Amazon Underground app released, with alternative pay model for game developers
Amazon will pay developers for the amount of time their game app gets played in the new Android app, once again looking to create a new pay model
There is no question that Amazon likes to disrupt markets by changing the way people get paid. For instance, paying authors for the number of pages a book is read rather than a set fee.
This is the model to be employed in Amazon Underground, the company’s new app scheme. The Android phone app is essentially a new app store, contained inside a free app, and with only free games, in-app items and includes Amazon’s shopping app (of course).
The app, although for Android, will not be available through the Google Play store as Google does not allow competing app stores inside its ecosystem. But one can imagine that the Amazon Underground app is, in effect, a way of competing against both Google and Apple app stores. But, keep in mind, Apple’s total revenue is barely effected by App Store sales, and the only way to get inside the iOS ecosystem is through Apple.
The installation mechanism is a bit clunky: you have to head over to the Amazon Underground web page, enter your email address or mobile phone number, and then receive a link to download the app. Maybe they think app discoverability is so bad that they want to avoid even their own app store.
But it is the developer model that is of interest:
For small time developers it will be tempting to use the platform as app discovery is so difficult these days. But like Amazon’s author systems, they may find that they are earning pennies, not dollars. After all, users of the app still need to find the game, and use it. If not, there is not much to gain.
Amazon is promoting four advantages to Amazon Underground:
- Generate Revenue from Every Customer
With Amazon Underground, you will make money from 100% of your users. Amazon will pay you for every minute spent in your Amazon Underground app by every user.
- Increase Your User Base
Amazon Underground will help attract more users to your app with Actually Free content.
- Focus on Building Great User Experiences
Amazon Underground lets you focus less on monetizing and more on creating great user experiences.
- Start Earning Right Away
Most paid or IAP Android apps will work with Amazon Underground. From within the developer portal, you will need only to check a box to enable Amazon Underground.
Gimmick? Good model? You be the judge. But one thing I know is that anytime someone introduces a new pay scheme it inevitably works its way into the publishing field, and I know what many publishers and writers would say: sounds like working for free.
Here is Amazon’s promotional video: