Build Premium Experiences for Kid Skills in the US (Preview)
BJ Haberkorn Jun 14, 2019
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Alexa developers have already created thousands of kid skills that provide fun and educational experiences for families, such as a skill that encourages kids to brush their teeth and one that teaches kids how to run their own lemonade stand business. Today, we are excited to announce a preview of new tools that developers can use to build kid skills with in-skill purchasing (ISP) for the US Alexa Skills Store. With ISP, you can further enrich these kid skill experiences, offering premium content in the form of one-time purchases or subscriptions for families to enjoy across over 100 million Alexa-enabled devices.

ISP for kid skills is supported by new tools powered by Alexa, including APIs to help you create premium kid skills, as well as purchase controls that help account holders manage them. If you are interested in building a kid skill with ISP, fill out this form telling us about your use case and we will notify you if your application has been selected.

How It Works: Purchasing Controls for Premium Kid Skills

By default, when a customer is offered premium content in a kid skill and agrees to purchase, the account holder will receive an SMS or email requesting they approve or decline the transaction within 24 hours. If approved, the purchase will be completed, and the customer will have access to the premium content. If declined, the purchase will not be completed, and the customer will have access only to the skill’s free content. If the purchase request is neither approved nor declined within 24 hours, the request is canceled.  Account holders who want to allow purchases to be made in kid skills but do not wish to receive these approval requests can disable them in the Alexa app, allowing purchases to be made in kid skills without the request for approval.

Customers can opt out from voice purchasing in kid skills, which will disable voice discovery of premium content in kid skills, by disabling the feature in the Alexa app. To manage these settings, open the Alexa App and navigate to Settings -> Alexa Account -> Voice Purchasing -> Kid Skills Purchasing.

Amazon FreeTime and Amazon FreeTime Unlimited Offer a Curated Skill Experience

FreeTime on Alexa customers will not receive offers to purchase premium content within skills. And for FreeTime Unlimited subscribers, many of these premium experiences will already be available automatically as part of their subscription at no additional cost. See here for a full list of premium kid skills included in the FreeTime Unlimited experience.

If you have a kid skill that offers a best-in-class customer experience, and think it could be eligible to be included in FreeTime Unlimited, send an email to freetime-skills@amazon.com for consideration.

New Tools for Building a Premium Kids Skill

As part of this preview, you can build a premium kid skill using the tools that currently exist: the Alexa Skills Kit Command-Line Interface (ASK CLI) to write your own code, or the Alexa Developer Console to click through step-by-step instructions. However, we have built three new tools for kid skills specifically, to help you implement a thoughtful premium experience that is tailored to the controls set by the account holder:

  • An extension to the current getInSkillProducts API to see if a product is PURCHASABLE, whether the account holder approved the purchase, or NOT_PURCHASABLE, pending authorization OR rejected three times in the past 30 days, which will suppress offers for that product over the next 30 days.
  • A new inSkillProductsTransactions endpoint for transaction-level information, including when the request went into PENDING status and if a previous purchase request was denied. This endpoint is available only for kid skills.
  • A new endpoint to get the purchase control setting for an account, to determine if the account holder has ENABLED or DISABLED voice purchasing for kids skills.

Note that you must use the upsell API for when adding ISP to kid skills. Consumable products and Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills are not available for kid skills at this time.

Premium Kid Skill Experiences Available Today

Developers have already implemented ISP in their kid skills across a variety of fun and educational experiences, including:

Kids Court (Pretzel Labs): This skill teaches kids about the judicial system by allowing them to take their naughty friends, siblings or parents to Kids Court for a ruling from the Honorable Judge Lexy. Customers will learn how to articulate themselves clearly while presenting their case to Judge Lexy. Customers can play the judge in other kids’ trials once a day for free, or purchase the Supreme Court premium pack, which allows them to take as many cases as they want to judge.

You Choose Superman Adventures (Capstone): This skill entertains kids with an action-packed, interactive adventure with America’s favorite super hero, Superman. Customers will help Superman protect the citizens of Earth and Metropolis, and defeat the evil plans of the most cunning and powerful super-villains. Customers get the first story, Metropolis Mayhem, for free and then can purchase additional stories including Apokolips Invasion, Metallo Attacks!, and Superman Day Disaster.

Travel Quest (Universatile): This skill delights kids by taking them on a tour around the world, stopping at various countries and teaching them about the culture, history and landmarks. Each country includes ten destinations, 20 questions and 20 fun facts sure to provide hours of entertainment and education. Customers can access 6 countries for free, or can purchase additional themed country packs, such as the “Mediterranean Cruise Pack”, which provide more countries to travel to and learn about.

Animal Sounds (LC Publishing): This skill takes kids on a journey across the seven continents and into the vast oceans to learn about animals of different shapes and sizes. All customers will hear the animal sounds, while customers with a screen-enabled device are able to see the animals they’re learning about. Customers can access the continental pack for free, which contains some animal sounds to choose from, or can purchase the mega pack, which grants access to all of the continents plus an Oceanic pack of additional unique sounds. The mega pack also enables customers to use their Echo Buttons to request a new animal sound.

Master Swords (Touchpress): This skill teaches kids how to spell through a fun, captivating game. The mission is to retrieve their Uncle’s stolen swords from grubby gremlins, hideous orcs, wicked tongued witches and a number of other fantastical creatures by using words as their weapon. As kids spell words correctly, they advance to higher levels and get closer to retrieving the swords. Customers can access the first kingdom and one sword for free, or can purchase the premium experience which allows them to access four kingdoms with the opportunity to collect up to seven swords across 1,000+ words to spell.

We encourage you to engage with these premium kid skills to get a sense of how different developers are building delightful premium experiences for the family. In addition to the above skills, which are live today, we will soon be launching premium kid skills from names that families know and love such as Ghostbusters (Sony) and more. Stay tuned to the Alexa Skill Store for updates on these skill launches.

Learn More and Apply for the ISP for Kid Skills Preview

Check out the resources below to learn more about how to build premium kids skills. You can also apply to participate in the ISP for kid skills preview, by filling out a short form here. We will notify you if your application is selected.