The UK Amazon Mobile App Distribution Program team was delighted to host its first developer meet-up for London’s thriving tech community with the outstanding team at The Skills Matter Exchange in Clerkenwell. Developers and publishers P2 Games, Deluxe Media Europe, Miniclip, and Future Games of London provided insight into the strategies that have made them successful. They shared a lot of fantastic tips on how to design, build, and distribute apps and games in the UK (and the nearly 200 other countries we support worldwide).
Peter Sleeman, Director of P2 Games, was first to break cover in what was to become an insightful and energetic Q&A session. For Peter, creating great digital content is the first key to success.
“At P2 Games, we hold the license for Peppa the Pig, but even if you don’t hold the license for a popular character, content is king. Build a great app or game with great content and customers will discover it.”
So once you have a great app, what next? You might get 5-star reviews and your Twitter feed might be blowing up with the buzz, but developers don’t work pro bono, right? Well, Henry Bennett from Deluxe Media Europe, makers of seminal British TV show apps Catch Phrase and Bullseye, has good news.
“Amazon is a key distribution platform for our apps. The platform offers our apps high visibility in terms of promotional space along with very good monetization. Amazon has now become our second most profitable distribution platform.”
Quick to second this was Saad Choudri of Miniclip fame, creators of Extreme Skating HD, Fragger, and iStunt. He said:
“Amazon has been a strong partner for Miniclip. The revenue return we have seen through Amazon means that it is important for developers to consider Amazon in their launch strategy.”
Future Games of London, makers of the successful Hungry Shark series, were represented by Ian Harper. Ian discussed what’s required technically to generate revenue, highlighting the Amazon platform because it monetizes well and is easy to develop for. Besides supporting standard Android apps, it also provides a suite of developer tools.
“Amazon offers excellent developer tools, robust APIs, and strong monetization”.
Once the formalities had concluded, we ensured everyone had some food and a refreshing beverage. Ninety minutes of frenzied networking ensued, with the good and the bad, the wise and the young furiously chomping down on some excellent pizza, swigging beer, and trying to find a spare hand to pass a business card whenever possible. This was briefly interrupted for the moment that everyone had been waiting for… drum roll… and the winner is… “Would Tom Mleko of Dataspin.io like to make his way to the stage? You are the lucky winner of a Kindle Fire HD 8.9”.
We’ll be doing plenty more of these events and look forward to seeing you there soon!
Amazon will be sending tens of millions of dollars to Kindle Fire users; money that can only be used to buy apps for Kindle Fire. If you don’t want to miss a minute of that action, make sure your app is available for sale on Kindle Fire devices, or submit a Kindle Fire compatible app by April 25 for the best chance of getting in the Amazon Appstore in time. (If you submit after 4/25, your app will still be eligible, but may not make the start of the gold rush.)
In May, Amazon is introducing Amazon Coins, a new virtual currency that customers can use to pay for apps and most in-app-purchase items. To help promote this new currency, Amazon is going to give away tens of millions of dollars in Amazon Coins to Kindle Fire users. This money will be burning a proverbial hole in customers’ pockets as they look for places to spend it. We’d like your app to be one of the tempting places to spend that currency.
U.S. customers will be able to spend Amazon Coins on apps and most in-app purchase items. (Subscriptions cannot be purchased with Amazon Coins.) Each Amazon Coin is worth 1-cent, so a $2.99 app will cost 299 coins. The way you get paid doesn’t change if the customer pays with Amazon Coins or a credit card; you get paid in real U.S. Dollars, at the same 70% revenue share you normally receive.
If your app is available for sale on a Kindle Fire device, then you’re done; nothing else to do. It doesn’t matter if your app is also available on other Android devices, as long as it is available on a Kindle Fire device, it is eligible.
If you already have an app in the Amazon Appstore for Android, it’s fairly easy to make it available for Kindle Fire Tablets. Take a look at the Kindle Fire Development Best Practices here for hints on how to make your app shine on Kindle Fire, and then re-submit your app with the appropriate Kindle Fire devices selected on the Binary Files tab (see below).
Please submit your apps by April 25th to give us the best chance of having enough time to review them and get them in the Amazon Appstore before tens of millions of dollars in Amazon Coins arrive in customers’ accounts.
If you don’t have an app in the Amazon Appstore, don’t worry. You may be able to submit your existing Android app without too much work. If you use Google Play Services for In-App Billing, Messaging, or Maps, you will need to replace them with the corresponding Amazon APIs before submitting. These APIs are:
Learn more about these APIs here.
For more information on making your app available on Kindle Fire devices, check out these links:
For more detailed information on Amazon Coins, see the FAQ for Amazon Coins.
Amazon Coins is launching in May. Tens of millions of dollars of Amazon Coins will be given to customers for free to spend on Kindle Fire apps, games, and in-app items. If your apps are already on Kindle Fire, then no action is required. If you have new apps or games ready, submit them by April 25th to ensure we have time to review your apps before millions of dollars in Amazon Coins arrive in customers' accounts.
For more information on Amazon Coins, click here. Stay tuned to the Distribution Blog for more updates and announcements regarding the launch of Amazon Coins.
At Amazon, we love apps—so much, in fact, that we develop many mobile apps ourselves, and even have an in-house game studio. On the heels of the recent press from the Localytics report that the leading Android tablet is Kindle Fire (with 33% of market segment share worldwide and more than half in the US), we wanted to post some best practices for using in-app purchasing from our colleagues at Amazon Game Studios—developers of the recently released game Air Patriots.
This post is from Ernie Ramirez, Executive Producer, Amazon Game Studios:
Air Patriots is a new type of tower defense game where players control a squadron of airplanes by drawing the attack paths they use to engage the enemy. Air Patriots launched on November 1, 2012, on Amazon, iOS, and Google Play. Although our monetization on Amazon has been great (generating 73% higher ARPU than iOS, and both stores generated similar total revenue), we had some key learning during our initial launch. For example, our focus groups indicated that the two things customers would like to buy were more maps & more planes, in that order. This meshed with our goal of providing Air Patriots customers “big value” for in-app purchases. We reasoned that we would emphasize additional maps for purchase because it would give customers significantly more play time and provide a feel that they paid for something really big and worthwhile.
We originally structured Air Patriots to provide gamers 2 of the 7 maps for free, with the remaining 5 requiring an in-app purchase. Additional airplanes were available using the in-game “soft currency” (gears). As a test, we also included a fully-loaded helicopter available via in-app purchase. It turns out that, after launch, the helicopter was our top-selling individual in-app item, and customers were responding negatively to the 5 additional maps. We received feedback that customers were feeling arbitrarily blocked from progressing in the game, which was not our intention!
We updated the game—reduced prices of our in-app items, increased the amount of maps available with the in-game “soft currency” and offered more planes for sale with in-app purchasing. Customers responded immediately—the sales picked up and we started receiving reviews describing the game as “so darn addicting—pay a couple bucks for different planes. So cool!”
To recap, here are a few things that we recommend to other mobile game developers:
We discovered that selling main-line game content like levels or expansion packs via in-app purchasing in a freemium game risks making customers feel arbitrarily blocked and frustrated
Customers prefer to buy things that improve their performance and/or give them new abilities to make them feel “stronger”
To learn more about the Amazon In-App Purchasing API and Amazon Mobile App SDK, head to our documentation here. To get started with our program, go to the Amazon Mobile App Distribution Portal, and once your app is submitted, submit a request to get your app marketed.
In a recent study of more than 500 games that utilize in-app purchasing on Amazon, we found that mobile games using Amazon GameCircle’s leaderboards and achievements monetized significantly better than other games.
For the three-month period from November 2012 to January 2013, games using GameCircle produced 38 percent higher conversion rates and 33 percent more in-app orders per paying customer than games that didn’t use GameCircle. Conversion was measured by calculating the percentage of app users that made at least one in-app purchase. Combining the impact of both of these variables, GameCircle-enabled games earned 83 percent more average revenue per user (ARPU) than non-GameCircle games.
The free-to-play (or freemium) model, where consumers download and play a game for free, has become one of the most prominent business models in mobile gaming today. However, the biggest challenge for game developers following the freemium model is figuring out how to generate more revenue by converting non-payers into payers and keeping those paying users engaged.
Many of Amazon’s mobile game developers have discovered how GameCircle’s services–Achievements, Leaderboards and Whispersync–have contributed to their success at Amazon. GameCircle lets players connect with other players to compare achievements and compete for higher scores. These social elements get the competitive juices flowing, which may increase a user’s willingness to pay for in-game content, leading to higher conversion rates for developers. “PlayFirst's games on Amazon have performed above and beyond our expectations, and we believe GameCircle has enhanced our ability to connect and engage with Amazon customers, encouraging more play sessions," said Paul Chen, VP of Business Development at PlayFirst.
GameCircle also offers new discovery mechanisms that are an important factor helping drive increased engagement rates. For games that have integrated with GameCircle, players can see their friends, achievements, and leaderboard activity before launching the application, since all of this information is visible right from the user’s game library. Leading games such as Skylanders Cloud Patrol, Diner Dash, and Temple Run 2 have already integrated with GameCircle. The image below showcases how a user’s library is populated with GameCircle meta-data.
This added visibility is a powerful engagement tool. A related study that we conducted in January 2013 found that, on average, games using GameCircle over-indexed on the number of player sessions (defined by the number of times users opened the applications on their device) by 32 percent when compared to the average for the entire games category. For freemium games that monetize by selling in-game content, this enhanced level of engagement is critical to expanding customer lifetime values. "We see superior engagement, retention and monetization from players who download our games from Amazon. The GameCircle integration is helping us achieve 40 percent better per user monetization rates compared to non-Amazon players," said Sean Thompson, Vice President of Mobile Deluxe.
For you, GameCircle represents another opportunity to provide gamers with a more seamless and entertaining in-game experience, which can lead to increased engagement and monetization. Please visit the following links if you would like to learn more about the Amazon GameCircle and In-App Purchasing APIs.
Today we announced the upcoming launch of Amazon Coins, a new virtual currency for U.S. customers to purchase apps, games, and in-app items on Kindle Fire. When Amazon Coins launches in May, we will be giving out tens of millions of dollars worth of Coins to customers to spend on Kindle Fire apps, games, or in-app items.
For customers, it's an easy way to spend money on Kindle Fire apps and games. They'll be able to purchase as they do now, but with the ability to choose to pay with a credit card or using Coins. For you, it's another opportunity to drive traffic, downloads, and increased monetization. Plus, there's no integration required--you'll get paid the same 70% revenue share whether the customer chooses to use Coins or their own money.
To take advantage of this unique opportunity, you only need to do one thing: make sure your new apps and app updates are submitted and approved by April 25th so they'll have the best chance of being available for Coins purchases at the launch of the program (and when we give customers their free Coins).