Amazon Developer Blogs

Amazon Developer Blogs

Showing posts by Paul Cutsinger

August 01, 2016

Paul Cutsinger

Today’s guest blog post is from Troy Petrunoff, content strategist at AngelHack. Amazon works with companies like AngelHack who are dedicated to advancing the art of voice user experience through hackathons.

This year Amazon Alexa teamed up with AngelHack, the pioneers of global hackathons, for their ninth Global Hackathon Series. Since 2011, the series has exposed over 100,000 developers from around the world to new technologies from sponsors ranging from small startups to large corporations. Amazon Alexa joined the fun this year at nine AngelHack events, sending Solutions Architects and Amazon Echo devices to give talented developers, designers, and entrepreneurs the chance to learn about the Alexa technology. Thirty two teams included Alexa technology into their projects.

Of the nine events Amazon Alexa sponsored, three of the grand prize winners won using Alexa. Winning the AngelHack Grand Prize earned these teams an exclusive invite into the AngelHack HACKcelerator program. AngelHack’s invite-only HACKcelerator program connects ambitious developers with thought leaders and experienced entrepreneurs to help them become more versatile, entrepreneurial, and successful. The program is intended to give developers of promising projects built at a hackathon the opportunity to listen and talk to some of the biggest players in the Silicon Valley tech scene on a weekly basis. All while providing them with the resources to successfully transition their Hackathon project into a viable startup with early traction.In addition to the grand prize, the Amazon Alexa team offered a challenge at each AngelHack event.  The challenge for the series was best voice user experience using Amazon Alexa. In addition to the three grand prize winning teams, two Alexa Challenge winners will also receive an invite into the HACKcelerator program. Participating teams of the HACKcelerator will be provided with mentorship and other resources to prepare them for the Global Demo Day in San Francisco.

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April 13, 2016

Paul Cutsinger

Hackster is a developer community dedicated to learning hardware and they’ve shared some pretty amazing projects using Alexa. Now, Hackster announced the Alexa Skill Contest to give developers like you a chance to connect your favorite hardware, IoT platform, and everyday life using Alexa.

Natural user interfaces, such as those based on speech, represent the next major disruption in computing. Alexa provides you with an opportunity to take advantage of the new form of interaction. Alexa, the voice service that powers Amazon Echo, provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice. You can build skills using the Alexa Skills Kit

We’re excited to see what you create with the Alexa Skills Kit. Submit your great skill ideas for our Alexa Skill Contest – extra points when your skill is published by May 30, 2016.

To get started, check out the details of the contest. Here are a few other resources to help you get started quickly:

I’m curious to see what you’ll build. Keep in touch, @PaulCutsinger.

January 20, 2016

Paul Cutsinger

Amazon Underground is designed to remove the barriers often encountered in premium (pay to download) and freemium (pay for in app purchases) monetization models while, at the same time, paying developers for every minute customers use their app. Because Amazon Underground removes friction from payment walls for customers, it can increase your download and engagement numbers. We’re seeing this effect in the game Farming Simulator 14 by GIANTS software.

We recently met with Christian Ammann from GIANTS Software, an independent video games developer based in Switzerland, and spoke about their experience with Amazon Underground and their game, Farming Simulator 14.

More minutes of usage and more downloads

With Farming Simulator 14, GIANTS Software brought the popular series to mobile devices after the growing success of the desktop versions since launching in 2008, and selling more than 2 million copies of Farming Simulator 2013 alone.

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October 27, 2015

Paul Cutsinger

With Advertise Your App, you can promote your app to millions of users  through ads on Fire tablet wakescreens and mobile placements on the Amazon Mobile Ad Network. Getting started is easy; you can create an Advertise Your App campaign in less than 90 seconds, and launch a campaign with as little as $100. And the best part? You only pay when a user clicks on your ads.

Recently we added a new feature to help developers improve campaign performance: custom creative. With custom creative, you can upload your own ad creative and use different images and copy for each ad size. You now have several options: you can continue to use the auto-generated ads that we create, you can create custom ads based on your own creative and copy, or you can combine auto-generated ads and custom ads in your campaign.

To create a custom ad, login to the Developer Portal and in the “Ad Preview” section, click the “Customize ads” button and upload your creative from there. Not sure how to get started? Below are 5 tips to help you create engaging custom display ads.

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September 16, 2015

Paul Cutsinger

Today Marmalade announced the launch of the free Marmalade for Amazon SDK. If you are like me, you have thought of half a dozen ideas for apps that would be great in Amazon Underground, where apps are #ActuallyFree for customers and developers get paid for every minute that the app is used. Now, getting those built is a whole lot easier with the launch of the Marmalade for Amazon SDK.

Marmalade is the first cross-platform solution to implement support for Amazon Underground APK management, including single click publishing, to simplify publishing apps to both Underground and the Amazon Appstore. 

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August 26, 2015

Paul Cutsinger

Today we introduced Amazon Underground to customers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France. Amazon Underground is a new Amazon shopping app for Android phones that has all of the functionality of our regular Amazon mobile shopping app plus an exciting new benefit: over ten thousand dollars in apps, games and in-app items that are #ActuallyFree. We’ve made this possible by working out a new business model for developers - we’ll pay you on a per-minute-played basis in exchange for you waiving your normal download or in-app fees.  This means, you can turn 100% of your Android users into revenue-generating customers, so from the minute your customers start playing, you start getting paid for each minute they use your Amazon Underground app. It’s a win for both customers and developers.

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August 24, 2015

Paul Cutsinger

Join our live Twitch broadcast on Tuesday Aug 25 7:00am PDT as we talk with Michael Molinari founder of Studio Bean and Choice Chamber. Choice Chamber is a real-time, crowdsourced, procedurally generated game where your fate is in everyone else's hands. We can’t wait to get Michael’s thoughts on game design in general, what it means to be social, and taking advantage of Twitch as a new channel for building community around your game.

As always, we’ll also force our guest to weigh in on our Twitch concept game, Planet Destroyer. After hearing the spiel and seeing a demo, we’ll ask him to give it to us straight: we want the unvarnished truth, her honest opinion of the idea and how we should realize it.

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July 23, 2015

Paul Cutsinger

On Thurday’s installment of our live dev show we welcome University of Southern California’s Sam Roberts, Assistant Director and Gordon Bellamy, Visiting Scholar. We’ll be discussing game design, game entreprenuerism and their game development program. We’ll also have a no holds barred critique of our concept game “Planet Destroyer"

Please join the conversation on Thursday July 23 at 11:00 am PDT at http://www.twitch.tv/paulcutsinger

For background, we’ve been talking a lot about how to get more game developers over the app poverty line and sharing best practices for building quality games and healthy businesses on the blog and at conferences.

Now, we’re doing something a bit different. 

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July 14, 2015

Paul Cutsinger

As a part of building our concept game “Planet Destroyer” we’re talking to a series of industry experts and mentors to help us think through everything it takes to make a game. In this episode, our guest is Starr Long, Executive Producer of “Shroud of the Avatar” the director of the original Ultima Online. We discuss the fundamentals of making a game while deeply engaging with players, how to focus intensely to preserve the uniqueness of a game, and marketing an indie game.

The central idea of our concept game Planet Destroyer is that it’s focused on the relationship between a Twitch broadcaster and their viewers. It has to be highly interactive and social to succeed. With this in mind we spoke to Starr about how we can use analytics to measure and optimize the social aspects of our game to increase engagement and revenue.

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July 08, 2015

Paul Cutsinger

As a part of building our concept game “Planet Destroyer” we’re talking to a series of industry experts and mentors to help us think through everything it takes to make a game. In this episode, our guest is Dmitri Williams, CEO of NinjaMetrics and we zero in on the social aspects of our game.

The central idea of our concept game Planet Destroyer is that it’s focused on the relationship between a Twitch broadcaster and their viewers. It has to be highly interactive and social to succeed. With this in mind we spoke to Dmitri about how we can use analytics to measure and optimize the social aspects of our game to increase engagement and revenue.

What We Discussed on the Show

full video

  1. Measure how social behavior impacts engagement and revenue – What is “Social Value”          
  2. Let’s put this in terms of revenue
  3. Tying this into your product’s features
  4. Importance of the Community Manager and how to attribute revenue to that role         
  5. Instrument Social Signals to enable optimization      
  6. Closing the loop on user acquisition costs and return on investment
  7. Preserving an authentic social graph
  8. The full impact of social on Free to Play games
  9. Helping to focus your community management efforts        
  10. The Fruit Basket Analogy
  11. Determine the downstream effects of your community engagement. Objective Virality  
  12. How to add NinjaMetrics to your app  
  13. Dmitri’s thoughts on our game Planet Destroyer      

Please join the conversation live on http://twitch.tv/PaulCutsinger each Tuesday through Friday morning (PST). And follow @PaulCutsinger on Twitter for the latest.  

-Paul