Do we really need yet another virtual currency? As if XBOX Points weren't annoying enough. Well, Amazon thinks that we do, and they're introducing Amazon Coins that you can use to purchase Kindle Fire apps and to make in-app purchases starting in May. Amazon says they'll be giving away millions of dollars worth of the virtual currency to get us all hooked and they promise developers that the new currency will improve revenue.
Here's the full press release:
SEATTLE—February 5, 2013—(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon today announced another new way for app and game developers to make money on Kindle Fire—introducing Amazon Coins—the new virtual currency for purchasing apps, games and in-app items on Kindle Fire. Amazon Coins is an easy way for Kindle Fire customers to spend money in the Amazon Appstore, offering app and game developers another substantial opportunity to drive traffic, downloads and increase monetization. When Amazon Coins launches in the U.S. this May, Amazon will give customers tens of millions of dollars’ worth of free Amazon Coins to spend on developers’ apps on Kindle Fire in the Amazon Appstore. Amazon will also make it quick and easy for customers to buy additional Amazon Coins using their Amazon accounts.
Amazon Appstore developers will earn their standard 70 percent revenue share when customers make purchases using Amazon Coins. Developers with apps and games currently in the Amazon Appstore for the U.S. don’t need to do anything with their apps to capitalize on this new opportunity. Developers not yet in the Amazon Appstore should submit their apps soon—only apps submitted and approved by April 25 will be ready when Kindle Fire customers have Amazon Coins to spend across the Amazon Appstore. Developers can learn more about Amazon Coins today at http://www.amazon.com/amazon-coins.
“Developers continue to report higher conversion rates on Amazon compared to other platforms,” said Paul Ryder, Vice President of Apps and Games for Amazon. “Now we have another new way to help developers reach even more of our millions of customers. Amazon Coins gives customers an easy way to spend money on developers’ apps on Kindle Fire in the Amazon Appstore—and we’re giving customers tens of millions of dollars in Amazon Coins to get started. Developers who aren’t yet in the Amazon Appstore will want to make sure their apps have been submitted and approved by April 25 so they’re ready for customers to start spending their Amazon Coins.”
"We've already found that the average revenue per user on Amazon is higher than other Android platforms," said Keith Shepherd, CEO of Imangi Studios. "We're very excited about the monetization opportunity with Amazon's new virtual currency."
"Everyone recognizes Amazon's success in the e-commerce world – now the Amazon Appstore has become a major player in the mobile app marketplace," said Misha Lyalin, ZeptoLab's CEO. "Amazon's new virtual currency is designed to open new opportunities for developers and make things easier for customers. This is a great example of appstore innovation and we want to support it." "We've been extremely pleased with how well our games monetize on Amazon," said Michael Grobe, Chief Financial Officer of GameCircus. "We're very excited about the launch of Amazon's new virtual currency."
Amazon Coins is the latest in a series of new features and services for developers that make Amazon the most complete end-to-end ecosystem for building, monetizing and marketing their apps and games. Recent announcements include: · In-App Purchasing for Mac, PC and web-based games, enabling developers to let customers use their Amazon accounts to purchase virtual goods and currencies from games on those platforms
· Game Circle, which includes capabilities like Achievements, Leaderboards, Friends, and Whispersync for syncing games across devices, and leads to better engagement with games
· Game Connect, which lets developers marry the ease and security of shopping on Amazon with the convenience of having virtual goods delivered directly to customers' game accounts
· A/B Testing, a service that helps developers improve app functionality, retain customers and increase monetization
· Adobe AIR Native Extensions, which makes it simple for Adobe Flash developers to add In-App Purchasing and Game Circle features to their apps and games
· Amazon Mobile App SDK Eclipse Plugin (beta) allows developers to rapidly and reliably integrate Amazon APIs into their Android projects, speeding up development and cutting down on project setup time
It's not surprising that you can't use Amazon Coins for Amazon purchases, but you can't even use them for Kindle books or Amazon Instant Video?
In my opinion, limiting Amazon Coins to Kindle users only would pretty much guarantee them to failure - but Amazon is actually limiting their usefulness to Kindle Fire users only (actually, United States Kindle Fire users only), and while the coins may be fun for people who have already purchased a Kindle Fire anyway, but I can't imagine people being attracted to the Kindle Fire platform just for Amazon Coins, and I can't imagine people being attracted to the Amazon Coins platform for... any reason. ???
-------------------- Chief iPod Correspondent
Senior Time Waster
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I'm guessing it app developer bribery, at least in the short term since Amazon will be giving away a huge number of coins to customers so they can buy lots of apps (and developers get a healthy 70% cut on the Amazon Marketplace). Long term? I really can't think of a reason why Amazon is doing this. Virtual currency has never been well-received.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview