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Amazon launching its own virtual currency this May
Amazon launching its own virtual currency this May
February 5, 2013 | By Mike Rose

As Amazon looks to more fully enable game developers through its various online distribution services, the company today revealed its own virtual currency, which can be used by customers to purchase game and in-app items.

Amazon Coins can be purchased for the Kindle Fire tablet, and used via the Amazon Appstore. The company says that the new currency will provide developers with the opportunity to drive more traffic to their games, and increase monetization as a result.

The initiative will launch in the U.S. in May, and Amazon says it will give away tens of millions of dollars' worth of free Amazon Coins to customers, as a means of tempting users into purchasing more.

As usual, Amazon Appstore developers will continue to earn their standard 70 percent revenue share when games and in-app purchases are made using Amazon Coins.

Developers who already have apps or games in the Amazon Appstore don't need to do anything to capitalize on this move, as the functionality will be added automatically.

Those studios outside of the Appstore who want to get in on the act are advised to add their games before April 25, such that the monetization avenue is prepared in time for launch.

More details can be found on the Amazon Dev blog.

This is the latest move by Amazon to attract game developers to its online store. Most recently, the company's 'GameCircle' and free-to-play linking were put in place, showing that Amazon is serious about taking on the mobile competition.

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James Coote
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As long as people can still have the option of using real money to make IAP or buy games on the Amazon store. If people are forced to buy amazon coins to then use on IAP etc, then I think this will be a bad thing for consumers and developers.

For one, it'll obfuscate how much the player is really paying, as even if the currency is pegged to the dollar, a consumer from say the UK may find their 1 Amazon coin's real value fluctuates, or is worth a non-round number like 67p. That will put a lot of consumers off

As well, it would mean an extra step before being able to purchase (having to buy amazon coins with real money and/or top up the virtual coin account before making a purchase). Again, that will lead to fewer sales and be a bad deal for customers and developers

Tom Baird
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While I agree with you that it's bad for consumers and developers, Microsoft has shown that consumers will accept it (at least on a closed platform, like Xbox, or Kindle for Amazon).

Amazon may see more spent (due to loss aversion of leftover coins, and difficult to convert values causing people to round costs down incorrectly), to offset the people who refuse to buy into the system on principle.

It's still a dirty trick psychologically(that I think is overall very destructive), but MS has shown that people don't seem to care enough to refuse to use it, and it doesn't look like MS is too upset about their choice to use points.

Tom Baird
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"The initiative will launch in the U.S. in May, and Amazon says it will give away tens of millions of dollars' worth of free Amazon Coins to customers, as a means of tempting users into purchasing more."

I read that as: We will give every user just slightly less coins than it takes to purchase anything, so that they feel compelled to buy tokens just so they can use the ones that were 'free'.

Maybe I'm just cynical...

E Zachary Knight
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That is practically what Facebook did when it did its own currency. I remember going through all my games and finding nothing for sale that I could use my free FacePoints on.