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Showing posts tagged with How To

November 29, 2016

Becky Young

Calling all Android Developers! With the streaming media device segment expected to reach 439.8 million by 2020*, now is the perfect time to bring your existing app or game to the living room. For developers, bringing your app to the 10-foot experience can help you increase your customer base by putting your app or game in front of millions of people who enjoy entertainment and may not have seen your content before.

Join Mario Viviani, Amazon Technology Evangelist and former GDE, for a FREE WEBINAR as he covers what’s needed to bring your media streaming app to the living room the easiest way possible.

We’ll show you how to create high performing Android Media Streaming apps in minutes using a new development tool Amazon has created: the Fire App Builder template for Android Apps for TV.

Join Mario on November 30th to learn:

  • How to easily connect a native Android app to video streaming services with just a few lines of code.
  • How to create high performing Android media streaming apps in minutes using the new App Builder Template for Android apps for TV.
  • How to create rich second screen experiences, using Amazon Fling to share media files from mobile apps to the big screen.

Reserve your spot today

Want to learn more? Register today to learn how make the right changes to increase the number of downloads your app is getting:

Register for 7:00am PDT (3:00pm GMT) on Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Register for 1:00pm PDT (9:00pm GMT) on Wednesday, November 30, 2016

*Global Streaming Media Device Market 2016-2020, Infiniti Research Limited

November 22, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

Mobile and living room devices today present a varied landscape for developers to consider. One aspect that is particularly meaningful for your customers is where your app installs itself. Some devices, like the current Fire tablets and Fire TV have external storage through memory card slots. Other devices, like Fire TV Stick or older Fire tablets have only their internal flash storage. Running out of storage when trying to install a new app can be very frustrating for people who want to use your app. This frustration is compounded for customers who have added a memory card with lots of empty space and still get an error message that the device is out of space when trying to install. That frustration can quickly find its way into negative reviews for your app.

Luckily, for most apps, Android provides a simple solution. By specifying the installLocation in the app manifest, you can provide your user community with the best experience possible for whatever device they own. This doesn't mean they'lll never run out of space, but it helps best manage the space they have.

 xmlns:android="" android:installLocation="auto" android:theme="@android:style/Theme.NoTitleBar" package="com.examplecompany.myapp" platformBuildVersionCode="23" platformBuildVersionName="6.0-2704002">  android:name="android.permission.INTERNET"/> ¦ ¦

installLocation can be specified as any of the following:

[Read More]

November 04, 2016

Mario Mancia

Content providers often encounter difficult choices when trying to expand their offerings. You have the content, but how do you get it on to various platforms for people to enjoy? There are a few decisions you can make: hire a development team to create an app from scratch or hire a design team to create an interface.

Last year, in an effort help developers quickly create simple, media-oriented apps, we introduced the Web App Starter Kit—a template solution for Fire TV using web technologies. To expand our offerings, we now offer a native Android solution: Fire App Builder.

Fire App Builder

Fire App Builder is a Java framework that allows developers to quickly build immersive, native Android media applications for Fire TV without writing code. This is accomplished by using a plug-and-play Java framework based on easy configuration files. Developers simply specify the format of their media feed and add resources for logos and colors to create a rich media TV experience.

Fire App Builder provides a functional foundation that does not require a team of highly technical, often expensive, developers to build on. It includes a familiar interface as well as a modular structure that supports most features common to media apps, including ways to monetize, ad support, analytics, search capability, and much more. With Fire App Builder, there is no need to reinvent the wheel, which greatly reduces the amount of effort, time, and resources to create a rich 10-foot experience for Android and Fire TV.

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November 03, 2016

Mike Hines

You work hard to convert your non-spenders (or at least I do in my apps and games). But have you ever thought about turning non-converting users into agents of positive change? Or did you realize that you could earn more money as a result of doing good. I didn't!

But then I learned about Seeds, and a discovery they made: giving non-payers the opportunity to make in-app purchases for good could be the most powerful conversion tool there is. Seeds found that non-paying users are 58% more likely to spend when their purchase is for good. And these newly converted payers go on to spend an average of $25.

The kicker: Seeds focuses on for-profit, sustainable forms of social good such as microloans. These microloans are a form of sustainable social good because they’re interest-bearing, and the capital can be lent out again and again as loans are repaid. In most regions, default rates are lower than 2%.

This sounded interesting, but when I discussed Seeds with my colleagues, we assumed it would be a pretty hard sell to convince developers who are already struggling with low IAP conversion rates to give up some of those earnings to support a for-profit organization, regardless of how noble the cause may be.

[Read More]

November 02, 2016


Last month we announced support for blind and visually impaired customers on Amazon Fire TV through our screen reader, VoiceView. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the upcoming changes with VoiceView and how you can get started with making your app compatible for visually impaired customers.

VoiceView allows blind and visually impaired customers to discover content, access settings, and control playback in the core Fire TV experience. For an app to be considered accessible, on-screen information needs to be spoken. On-screen information can be bucketed into two major categories: focusable items and static content. Focusable items are items like buttons that a user navigates to and are actionable. This includes menus, login buttons, or titles of movies/TV shows and other content that users can access while browsing content. Static content is on-screen information such as a movie’s description, duration, and rating. Text on-screen providing a URL and code to activate a subscription, for example, could also be considered static content.

Getting started with VoiceView

To get started with VoiceView, the first thing you need to do is make your app compatible with the Android accessibility framework. For tips and best practices, please look at the current documentation.

[Read More]

October 28, 2016

Greg Bulmash

The last Login with Amazon blog post described how to set up the Login with Amazon plugin for Wordpress. In this post we are going to look at the steps you can take if you receive the following error message when trying to log in:

In this case, the login process at Amazon seems to work, but when the pop-up window closes, you get the error message. Even more perplexing, you will have what appears to be a valid access token in the URL:[...] &token_type=bearer&expires_in=3600&scope=profile&state=[...]
When you have this specific issue, the likely reason is that you don't have curl set up properly.
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October 27, 2016

Mike Hines

There are a lot of considerations you want to consider when developing a game, from IAP design, to level difficulty and more. While some of the basic considerations, such as “fun and engaging” go without saying, there’s an additional requirement that successful developers are increasingly taking into consideration when designing a mobile game: longevity.

Incorporate ongoing, perpetual content

In a study of the top-grossing freemium games in the Amazon Appstore, we found that 56% of a game’s revenue occurs after the first 30 days. And the players that stick around past the 30-day mark are willing to spend 60% more for in-app purchase items.

The depressing news is that about 80% of the users in our study didn’t launch the games again after the 7-day mark.

So how do you encourage more of those 80% to stick around? One solution is to design your game with a strategic approach of perpetual content. In other words, carefully create a plan to deliver ongoing, changing content. This is the approach that Wooga takes with their hidden object games, and they have been successful in their design goal to “make games fun for a year”! As a result, their customers have rewarded them with significantly higher revenues.

What does perpetual content really mean? Consider adding new game modes, outfits, weapons, maps or whatever else your users want every week or month.

Here are some other things for developers to consider in the longevity arena:

[Read More]

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.

[Read More]

October 20, 2016

Greg Bulmash

There are a number of plugins available to help you integrate Login with Amazon (LwA) into your website. One of these is the LwA plugin for WordPress. If you allow users besides yourself to log in to your WordPress installation, it can be useful to let them use their Amazon credentials to log in, giving them one less ID/password combination to remember.

It's quite simple. Install it, activate it, configure it, and it will add a "Login with Amazon" button below your regular site login form. Here's how that works:

Install it

In the Plugins section of your WordPress control panel, select “Add New”. On the “Add New page”, search for "Login with Amazon".

[Read More]

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?

[Read More]

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.

[Read More]

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.

[Read More]

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 11, 2016

Greg Bulmash

Login with Amazon (LwA) allows your customers to log in to your website or app using their Amazon credentials. LwA uses the OAuth 2.0 protocol making integration easy, and allows you to provide a more personalized user experience such as greeting visitors by name or displaying customized offers based on zip codes.

Depending on the permissions you request as part of this authentication (and what the user approves), LwA returns information you can use to connect to different Amazon APIs and obtain information about the user, perform tasks on their behalf, and/or incorporate Amazon services into your interactions with them.

The JavaScript SDK for the web use case

When a user opts to use Login with Amazon to log into your site, you have to send them to an Amazon controlled page where they enter their email and password. This provides assurance to the user that you are not peeking at their password. When a user completes a login and approves the permissions you requested, the main browser window is redirected to a URL of your designation with information embedded in the URL.

There is one use case, involving the JavaScript SDK for the web and an Implicit Grant (where the "response_type" is "token"), that returns an access token with a URL fragment (#x=y) rather than a query string (?x=y). Why does this happen?

[Read More]

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.

[Read More]

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