage players to make future purchases and engage for longer, generating meaningful revenue for your game.

The Amazon Appstore is designed to make it easy to manage your IAP catalog, and we have enhanced our In-App Purchasing API to make it easier (and faster) than ever for you to integrate Amazon IAP into your game.

To learn about why IAP should not be an after-thought in game development, but rather a key factor in your design requirements, check out our recent eBook: In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers”. The eBook highlights the top five actionable insights we uncovered in our recent study focused on the top 50 freemium games in the Amazon Appstore.

 

 

October 07, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

So far in our Building Retroids series we’ve looked at detecting and handling controllers and remotes for your Amazon Fire TV game, implementing in-app purchasing to drive revenue, and how to leverage social features such as leaderboards and achievements with GameCircle. Today we are going to look at that how to implement some basic Whispersync for Games features to make your GameMaker: Studio game more convenient and fun for your players.

To the cloud!

Whispersync allows you to easily store information in the cloud—such as player progress and settings. This is convenient for your game customers who play on multiple devices or who, for whatever reason, might uninstall your game and then install it again later.

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October 06, 2016

Peter Heinrich

We’ve all heard stories of mobile games that explode in popularity, only to become irrelevant and obscure months later. The key to ensuring your mobile game doesn’t become just another a “flash in the pan”, you have to think about longevity. How can you build a game that keeps people coming back for more?

A world of shrinking attention spans

Let’s face it: if your game gets stale and boring, users will leave—and fast.

It’s not enough to release a product, then sit back and watch what happens. Instead, you need frequent content updates to keep players engaged and coming back.

Smart developers today understand that the mobile games that ultimately succeed are those that continue to grow and evolve in meaningful ways—over time—with fresh content, new features, and exciting game play experiences. This can be delivered to users in the form of downloadable content, such as new game levels, or user-created content (think Minecraft worlds and Trivia Crack tidbits).

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October 03, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

In the previous post in our series we walked through how to implement in-app purchases in your game using GameMaker: Studio. So now that you have an IAP catalog full of great items and ready to generate revenue, we have to make sure your users stay engaged—and spending. We’ve seen that incorporating social elements into your game is a great way to boost engagement and help drive revenue.

Make your game social with GameCircle

Players today expect social features like friends, leaderboards and achievements. They also expect to be able to play your game on all of their devices without losing their progress and settings. Amazon GameCircle offers several features to improve engagement and retention. Leaderboards allow players to compare scores with their friends (and maybe their enemies) to capture the coveted top score status. Achievements provide mileposts for players to help pull them through the experience and keep them engaged and exploring the game. Finally, Whispersync for Games provides a way to store game progress and settings in the cloud so they automatically sync to every device on which your customers play your game. GameCircle is supported on Amazon Appstore titles running on Amazon devices and other Android devices.

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September 30, 2016

Mike Hines

IAP.png

 

According to Newzoo’s Mobile Games Market Landscape report, there are approximately 49.3 million mobile gamers who can be classified as Big Spenders, spending more than $25 per month on or in mobile games.

As a developer, you no doubt aim to attract these Big Spenders to your game, as well as keep them engaged—and spending. In our new eBook, “In-App Purchasing Lessons from the Top 50 Game Developers”, we share engagement and retention strategies we have learned from the top 50 revenue-grossing freemium games in the Amazon Appstore. We found that when compared to a sample set of other freemium games, the top 50 generated on average 24 percent more average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) per day. Part of their success came from catering to those potential Big Spenders.

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September 23, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

Most mobile games today use some form of in-app purchasing (IAP) as part of their monetization strategy. Using Amazon IAP in GameMaker: Studio is not particularly difficult – once you know how to do it. But getting to that stage takes some careful study and experimentation. Hopefully, I can help short cut that process for you as I describe how I built it for Retroids.

Understanding in-app purchase basics

By now, I’m sure most of us are very familiar with IAP. There are three types of IAP items found in games—consumables, entitlements and subscriptions—with consumables and entitlements being far more common, so that is what we’ll cover here.

Consumable IAP items are things that are used, or consumed, during gameplay. Gold, gems, health, potions, etc. You might by a “Bag of 500 coins” and then use those coins to outfit your character, buy gas for a race car, etc.

Entitlement IAP items are things that are “unlocked” and continue to be available to the player forever after that point. Level packs or special items like a gun, sword or personalization items like a costume or theme pack are common entitlements.

One of the great things about IAP is that your game doesn’t have to deal with collecting the user payment information, authorizing and processing the payment, and all the other aspects of securely managing credit card information on your own. As you can imagine, users may be reluctant to enter their payment information separately in every game they are playing. You can rely on the Amazon Appstore to handle all those backend details and to provide a single place that customers already trust with their payment information.

On Amazon Appstore, as with other app stores, there are parts of the IAP that you configure on the server and parts that you code in the game. Each IAP item is referred to as a SKU (stock keeping unit, which is a legacy retail term for “an individual type of thing you are selling”). This includes the name of the SKU, the price and a few other pieces of metadata. The price that is configured in the Appstore is what the customer will be charged. Your game can’t change that at run time, but you can change it whenever you want—without requiring an app update—on the server.

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September 16, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

Now that we have game controllers handled, let’s take a closer look at how to set up your Amazon Fire TV game for use with the Fire TV remote.

Using the Fire TV remote for game input

The Fire TV remote control is available with and without the microphone and voice search button, but since that is reserved for the system both remotes expose the same keys for use by apps.

D-pad and d-pad center button

The circular d-pad on the remote control is accessed in the same way as the game controller d-pad.

      if(gamepad_button_check(global.gamepad,gp_padu))
          {
                 // move up
          }

The select button in the center of the d-pad sends the vk_space keycode.

[Read More]

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