Amazon have released Game Connect a system for offering DLC and other game purchases ( subscriptions? ) using Amazons infrastructure.
At first glance this seems pretty minor, yet another payment processor, but it is actually a rather large deal… why? Because your purchasable game content will be included on Amazon.com, bringing massive exposure to small players in the free to play space. Additionally, people trust Amazon and can use their existing account, gift cards, etc to make payments. In some ways this might be one of the biggest developments for small indie developers looking to monetize their games.
What is Game Connect?
Game Connect is a service provided by Amazon which enables customers to discover and purchase virtual items on Amazon.com and have these virtual items sent directly to their linked game account.
How does Game Connect help you find more customers?
• Convenience: Customers can link their existing Amazon.com accounts with their account in your game to purchase digital items, delivered directly to their linked game account.
• Trust and Security: Game Connect enables Amazon customers to purchase your games and virtual items using existing and trusted order processing and payments technology.
• Discoverability: Your games and virtual items will benefit from the familiar Amazon personalization and recommendation engine, surfacing your products where it makes the most sense for customers.
Amazon mention that during beta, developers took an average of 2 weeks including testing to implement Game Connect in their game. Unfortunately there is little developer information available, you need to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more details or to enrol. EDIT: Some developer information is available after all. SDKs exist for Java, PHP and .NET.
The store is already only and you can browse it here. As you can see, there is a fair bit of support already, including Second Life and Air Mech.
Is this a game changer, or just another payment processor?
Amazon have become a bigger and bigger player in the game development space, without many people realizing it. Already their EC2 and S3 cloud solutions power the back ends of a large number of games. Additionally their Kindle store provides an alternative to the mostly dismal Android App Store.
Some more links care of Reddit. Here is the link to the In App Purchases documentation page.
Included are this tidbit
For In-App Purchasing for PC, Mac and Web-based games, please contact us to discuss revenue share.
For In-App Purchasing on Kindle Fire or through the Amazon Appstore for Android, developers earn 70 percent of list price on each paid app as well as on each in-app purchase. The fee for distributing apps through the Mobile App Distribution Program is $99 per year, which we are currently waiving.
They currently support Pc, Mac and Web targets, as well as Kindle Fire and Android. Notably absent is iOS.
The full Amazon press release is available here.