Amazon has just released an in-App purchasing API for PC and Mac Apps. Game developers should win big. This closely follows its Kindle ebook commitment to extending products across platforms. Ebooks were first available on Kindle readers, then they became readable on Macs and PCs. The roll out for in-App purchases in games was likewise first available to Kindle Fire and Android developers last April, a precursor to this announcement.
One benefit of using Amazon for In-App purchasing is clear to anyone who has an Amazon account--your credit card information and any gift cards you want to apply are ready for use. Transaction friction is greatly reduced. There are several other advantages consumers rarely think about--but developers worry about all the time. From fraud detection to customer service, to placing items on bestseller lists, Amazon has your back.
Amazon has a two-tiered pricing strategy. On the Kindle Fire and Android, developers keep 70% of the list price on both games and in-App purchases. On the Mac and PC platforms, Amazon asks developers tocontact them about revenue share. There is an annual fee of $99, currently waived.
Chris Scholz, CEO of FreeRange Games (maker of Freefall Tournament pictured above), spells out a bit more detail on the advantages,
"We love that Amazon will allow players of FreeFall Tournament to buy virtual items using the same login credentials and payment information they already have on file with Amazon.com. We think it will help minimize buying friction. We also feel good knowing Amazon is very trusted and secure, and we think it will give our players the same degree of confidence that they have when purchasing any other item on Amazon.com."
An added point: Freefall is free to download (not to mention rated 5 stars at Amazon, as of this writing), so the company's business plan depends at least in part on gamers shelling out bucks for add-ons. The Amazon API sets them up to win.