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June 23, 2014

David Isbitski

We recently had the chance to talk to developers from across Europe and the United States about their experience with Amazon. They shared their insights on monetization, customer acquisition, ease of submission, and the marketing of their apps.

You can also check out some of the highlights from the video below:

Developers like Pixowl are Seeing Higher ARPU than on Other Platforms

According to an IDC survey of 360 developers sponsored by Amazon, 74% of the surveyed developers said that Average Revenue per App/User is the same or better (38%) than other platforms. Sebastien Borget, CEO and Co-founder at Pixowl, and Stephan Berendsen, Founder and President at BBG Entertainment, were excited to see their apps monetize better on a per-user basis than on competing platforms.

‘Revenues Per User on Kindle are for us up to 4x times higher than on Google Play’ Sebastien Borget, CEO and Co-founder, Pixowl

Stephan points out that Amazon customers are used to paying for content and that the standard Amazon one-click payment method makes purchasing apps even easier for customers.

Reach More Customers with Amazon Marketing Tools

To tap into this customer pool and leverage the monetization potential, Ben Howard from Viewranger actively uses the Amazon Appstore capabilities available and has added the Amazon Appstore badge to their website to leverage the Amazon brand with its customer base.

“It’s a very unique device and comes with a lot of brand recognition. We get to use the Kindle Fire logo, we get to say that the app is available on their platform, which just means that more and more people are going to use our app.” Ben Howard, App Marketing and Sales Executive, Viewranger

Submit your App Today

The IDC survey also noted that 65% of surveyed developers are experiencing total revenue on the Kindle Fire on par or better than other platforms. And since most Android apps just work on Amazon Appstore without any additional development, it’s a great time to get started. Sign up for a free developer account here.

Additional resources on getting started

 

June 19, 2014

Peter Heinrich

Were you able to attend Amazon’s Pre-Conference Developer Day at GDC 2014? Video recordings of all the sessions are now available online, so it’s not too late to learn how Amazon can help you build, engage, monetize and distribute your game.

Cross-Platform Services by Amazon Support You All the Way

Amazon hosted a day of pre-conference sessions at GDC 2014.  Amazon experts demonstrated how AWS and Amazon’s mobile services can simplify every stage of game development including: building the backend, expanding to additional platforms, and scaling to handle more players.  The day also featured customer case studies that revealed best practices around: game architecture, game design, cloud technologies, and monetization strategies.

The sessions videos and supporting slides are shared on our GDC 2014 page.  The sessions posted include:

  • AWS Architecture — Nate Wiger, Principal Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services: Mobile, AAA, and MMO game companies alike are leveraging AWS to build cost-effective, scalable online games.  Learn how game studios are using AWS services such as Elastic Beanstalk, DynamoDB, Amazon S3, CloudFront, and ElastiCache to build online games that can scale from 1,000 to 1,000,000 users, while paying only for what they use.  Finally, Nate shares some thoughts about the future of cloud gaming based on worldwide trends.
  • Game Analytics — Nate Wiger, Principal Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services:  Free to play is now the standard for mobile and social games.  But succeeding in free-to-play is not easy:  You need in-depth data analytics to gain insight into your players so you can monetize your game.  Learn how to leverage new features of AWS services such as Elastic MapReduce, Amazon S3, Kinesis, and Redshift to build an end-to-end analytics pipeline.  Plus, Nate shows you how to easily integrate analytics with other AWS services in your game.
  • Engaging Your Audience with Mobile Push Notifications — Jon Turow, Senior Product Manager, Amazon Web Services & Mike Pesce, Senior Manager, Amazon: Mobile push notifications are a fast and universal way to engage and retain players.  Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) provides one simple API for fast, reliable, scalable, inexpensive push notifications to Apple, Google, and FireOS devices.  In this session Jon and Mike cover how to use Amazon SNS to publish cross-platform notifications and then, architectures and techniques for utilizing game data to send the right message, to the right player, at the right time.
  • Amazon AppStream – New Gaming Experiences Using the Cloud for Game Streaming — Collin Davis, GM of Amazon AppStream, Amazon: In this session you’ll see how AppStream, Amazon’s low latency application:  streaming service, can help you create new compelling gaming experiences across many platforms.  Collin details how one team used the flexible platform to remove device constraints and enable new gameplay experiences.  You’ll see a tablet demo that exhibits a massive scale and streams from AWS to the tablet to create one single “hybrid” game that goes beyond what you could do on a tablet alone.
  • What's Working in In-App Monetization — Mike Hines, Developer Evangelist, Amazon: In this session we share data and tips that Amazon has gathered from the top 50 revenue-generating apps that use IAP. Then we look at some innovative mobile ad ideas and explore the re-discovered future of in-app monetization…e-commerce. 
  • A/B Testing with Air Patriots — Paul Cutsinger, Developer Evangelist, Amazon & Russell Carroll, Senior Producer, Amazon: A/B Testing is about using data to challenge assumptions and test new ideas, often leading to increased engagement and monetization.  In addition to showing you the latest cross-platform testing services at your disposal, we discuss the "happy accident" that the Air Patriots team made. It was unexpected and led to an increase in both retention and monetization.
  • Large Scale HTML5 Games on Desktop, Mobile & Tablets with KANO/APPS — Jesse Freeman, Developer Evangelist, Amazon & KANO/APPS: Join us as we explore the current and potential future landscape of HTML5 games with our guest speakers from KANO/APPS, makers of Mob Wars: La Cosa Nostra, Zombie Slayer and more. We discuss how they transformed the iconic Flash game Free Rider into a thriving online HTML5 destination. We also demonstrate how Amazon enables publishing these kinds of HTML5 games to the Kindle Fire.

Learn More

For more information about developing cross-platform games with Amazon, working with the services discussed in the videos, and expanding to additional devices such as Kindle Fire and Fire TV, visit our developer website and the AWS gaming page.

To register for a free developer account, click here.

-peter (@peterdotgames)

 

June 18, 2014

David Isbitski

Today in Seattle, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos unveiled Fire, the first phone designed by Amazon. Fire is the first and only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective and Firefly. Dynamic Perspective is an entirely new technology that responds to the way a customer holds, views and moves the phone. For example, Zillow is using the Dynamic Perspective SDK to create the ability to zoom in on pictures within their app by just moving the phone closer to the user. The revolutionary Firefly technology already recognizes movies, music and more and with the Firefly SDK developers can extend the use of the Firefly button to enable new actions their users can take based on what they can identify. As a developer, these new technologies enable you to create more immersive experiences in your apps and games that increase user engagement.

The Fire SDKs are available now, and make it easy for developers to take advantage of these features in their apps. These SDKs were designed to offer developers power and flexibility with pre-built controls, low level APIs, and complete UI frameworks. You can download both SDKs here.

How Developers Are Using Dynamic Perspective

Fire apps are built with the same familiar Android development environment you are used to. Fire provides a powerful set of hardware to bring your apps alive. With 2 gigabytes of RAM, a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-core 2.2 GHz CPU and an Adreno 330 GPU, Fire will support the high performance game experiences customers crave. For detailed technical specifications of Fire, click here.

Zillow used the Dynamic Perspective SDK to integrate real-time information into their app’s user experience. In the Zillow app for Fire, customers can view new listings or nearby homes for sale and rent, right on the Fire carousel without having to open the Zillow app. In addition, Zillow brought a new photo experience to the device so users can use their head to zoom in on a bedroom or peek to see what's around the kitchen corner. “Real estate shopping is an inherently mobile experience so any chance we have to bring listings or new information to a home shopper while they're out on the go is a great thing,” said Jeremy Waxman, Vice President of Marketing and Mobile, Zillow. “Photos are incredibly impactful for home shoppers—it is the most common activity for users of our app. We are thrilled to be able to go one step beyond static images and offer our users the opportunity to zoom in on the photos and then peek around the room with the Dynamic Perspective SDK.”

Ezone.com, the creators of Snowspin and Crazy Snowboard, used the Dynamic Perspective SDK to allow a customer to navigate the endless runner game with just their head—no tapping on the screen necessary. Using head and hand movements, users can control direction and speed. Users can interact with games in a more immersive way – without their hands getting in the way of game play. Additionally, Ezone.com created a special flip jump in Snowspin currently exclusive to Fire customers with just a flick up of the head. “Porting our existing Android versions of Snow Spin and Crazy Snowboard to Fire couldn’t have been easier, and we were able to add new innovative game moves such as a double backflip with just the flick of your head, enabling even higher scores,” said Simon Edis, CEO of Ezone.com. “The Amazon team had all the tools ready to go, making it super easy for us to just drop them in our games and publish.”

CrowdStar used the Dynamic Perspective SDK to create the ability for Covet Fashion users to select their favorite fashion choices for their model. Using zoom and tilt, players can see details of outfits to vote on looks. “Dynamic Perspective is so innovative we’ve just begun to figure out how to take advantage of all the technology has to offer. The simplicity of the user interface and design around a one handed experience will really allow us full creativity as we look ahead in our portfolio of apps and games,” said Jefferey Tseng, CEO of Crowdstar. “Dynamic Perspective has unlocked capabilities we’ve always wanted to create in our game—incorporating zoom and pan in an incredibly natural way without having to touch the screen, is the first example.”

Firefly – Experiencing the World around You

Firefly understands your surroundings, instantly helping you to learn more, discover new things, and take action on the world around you. It can scan physical objects, identify them, and obtain related information about them. Everything from book covers, album covers, bar codes, QR codes, movies, television shows, songs and more. Developers can use the Firefly API to supplement item identification or build actionable options for customers after an item is recognized. For example, iHeartRadio used the Firefly SDK’s built-in music recognizer and music database to identify a song playing. Then they built their own Firefly action to create a station based on the song Firefly recognized.

Go beyond Touch with Shortcut Gestures

Because phones are often used with only one hand, Fire also offers one-handed shortcuts that go above and beyond touch. These shortcut gestures allow you to simply angle the device and “peek” into additional information that your apps can display on screen. For example, customer ratings in the Amazon Appstore instantly appear over each app’s icon when the device is tilted. Navigation is enhanced with gestures: moving back is as simple as flicking up on the screen with a finger, while tilting the device in either direction brings up two additional panels for navigation and contextual information. Gestures can even be integrated inside your games so that users can experience the game in a more intuitive way. Imagine moving a character on screen simply by titling the device instead of having to cover what’s on the screen with your finger.

Creating Multi-Dimensional Experiences inside Your Apps with the new SDKs

Fire enables new ways of interacting with your phone by simply rotating the device around X, Y and Z axes. These gestures were designed to be used with only a single hand, a common scenario when using a phone. We’ve created a framework that integrates directly with these gestures and Fire’s new sensors, making it a simple process to integrate within your own apps.

Fire SDKs and APIs

The underlying technology for Dynamic Perspective and Firefly is sophisticated, but Amazon makes it simple for developers to harness their capabilities. See a full breakdown of the SDKs and their contents here.

Dynamic Perspective SDK

The Dynamic Perspective SDK includes a series of APIs and Controls to help developers create peek, tilt and zoom capabilities within their app based on customer head movements, create multi-dimensional game play, or provide quick navigation menus by tilting the device to the left or right. These experiences are created through a variety of visual effects including adding shadows, depth and tracking head and motion gestures. For example, you could create an app that allows you to peek at how many pages are left in the book you are reading, or browse your apps as if you were flipping through a physical file drawer. Flat cartoonish icons and graphics could be replaced with realistic visuals that use lighting, shadows and motion to create an experience you would want to show off at every opportunity.

Firefly SDK

With the Firefly SDK, developers can build apps that recognize real world objects—music, movies and more—and let customers interact with them. As a developer you can create more immersive experiences that increase both engagement and the frequency of app use. The Firefly SDK comes with built-in recognizers and databases for products, music, movies, URLs, and websites, as well as built-in actions such as dialing a phone number, looking up an object on Amazon or going to a website. Developers can use the Firefly SDK to take advantage of the built-in recognizers, databases and actions.

Fire is Android Compatible

Fire is based on Fire OS so if an app runs on Android it can run on Fire with little to no work. For a developer who just wants to get started with Fire they can do a simple port, or they can use the Fire SDKs to easily integrate UI features such as shadows or hovering images within the app or game, or creating left and right panels based on Fire’s three-panel UI design.

Fire uses the same familiar Android development environment, and while Android Studio is fully supported IDE, you can also use Eclipse and other IDEs. Android Studio Gradle support is also supported for builds. An API simulator for the Side Panels and Carousel is included to test code on stock Android emulators and devices without needing a physical Fire device.

We know that many Android apps and games are built with various technologies so the Fire SDK includes support for those as well. Unity, HTML5 and C++ are all supported. For additional details on using third-party frameworks click here.

Now Is the Time to Submit Your Apps for Fire

By optimizing your apps for Fire, you have the opportunity to create compelling experiences that combine realistic visuals, with both depth and perspective allowing customers to use their smartphone in ways never done before. Starting today we are updating Appstore Developer Select offerings, Amazon Mobile Ads API, and Amazon Testing Service with special Fire incentives.

Amazon Developer Select: Amazon will offer 500,000 Amazon Coins ($5,000 value) for each of your qualifying paid apps or apps with in-app purchasing that meet the additional program requirements for Fire Phone. You can create campaigns via the Promotions Console to give these Coins away to consumers purchasing any of your paid apps or in-app items. For more details on the Amazon Developer Select program for Fire click here.

Amazon Mobile Ads API: Developers earn $6 for every thousand interstitial ads displayed across any supported device in August and September (up to one million impressions per app per month) when they distribute their apps on Fire phones and send the first ad request from a qualified app. For more details on the Amazon Mobile Ad Network Interstitial CPM Offer promotion click here.

Amazon App Testing Service: We have also expanded our testing tool to Fire. Developers can now test their Fire apps before submitting them to the Amazon Appstore. Developers simply drag and drop an app and most will receive feedback about their app’s compatibility within 90 seconds. Additionally, registered developers have access to additional Fire test results that check the app’s experience. These tests enable developers to see how an app looks and performs on an actual device sitting in an Amazon device lab.

With the launch of Fire, Amazon now offers a complete device and apps ecosystem spanning across tablet, phone and TV. Customers pay for your apps once and interact with the experiences you create across all their screens. As a developer, you only need to submit your app once and with few changes make it available to your customers across all Amazon devices. Now is the time to submit your apps and games!

Additional Fire Developer resources:

-Dave (@TheDaveDev)

 

April 07, 2014

David Isbitski

This quick video will give you an overview of the Amazon In-App Purchasing API.  It will cover how to get started, offer advice on popular In-App items and categories, and cover the process for creating your own In-App SKU catalogs.  Whether you are completely new to In-App Purchasing, or have existing items for sale on other Appstores like Google Play, this video will help point you in the right direction.

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