Amazon Underground by Amazon, for Android launches a revolutionary app store that has re-invented the monetization model for mobile games. Rather than paying for app downloads or in-app purchases, developers will get paid according to the amount of time customers spend using their apps.
In addition to a large selection of 100% free apps to play, Amazon Underground will have all in-app purchases free. For example in the game Frozen Free Fall, you’ll require in-app purchases to unlock additional levels to keep on playing. On Amazon Underground, players will receive all the bonus in-app purchase items completely free.
Initially this seems a counter-intuitive way to make revenue from apps but the latest announcement from Amazon describes it as a win-win situation for Android users and for developers.
Tero Raji, SVP of Game Business at Rovio said: “We included four of our popular titles in Amazon Underground at launch, aimed at reaching as many fans as possible in the Amazon ecosystem. The Amazon Underground model has brought us up to three times more revenue compared to the same games’ user revenue in the Amazon Appstore previously.”
Dan Gray, Executive Producer of Monument Valley, one of the new additions since launch said: It’s always been our aim with Monument Valley to create a meaningful experience for all types of players. It’s great that there’s now a service in Amazon Underground that lets us reach millions of people that wouldn’t usually pay for games, without compromising the game design or its principles.”
Since its launch in August, Amazon Underground has tripled its titles today. It hosts some of the biggest mobile games such as Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride, Angry Birds and even Monument Valley. The program’s library growth is a good sign, but it will be interesting to see whether it can entice other top-tier developers that make big bucks on in-app purchases to do business with Amazon. Notably absent are Supercell with Clash of Clans and Electronic Arts.
Right now it’s unsure whether Amazon Underground will catch on but currently, owners of Android devices that aren’t necessarily Amazon-branded can sign up for the program and pay for games on the company’s dime. That library will be a key component in bringing those who don’t own Amazon hardware to become loyal.
It’s all a way for Amazon to finally establish itself as a reliable and enticing portal for games — something it very clearly missed the boat on as it still lags behind Google Play and the Apple App Store. Tossing a little cash around in service of gamers could certainly help to accelerate that process.