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September 18, 2014Nathan Lam
A common theme that developers often face is deciding which platform they should make their apps available on next. Are the users on this platform engaged enough? Will I be able to make money on this platform? These are only some of the questions that developers face, before investing their time on transferring their apps. For Playtika, a company which builds highly immersive social games, expanding their apps onto as many platforms as possible has become a core strategy.
Playtika’s app Slotomania currently holds the #8 spot worldwide for highest grossed mobile app on iOS and Android. In addition to iOS and Android, Playtika has also launched on the Amazon Appstore, which has proved to be a big success. According to Playtika, the Amazon Appstore provided the team with the highest ARPU (average revenue per user) compared to other platforms and also contained the highest retention rate amongst its competitors. Recently I had the chance to sit down with Elad Kushnir, VP of Business Development, to discuss how their apps were doing in the Amazon Appstore and their experience working with Amazon.
“The Amazon Appstore does not only make the migration easy from an existing Google Play app, but it also has outperforming KPI’s as well.” says Elad. The team has seen some impressive results since their app has gone live in the store and have done fairly well for themselves in terms of revenue. “When we compared our 2014 data, we noticed that ARPU on Amazon was 70% higher than on Android and 15% higher than on iOS”- Elad Kushnir
The team credits the unique audience that Amazon brings in and how engaged they are. “When we looked at retention rates for 2nd day and 7th day metrics, the retention was relatively the same across all platforms. However on the 30th day, retention on Amazon Appstore was 10%-20% higher than on iOS and Google Play.” Says Elad.
Playtika Sees 150% Higher Conversion Rates from Players to Payers on the Amazon Appstore Compared to iOS and 170% compared to Google Play
Getting users engaged is only half the battle. With a free app like Slotomania, conversion rates (paying users/ DAU) is crucial in terms of making revenue which is why Playtika is using Amazon’s In-App Purchasing API. So how many of these users are actually purchasing within the game? From Playtika’s data in 2014, they determined that the average user on the Amazon Appstore is 150% more likely to become a paid user than on iOS and 170% more likely than Google Play.
Figure 1In-App Purchasing
When the team came together to decide on their next platform, they chose the Amazon Appstore immediately. So why did the team decide that Amazon Appstore was the right choice?
“When we were deciding on our next platform, we already had our app on Google Play. We realized that moving our app from Google Play to the Amazon Appstore would be pretty easy since Fire OS is built on Android. Once we started, we got our apps up and running in a couple days and the process itself was seamless. The best part was that it had relatively low development costs.” – Elad Kushnir
From previous tests, we actually found out that more than 75% of the Android apps we tested just work on Kindle Fire with no additional development required. The team has now launched several of their games on the Amazon Appstore and are working on the getting the remaining ones up and running within the next year.
Moving forward Playtika plans to take their apps to the next level by getting them onto Amazon’s newest devices. Their current focus is to get their app on Fire, in which their team is already planning on integrating Fire’s exclusive feature, Dynamic Perspective. In 2015 Playtika is planning to also have their apps on Amazon Fire TV. For now, the Playtika team tells us that they are very happy with how things are going and plan to release even more apps on the Amazon Appstore in the near future.
August 25, 2014Mike Hines
Since the launch of Amazon Coins in 2013, customers have already spent hundreds of millions of Amazon Coins, representing real savings for customers and real dollars to developers who still received their full revenue share.
Today, we’re expanding the Amazon Coins program to Japan and Australia. Now customers in Japan and Australia can use Amazon Coins on apps, games, and in-app items from their Kindle Fire, Android phone or tablet, and on amazon.co.jp and amazon.com.au. Customers can enjoy apps and games for less by purchasing Amazon Coins, and the more they buy, the greater the discount.
For a limited time, every Kindle Fire owner in Japan and Australia will find 500 Yen/$5.00 AUD worth of free coins deposited into their Amazon Account. And as an additional incentive, customers can also purchase coins in bulk and receive a discount of up to 20% to spend on apps and games in the Amazon Android Appstore (regular discount is 10% off apps and games).
For developers, Amazon Coins gives customers more ways to buy, and more incentives to download and use your apps and games. While customers can save up to 10% when they pay using Amazon Coins, Amazon Appstore developers continue to earn their standard 70% revenue share. Customers enjoy real savings, while developers get their full revenue share.
We have already seen developers benefit from customers using their Amazon Coins to buy apps, games and in-app items. For many Indie developers, coins have accounted for the majority of their revenue since the US launch last year. Check out results from Halfbrick, PepiPlay, and textPlus to learn more.
本日、Amazonコインのサービスを日本とオーストラリアで開始いたしました。日本とオーストラリアのお客様はamazon.co.jp とamazon.com.auにおいて、Kindle FireタブレットやAndroidスマートフォンやタブレット上でアプリ、ゲーム、アプリ内課金のお支払いにAmazonコインをお使いいただくことでアプリ・ゲームをお得な価格で購入することができます。
July 18, 2014David Isbitski
Harpan, the developer of popular games Solitaire, FreeCell, Sudoku and Pyramid Solitaire, distributes more than 12 gaming apps on iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon Appstore. Harpan was interested in a cross platform mobile ads solution, which can provide the needed earning lift without compromising their user experience. In order to focus more on app development, Harpan needed a solution that was easy to integrate and could help track app performance.
Harpan decided to use the Amazon Mobile Ads API for monetizing their apps across platforms. Tim Oswald, co-founder and CEO of Harpan shared that Amazon was their solution of choice. The Amazon Mobile Ad Network delivered higher eCPM, provided a great experience for their users with high-quality tailored ads, and enabled app optimizations through actionable performance tracking and reporting.
Harpan’s earnings increased with the Amazon Mobile Ad Network. The biggest factor driving this was the payment structure. Amazon pays on ad impressions served instead of clicks on ads. “With the Amazon Mobile Ads API, we are consistently getting 20% higher eCPM on our Android, iOS and Kindle Fire apps compared to other ad networks. We were extremely pleased to see the Amazon Mobile Ads API performing better than other ad networks on iOS, said Tim Oswald.
The quality of ads was very important for Harpan to provide a great experience for their users. Tim explained, “While we want to increase our earnings, we don’t want to compromise our users experience. Amazon provides an engaging experience for our users by delivering relevant ads from Amazon and brand advertisers. We are seeing 25% higher CTR on ads delivered by the Amazon Mobile Ad Network compared to other ad networks.”
Harpan was able to integrate the Amazon Mobile Ads API in minimal time and focus their efforts on app development. Tim shared, “Enabling the Amazon Mobile Ads API in all their apps was very easy and took just few minutes to integrate the API. We really liked the integrated tracking, which helped us in monitoring and optimizing the performance of our apps in real-time.”
To learn more about the Amazon Mobile Ads API check out our Developer Portal here as well as our blog with tips on ad mediation and tracking ad events inside your apps.
*Your results may vary.
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:
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.
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
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 05, 2014Corey Badcock
IDC conducted an Amazon sponsored survey of 360 mobile application developers to understand their key motivators and gather feedback on their experience developing apps for the Kindle Fire platform versus Android and iOS. According to the survey, 65% of surveyed developers say that total revenue on Kindle Fire was similar or better than on other platforms. 76% of surveyed developers say that Amazon helps them connect to new customer segments.
To download the full report, click here.
IDC asked developers who currently build apps for the Kindle Fire to describe the return-on-investment profile of Kindle Fire and compare it to other platforms.
65% of the surveyed developers also say that the Total Revenue achieved on the Kindle Fire is similar to, or even better that, what they experience with other major platforms. 74% of the same developers say that Average Revenue per App/User is similar to or better than other platforms.
Finding new customers can be extremely difficult. Developers who build apps for the Kindle Fire say:
The Kindle Fire platform can be a significant source of net new business and “reach” for developers at a time when new segments may be difficult to find on competing platforms.
To learn more, click here to download The Case for Developing Mobile Apps for the Amazon Appstore and Kindle Fire report prepared for Amazon by IDC.
One of the questions we hear frequently from developers is which platform they should target first when building their app. Adrian Barritt, head of development at Barnstrom Games, along with his team asked the same question when planning their app The Chase. The Chase first launched in August of 2013 and was the first app that the team decided to launch in the Amazon Appstore. The app allows a team of four challengers to play against a machine to test their knowledge. When asked why they chose the Amazon Appstore, Adrian said that “the opportunity was huge, and [we] saw similar apps performing really well on the Amazon Appstore”. The team also mentioned that “it doesn’t hurt when you hear good things from others [Square Enix] and how impressed they were with the coverage they received” says Adrian.
Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Adrian to discuss how they got their app to rise to the top of the charts in the UK, and how they view their experience with Amazon Appstore. Here are some of Adrian’s observations:
“Our sales went pretty ballistic when Amazon launched Amazon Coins.” says Adrian. Amazon Coins are generally used by customers to explore and try out new apps. Customers can get Amazon Coins in a variety of ways such as purchasing or earning Coins for free. Developers can really benefit from this since there are a lot of customers waiting to use up their Coins on different apps. Barnstorm Games specifically saw their app benefit from this.
“Our sales went up 10-fold (1000%) for about a week during the Amazon Coins promotion when Amazon gave away a vast amount of Coins to their customers. Even after the promotion we saw a 500% increase in sales from what we used to get.”- Adrian Barritt
Part of Adrian’s strategy is understanding when consumers usually purchase apps. The team made sure that their app would be ready for launch before the holidays. As a result the team saw a “2000% increase on Christmas Day compared to our average sales we usually get per day”. Since then, the team continues to see a consistent increase of 200-300% in sales after the Coins promotion ended and is now consistently ranked among the top 3 apps in the UK.
“We are more than happy with our performance in the Amazon Appstore and our expectations have been exceeded” – Adrian Barritt
One of the goals for Barnstorm was to expand their app onto more platforms. Since the team initially built their app on the Kindle Fire, they knew that Android would be a natural transition. So how was the process for transitioning the app over to Android? “The transition for creating an Android version was very easy since Kindle Fire was just designed that way.” says Adrian. You may recall that 75% of Android tablet apps that we tested just work on Kindle Fire with no additional development needed so it’s not surprising that Adrian said that “there was no additional work needed beyond supporting GameCircle and thinking what services to use. Other than that it was very simple.”
“Even though we are on Google Play as well now, the majority of the time the Amazon Appstore still performs better than Google Play in terms of revenue”.
One service that Barnstorm is using to increase customer engagement is the GameCircle API. “With GameCircles’s achievement feature, it’s definitely helped us retain and engage our users” says Adrian. The team uses achievements to mark how well players are performing against others in “The Chase”, which has really improved average session length. After seeing the success with GameCircle, Adrian is currently looking into more services such as Amazon’s Device Messaging API to engage the audience even more by pushing out notifications to them.
The team has a new app that they just released in the Amazon Appstore called Tipping Point. The app is already topping the charts in the UK as well and the team has high hopes for it. Barnstorm also just participated in Amazon’s Free App of the Day program as well, helping them get even more exposure to customers.
Learn more about the tools used by Barnstorm Games
May 13, 2014Chengluo
Last year, we launched Amazon Coins in the US, UK, and Germany. As of today, Amazon Coins are available to even more customers in Europe as we are expanding the program to France, Spain, and Italy. We’re giving millions of Euros (100 Coins = €1) worth of coins to customers in France, Italy, and Spain, so this is a great time to submit new apps to the Amazon Appstore and ensure your existing apps are available for distribution in these countries.
Amazon Coins allows Amazon customers to buy and enjoy Android apps and in-app items at a discount, with savings of up to 10%. As a developer, you are paid whether your apps or in-app items have been purchased with Amazon Coins or another payment method, and you’ll continue to get your full 70% revenue share. Since the launch of Amazon Coins in the US, UK, and Germany, customers have already purchased hundreds of millions of Amazon Coins and are actively using them on Android phones and tablets, including Kindle Fire devices, representing real dollars to developers.
Kindle Fire owners will receive 500 free Coins automatically in their accounts and, for a limited time, users of the Amazon Appstore on Android phones and tablets will receive 500 Coins once they’ve updated the client and downloaded an app. During the promotion, you’ll have additional opportunities to boost your sales while customers enjoy buying apps with their free Coins. We ran a similar promotion after we launched Coins in the US, UK, and Germany, and developers gave us positive feedback about the monetization they achieved in conjunction with the promotion. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
“Sales went up 10-fold (1000%) for about a week during the Amazon Coins promotion and 500% afterwards.” –Barnstorm Games
“We saw a significant increase in revenue after the Amazon Coins announcement. Revenue from Amazon Coins during the launch week was higher than previous week’s revenue. What was also interesting is that our cash receipts also saw a lift from Coins.” — Halfbrick Studios Pty Ltd
“Our SMS texting and calling app revenues grew more than 300% on Kindle Fire the day after Amazon Coins went live, with a staggering 78% coming from Coins. We’re convinced that this virtual currency makes sense for developers no matter what category their app is in; it certainly does for us.” — textPlus, Inc.
We continue to receive positive feedback from developers about the monetization they see on Amazon and their ability to connect with new customers via Amazon Appstore. Learn what developers like Pixowl, TuneIn, and Toca Boca have to say in our latest developer blog.
To benefit from Amazon Coins, you do not need to integrate an API. If your apps are already available on the Amazon Appstore and available for distribution to customers in France, Italy, and Spain, you’re already set. If you have new apps and games that are still in development, then you’ll want to submit them soon to take advantage of this promotion. If you have a new Android app, we’ve found that 75% of Android apps we’ve tested just work on Amazon Appstore, with no coding changes required. Test your APK in less than 10 minutes with our drag-and-drop testing tool. It’s also a good idea to ensure your apps are available in France, Italy, and Spain, which you can check from your account on the developer portal.
May 02, 2014Rob Pulciani
At the Amazon Appstore, we’re continuing to create opportunities and services that help app developers reach more customers and make more money. Lately, we’ve highlighted some stories from app publishers who have had success distributing Kindle Fire and Android apps in the Amazon Appstore. You may have read about Soundtracker who increased average session length by 400% and Big Bubble Blue who generated up to 15% better ARPU. Many other developers are experiencing similar success and a recent article from BI Intelligence indicates that Amazon Appstore is “generating strong revenue results.”
“Popular Kindle Fire apps are generating 59 cents of revenue for every dollar earned by top apps in the Google Play store, according to a Distimo study. Download volumes are about half those on Google Play for top app titles — impressive considering how many more Android devices are in circulation.”
75% of Android tablet apps we tested work on Kindle Fire, with no added development necessary. And with apps available in almost 200 countries and strong monetization potential, there hasn’t been a better time to try the Amazon Appstore. Sign up for a free developer account and get started.
Check out the full Business Insider report here.
April 01, 2014David Isbitski
When it comes to monetizing your apps who couldn’t use just a little help? Amazon is consistently looking for solutions to help you simplify the process of attracting new users, increase discoverability, improve IAP performance and grow revenue in your apps and games. While we have built many solutions on our own we know there are a number of solutions outside Amazon that can help increase app revenue and get your apps discovered.
PreApps is one of those solutions, and we are working with PreApps to provide Amazon Appstore developers with discounted offers and services. PreApps connects developers and app enthusiasts, before the launch of an app, to help developers improve app quality and hopefully monetization as a result. The concept is pretty simple – users get access to your apps to help identify bugs and things like UI enhancements and if they like your app, they can help promote it through their social network. More than one-thousand apps have used the service, and we’d like to hear how it works for you..
Starting today Developers with a registered Amazon Account can get free access to the PreApps User Feedback program which includes the ability to post your free app, receive customer feedback, access to beta testers, see the number of users asking to be notified when your app goes live and access to PreApps App Analytics. We’ll be sending a code to all registered developers so keep an eye out for it in your inbox and let us know what you think.
To learn more about PreApps visit their website or you can read what TechCrunch had to say about them here.
March 26, 2014David Isbitski
Launched in 2012, publisher DJiT describes edjing as the first and only multiplatform track-mixing application on the market. With edjing, customers have been given the opportunity to mix like a professional DJ, record their tracks, and numerous effects and then share them out with friends. Available on the Amazon Appstore here and other platforms, edjing has already registered more than 15 million downloads and is available in more than 170 countries across iOS, Android, Windows and Amazon.
I had a chance to sit down with Jean-Baptiste Hironde, CEO of DJiT, to discuss their experience bringing edjing into the Amazon Appstore ecosystem, what they’ve found Amazon customers like about their app, and what type of success they’ve seen.
The process of updating the existing Android version of edjing for the Amazon Appstore was a simplified one and done by a single developer on the team. “We have been very pleasantly surprised on how easy it was to port the app over to Amazon. We only had few modifications to do in order to adapt to the Amazon environment, especially concerning the In-App Purchases. We just simply had to match our existing In-App Store SKUs with Amazon’s.” recalls Jean-Baptiste.
Figure 1- Mixing tracks in edjing
Amazon’s free In-App Purchasing API allows publishers to sell digital content and subscriptions—such as in-game currency, expansion packs, upgrades, magazine issues and more—for purchase within their mobile apps and games. It includes a fully integrated checkout experience with the Amazon 1-Click settings customers are familiar with.
Edjing chose to have a Freemium business model for the initial release. The app was downloadable for free but customers could buy additional features as in app purchases via the edjing in-app store. Currently this includes selling additional sound effects as well as customizable turntable backgrounds. The Freemium version also implemented an offer wall within the app, to help offer purchasing options to customers who had not bought anything yet.
“The Average Revenue Per Download (ARPD) on Amazon is actually higher than on Android.” – Jean-Baptiste, CEO
Figure 2- Buying a new Skin via Amazon's In-App Purchasing API
Based on the success with the Freemium model a Premium version of edjing was released. “Amazon monetizes very well, therefore we’re currently offering a Premium version. We actually noticed that though the volume of downloads might be lower than on other platforms, the Average Revenue Per Download (ARPD) is actually much higher than on Android." says Jean-Baptiste.
Soon after being launched edjing was also featured in the Amazon Appstore. According to Jean-Baptiste after being featured, the average daily downloads on the Amazon Appstore for edjing increased by 400% during that time.
“Amazon users spend more time in edjing than any other platform. Close to 25% of edjing for Amazon sessions exceed 30 minutes!” – Jean-Baptiste, CEO
Edjing has also seen a stronger engagement than on competitive platforms. “Amazon users are very qualitative users. User engagement with edjing on Amazon is higher than on any other platform. In proportion, Amazon users spend more time in edjing than any other platform. Close to 25% of edjing for Amazon sessions exceeds 30 minutes! “In summary, it is so easy to port the app on Amazon that there’s no reason you shouldn’t!” concludes Jean-Baptiste.
You can check out edjing today in the Amazon Appstore including both free and premium versions. You can find out more about the Amazon In-App Purchasing API here.
Note: Effective 08-26-2015 Free App of the Day (FAD) has been replaced with Amazon Underground.
DotEmu is a Paris based company that specializes in breathing life into classic games on modern platforms founded by Xavier Liard and Romain Tisserand. After being established in 2007, they quickly made a name for themselves as a developer with well received ports of games like Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII and VIII for Steam, SNK Playmore’s titles such as Metal Slug 1,2,3,X and King of Fighters 97. More recently, DotEmu became a publisher as well and released popular brands such as Double Dragon, Another World, R-Type and Raiden. They have been moving to mobile and chose to publish their Android based ports on the Amazon Appstore.
I was a huge fan of these games growing up so getting the chance to find out how DotEmu was finding success on the Amazon Appstore was a personal thrill.
DotEmu’s first game in the Amazon Appstore, R-Type, quickly reached the number #2 spot on our best-selling apps list. While DotEmu has had similar success on multiple platforms such as iOS, Android, Desktop and more, they said “we consider Amazon as the best alternative to Google Play in terms of revenues for the Android platform.” Now with seven games in the store including Double Dragon Trilogy, Raiden Legacy, Another World and The Last Express they are continuing to release just what classic gamer fans would love.
Screenshot from R-Type on the Kindle Fire
With so many games being released for the Amazon Appstore, DotEmu tackled the problem from the top down. “From a business perspective we needed to make sure all the costs associated to the publishing of our games on Amazon were below the revenues we could expect.” But this all comes down to an important question on how you can manage the time investment for supporting a new platform like Fire OS and maximize the return on investment (ROI) at launch.
DotEmu’s Android games are built with Cocos2d-x on top of their own custom technology with features to handle multiple achievement/score API support, controllers support and more. When approaching the way to integrate Amazon’s GameCircle API into their existing codebase, DotEmu took a forward thinking approach. They spent the time upfront to integrate the GameCircle API correctly into their framework. While this integration initially took them two weeks for their game engine, it now takes only a few days per game thanks to the effort they initially invested upfront. With this quicker development time plus an additional 1-2 days of QA time for each new port, DotEmu can now easily bring additional games over to the Amazon Appstore that offer the extra features that GameCircle provides.
After receiving a few thousand purchases per game released on the Amazon Appstore, DotEmu is already seeing a return on their time invested. That means moving forward, any additional release with GameCircle support is immediately profitable after launch given the upfront work the put in early on. But there’s more to being successful in the Amazon Appstore than just the time that goes into integrating our APIs.
Marketing your game in the store makes all the difference and DotEmu took advantage of working with our editorial team to create the biggest impact they could at launch. “Amazon is [a] very efficient [way] to advertise our games to the gamers liking retro games.” said DotEmu. In addition since the team didn’t require much help with the porting process, they were able to focus more on the marketing side things.
The good news is that this sort of help form Amazon isn’t reserved for top publishers. Any developer can apply for our Free App of the Day (FAD) promotion to work directly with us to help promote your game and gain brand awareness once you are accepted into the program.
So how did the team do? According to DotEmu, they “generated between 10.000€ and 50.000€ of net revenue on the Amazon Appstore in total”, all of which came from premium priced apps (as opposed to in-app products or advertising). Of course it helps to have a game with a recognizable brand for customer loyalty but it also depends immensely on the quality of the end product. The experience has been a success for DotEmu as they received a positive return on their investment in getting their first game into the Amazon Appstore.
By taking the time to implement Amazon’s GameCircle APIs in a way that supports future projects they can now release games with deeper integration on the platform and continue to increase their ROI. “The way to be successful with Amazon is to really think about long term business relationship and not to just release one game and pray for results without any support from the Amazon team.” according to DotEmu. This way of thinking is true about any platform, not just ours.
The audience for retro gaming is growing in the Amazon Appstore and with the help of great partners like DotEmu we are helping expand that category and open it up to our user base. We can’t do it without more great games like the ones being produced by DotEmu so keep them coming and take advantage of our platform’s unique APIs such as GameCircle as well as marketing opportunities like FAD to help grow your audience.
Screenshot from Another World on the Kindle Fire.
According to DotEmu “Today getting noticed in the digital world is extremely difficult and we can bet it will be more and more difficult in the future” which is why they also went on to say that “building up a long term business relationship with Amazon is consequently a no-brainer”.
For more resources on publishing Android games to Fire OS, integrating with GameCircle and the FAD program, check out the links below:
- Jesse Freeman (@JesseFreeman)
March 13, 2014David Isbitski
Founded in 2011 Pixowl, Inc is a mobile games developer headquartered in San Francisco, CA. With the success of its four iOS games, The Sandbox, Greedy Grub, Doodle Grub and Safari Party, Pixowl has made a name for itself in casual mobile games. Their game, The Sandbox, is a unique world-building and crafting game in 2D with touch controls and access to over 150+ physics elements. Players can craft amazing worlds, create pixel art, chiptune music, electric circuits or just play with physics.
I had a chance to sit down with Sebastien Borget, COO and Co-Founder at Pixowl and ask him about Pixowl’s experiences porting The Sandbox to the Kindle Fire, what type of success Pixowl has seen in the Amazon Appstore, and what it was like implementing many of the APIs available in the Amazon Mobile App SDK.
“We have built with Amazon an improved version of The Sandbox which is deeply integrated with Amazon’s GameCircle service for a more seamless experience on Kindle Fire.” – Sebastien, Pixowl
Pixowl was able to submit The Sandbox early on in the Amazon Appstore’s launch. “We were present at an event organized by Amazon UK to present other developers success stories on the Amazon Appstore. While it was still in an early stage of maturity we were really impressed by the performance the apps had already seen there. This convinced us we had to be among the early movers and adopt a cross-platform strategy fitted for each partner. Now, we couldn’t be happier about this decision as the Amazon team has held all of its promises and has been over achieving for us.” recalls Sebastien.
For the Kindle Fire version of The Sandbox, Pixowl decided to integrate Amazon GameCircle allowing a more seamless experience. GameCircle is a free, cross-platform API from Amazon that provides everything you need to implement achievements, leaderboards, and saved game syncing across any device, regardless of mobile platform. Once you integrate GameCircle, customers can play and interact with other gamers across any mobile device.
“Amazon is proving that Android users could be as engaged with games as on other platforms and made it worth considering alternative distributions models, with a huge revenue potential.” – Sebastien, Pixowl
“For us, the decision making process was relatively easy. On a business perspective, we wanted to make sure that the platform had enough of our core audience: kids and casual players, from 5 years old to 20+ . On the technical side, we had to check what level of compatibility with existing Kindle models was, evaluate the adaptations required and make sure we could provide the best game experience on the devices.” says Sebastien.
Pixowl already had an existing Android version of The Sandbox so moving to the Amazon Appstore was relatively quick. “The overall porting process took us 2 weeks maximum including development and testing. We are developing in C++ with Cocos2DX and everything worked almost seamlessly.” says Sebastien.
The Sandbox follows the “freemium” monetization model; a free download to all Amazon customers the games utilizes Amazon’s In-App Purchasing API to unlock additional campaigns of level or acquire elements faster.
The API offers a completely Amazon hosted checkout experience to customers and integrates fully with their Amazon account. They can choose to utilize their 1-Click purchase settings as well as Amazon Coins which now work on both Android and Kindle Fire devices.
According to Pixowl the Amazon Appstore represents 5% of the total downloads volume from all Android marketplaces, but over 20% of their total Android revenues. Some days, it’s could be as high as 50%! “That’s very close to the performance we’re seeing with Apple iOS!” says Sebastien.
According to Pixowl Amazon is proving that Android users can be as engaged with games as on other platforms. It made it worth Pixowl considering alternative distributions models, with a huge revenue potential. “Success is no longer determined just by the amount of downloads, but by their quality. Go for the full experience with Amazon. It’s really worth it!” says Sebastien.
You can check out The Sandbox in the Amazon Appstore here. You find out more about the Amazon In-App Purchasing API here and the cross-platform GameCircle API here.
Reaching More Customers and Making More Money Per User
In a previous case study, you heard about the tactics that Big Blue Bubble uses to monetize their free to play (F2P) games. In this study, we’d like to share how June Software increased their app exposure by going from an iOS-only producer to an iOS and Android platform producer, and how their presence in the Amazon Appstore has racked up higher Average Revenue per User (ARPU) than any other app store.
June Software is a small San Francisco based software company founded in 2008. They build casual, arcade games and e-learning games for children. Initially June Software only built games for iOS where they have titles such as Math vs. Zombies and Guess the Movie, which is ranked #3 worldwide and is #1 in Australia.
June + Unity + Amazon Appstore = Less Friction, More Revenue
To grow their customer base, June Software decided to address the Android marketplace. June chose to port their iOS games to Android using Unity. Unity allows them to build their app once and deploy it to multiple app stores, including the Amazon Appstore.
When we asked about their experience on Amazon apps store, June Software Director Products Saurabh Jain said: “On Amazon, we have seen 2x times the ARPU [we see] from Google Play, and 1.2x [more than] than Apple AppStore. The overall downloads aren’t there yet, but the revenue makes it a very good market for us.”
Increasing Time in Games Increases Potential Income
One effective strategy that Saurabh implemented is that they have integrated Amazon IAP and GameCircle features in their games, which increased potential revenue and player engagement. GameCircle includes features such as leaderboards and achievements that keep players engaged and can increase user session time and session frequency, giving uses more opportunities to make IAP purchases. And it works on Android and iOS. This is exactly what June Software needs for their games available for both platforms.
What can you do?
February 28, 2014David Isbitski
We just gave our case study page a quick update to make it easier for you to navigate and find the developer stories that you are looking for. Check out the case study page to see what other developers are building and learn what they are doing to engage their users, promote their apps, and successfully monetize them.
Take a look at some of the developer stories that we’ve recently featured:
Developers like Sean Sheedy and his two sons Tommy and Ian love to participate in MoDevEast competitions. In their latest competition the team created an app that would let you playback a track that somebody else recorded and while it plays back you can record your own track. Sean mentioned that “It was a no brainer to port this over to Kindle. It basically ran right away. We basically did no work.” Since Kindle is Android, it’s just like any other Android environment using Eclipse. “In development, it’s really cool that I can plug the Kindle in, and it’s just like any Android device. That is REALLY nice,” says Tommy. Read the full article.
When we spoke with Bryan Davis, the Director of Development of Big Blue Bubble, he shared some general strategy on how they generated 10%-15% better average revenue per user and 25%-30% better IAP revenue in the Amazon Appstore for My Singing Monsters. Davis tells us: “A very important aspect of monetization from free-to-play games is IAP (in-app purchasing). Our strategy is to go for volume, rather than chasing whales.” While average revenue per user (ARPU) is important, Bryan tells us that a high conversion rate is more important for Big Blue Bubble. Read the full article.
Others like Tribeplay have been building apps since 2012 and created the series of games under the title Dr. Panda that first appeared on iOS and Android. According to the team, making their Android Apps available on the Amazon Appstore required “little to no extra tweaking.” The team added that “one of the best things about the Amazon Appstore is that there wasn’t much work to get our apps on there. We already develop for Android, so getting our games on the Amazon Appstore was a real breeze.” The team ended up doubling their gross revenue in UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. Read the full article.
We plan to make these case studies a regular series, so check back every month for a new case study post, and learn more about how the Amazon Appstore is benefitting developers. If you’re interested in checking out other developer stories, visit our case study page. If you have a specific experience with your apps and games in the Amazon Appstore or integrating the Amazon Mobile Developer SDK that you’d like to share with other developers we would love to hear about it. Just email us your story at mobile-app-marketing(at)amazon.com and you just might end up on our website.
February 27, 2014David Isbitski
Kinetic Art, an Israeli startup established in 2010, is the publisher of the highly popular cooking app Look & Cook. Kinetic Art's core technology and intellectual property revolves around in-app ecommerce optimization.
Recently, Kinetic Art published Look & Cook to the Amazon Appstore (download here) their first ever-Android version. I had a chance to sit down with Dudu Mimran from Kinetic Art and talk about Kinetic Art’s experience publishing on the Amazon Appstore, what it was like implementing the Amazon Mobile Associates API, and what type of success they have seen so far.
“Look and Cook is a cooking and now a shopping app, thanks to Amazon’s Mobile Associates API. We are building a platform for building cooking apps.” - Dudu Mimran.
Having found early success on iOS, including an advertising campaign on Pinterest, the team decided it was time for an Android version. For Kinetic Art the most important thing for Look & Cook was ensuring a great user experience. They were confident they could achieve this vision on Kindle Fire as they only needed to target a single device vs a multiple of Android devices. “On Amazon, you can focus a lot on Kindle. With Google Play you have to make sure you having everything looking good on many, many devices. We decided it would be a much easier transition going from iOS to Amazon because of this.”
Look & Cook was able to leverage Amazon to create a culinary lifestyle experience by integrating ecommerce into the food and culinary world. The current version of Look & Cook now has numerous physical goods related to the cooking of the selected recipe. “We created a small shop within each recipe. The tools that are included in the app are recommended by the recipe creator to make the recipe perfectly. In general, this is what our investors have in mind. Our main business model in the future will be ecommerce. We are not there yet, but this is a great step. We are betting everything on ecommerce and we already have purchases. People are buying for sure,” declares Dudu.
“Look and Cook is a cooking and now a shopping app, thanks to Amazon’s Mobile Associates API. We are building a platform for building cooking apps. Amazon’s Mobile Associates API really excited us because we have always wanted to integrate ecommerce but it’s something very hard to do as a startup. Since Mobile Associates launched it has made it much easier for us. We are very happy working with Amazon,” says Dudu.
Even though the team has seen a smaller number of app downloads on Amazon vs. iOS people are definitely buying goods and they have already seen differences in the behavior of customers. “We have two types of users on Amazon: those that use it on an ongoing basis and those that love it for cooking. We also see those that love it for the very first time. They are more engaged on Amazon, and if I compare the amount and depth of reviews, then totally, people are much more engaged into the app itself,” says Dudu.
According to the team, once they understood the basics of integrating the API for Amazon Mobile Associates, things progressed quickly. “It was very easy, and it just works!” says Dudu.
“Our main business model in the future will be ecommerce. We are not there yet, but this is a great step. We are betting everything on ecommerce and we already have purchases. “
Figure 1- Look & Cook running on a Kindle Fire HDX 7”
Figure 2- Tapping on Shop will bring up a physical good for that recipe you can buy with the Buy Now button.
Figure 3- Clicking Buy Now takes you right to the product from Amazon without leaving Look & Cook
Figure 4- Look & Cook’s category of recipes
To measure success the team built a detailed level of conversion measurement. For example, they know how many people download the app, navigate through the app, navigated to an extended view, and buy products. In the future, one of the improvements will be creating greater exposure to other random products and not forcing people into the ones the app recommended.
It’s too early to tell how much money the team will be making but already they are seeing purchases. “It’s less important for the number at the moment, behavior is what is very important. Really getting customers used to the behavior is important. They are not accustomed to buying within the app. Now we are working on several angles: distribution, volume of users, exposure of more products, and then quality of product and selection,” says Dudu.
When asked about potential growth, the team projects as much as 8-10x growth once they start really marketing to users. Their favorite part about working with Amazon? “I would say the personal touch. This is very, very important to us and a huge differentiator. From a user perspective, Amazon customers are much more engaged and seem to be people that buy.”
You can check out Look & Cook in the Amazon Appstore here and find out more about the Amazon Mobile Associates API here.