Amazon Enters The Free-To-Play Business With Game ConnectBy: Zach Walton - July 12, 2012
In just a few years, Amazon has gone from major retailer of physical games to major player in the digital games business. They beat Steam to the punch with a massive July sale that rivaled what Steam does in Summer Sales. The only thing they lacked was a large catalog of free-to-play games and MMOs. Well, they are lacking no more.
Amazon announced today the launch of Game Connect, a new service that will see many of the more popular free-to-play and MMOs delivered digitally to players through Amazon’s digital games portal. It’s more than just delivery though as integration into Game Connect will allow players to buy in-game items through Amazon which makes microtransactions easier for both developers and players.
So how does this all work? Customers can now link their in-game accounts to their Amazon account for easy delivery of those crazy costumes or power-ups they want to get in their favorite free-to-play games. During the checkout process, players will see similar items from the same game or other games to increase visibility across the platform. All in all, it’s a great way to extend brand awareness across the network.
“Customers can now discover a new category of free-to-play games and can experience the convenience of having virtual items purchased with their Amazon account delivered directly to their game accounts,” says Mike Frazzini, director, Amazon Games. “Game Connect helps game developers reach more customers, move more quickly and grow their business by simplifying the purchase process for customers. This is an exciting next step for the Digital Games Store and we have even more to come.”
Game Connect is starting off with a pretty big collection of games that will appeal to players of different types. You’ve got more action oriented affair like World of Tanks and Super Monday Night Combat to more traditional free-to-play role-playing games like Shin Megami Tensei Imagine and Runescape.
If you play any of these games, take note: Linking your account with Amazon Game Connect will net you exclusive in-game items that are normally valued at around $15 or more. It’s a great way for Amazon to get their foot in the door with these games and you get free stuff. It’s a win-win for everybody. Check out Amazon’s Game Connect exclusive offers at their store front.
Game Connect is obviously Amazon firing a shot across the bow of Steam. Many companies have risen with services trying to take down Steam and all have met with minimal success. Amazon stands to make the biggest dent in Steam’s market share and Game Connect is one more tool for them to reach that goal. It will be really interesting to watch this play out over the next few months to see if Steam allows free-to-play games on their service to connect with Game Connect.