Amazon Offers Developers Better Cross-Platform Tools

Amazon wants integration with its services to be easy for developers and consumers alike, so it’s enticing developers to create better cross-platform experiences by opening GameCircle, Whispersync, Analytics and in-app purchasing to new platforms. So now developers can take advantage of Amazon services on mobile (Android, iOS) and desktop apps (Mac, Windows). iOS is limited to GameCircle, Whispersync and Analytics. The hoped-for result: Developers have a stable back-end platform while Amazon consumers get a frictionless buying process.

Amazon AnalyticsExtending Amazon’s application services beyond Android satisfies consumer desire to save game data across devices. Developers can utilize the GameCircle API on all device types. (iOS has offered game status and leader boards (Game Center) on its devices for ages. Google introduced a similar cloud-based service called Cloud Save last year.)

Cross-Platform Gaming

Amazon’s cross-platform gaming solution is accomplished with the Unity game engine and a set of plugins for connecting to the GameCircle and in-app payments API. Unity is an integrated game engine for creating feature-rich interactive content. It provides a toolset for creating interactive worlds with texture, lighting, special effects, physics and more. It offers out-of-the-box functionality for quick deployment. It also offers a marketplace of pre-fabricated game assets that can be customized.

Game developers offering multiple game versions (e.g. Android, iOS and desktop) can connect them to a single leaderboard and save scores across devices with Whispersync. GameCircle can track scores and leaderboard activity across multiple versions across multiple platforms. GameCircle was designed as a complement to Apple Game Center rather than a replacement, and can seamlessly cross-post game play status to Game Center. Whispersync handles syncing, offline and simultaneous play. Unlike other back-end data management services for games, Whispersync is free. Both GameCircle and Whispersync are included in the Amazon SDK.

Analytics

Currently in beta, Amazon Analytics is available for desktop and mobile apps. Reporting includes information about users and devices beyond downloads and total revenue. Detailed reports show how long users are engaged with your app and how often it’s accessed. Purchase events are tracked to help you better understand in-app purchasing behavior and determine the best method for enticing users to buy. The Analytics service is being offered free.

Amazon’s developer program appears to be a major revenue driver for Kindle. In terms of content — not hardware — the Kindle is known to be a major source of Amazon’s sales. Here again, the company has built out a full suite of free tools and back-end services to support applications across platforms. Like Google and Apple, Amazon offers a 70 percent revenue split per paid download. Advertising dollars and in-app purchases are paid out separately.

Amazon’s developer program is free to join. Listing and selling apps is also free. Although GameCircle, Whispersync and Analytics are available for iOS apps, iTunes remains the exclusive distributor of iOS software. But with so many services offered free, it’s difficult to ignore the Amazon digital marketplace for mobile apps.

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