It's pretty much accepted that gaming is the killer app for tablets and other mobile devices. People can not get enough of them. Apple and Google have been pretty proactive in this regard by providing developers extra tools to help them reach even more players. Amazon is finally getting their game together by offering tools to Kindle Fire game developers.
Amazon announced the limited availability to Amazon GameCircle today for interested developers. It will bring achievements, leaderboards and sync APIs to the masses so anybody can integrate these much requested features into their games.
“Our goal is to give developers great tools to quickly and easily reach new customers and keep them engaged. That’s why we’re creating easy-to-integrate APIs for features like leaderboards, achievements and sync. We also introduced In-App Purchasing API in April, allowing developers to offer a seamless 1-Click purchasing experience within their apps and games, and we’re just getting started,” said Paul Ryder, Vice President of Apps, Games, and Services at Amazon. “GameCircle gives developers the right tools to build an immersive, more entertaining experience on Kindle Fire, which will ultimately help developers grow their business.”
Obviously, the most important addition here is achievements. Since their introduction on the Xbox 360 in 2005, achievements have become one of the most important aspects in modern gaming. I know people who will not play a game unless it has achievements and Amazon obviously hopes the addition of achievements will help increase players on Kindle Fire.
Achievements are presented in game so the player will never have to interrupt the experience to see what other achievements they have left. It's up to developers, however, to either present achievements during the course of gameplay through pop-ups or have the player pause the game to view earned achievements.
Before people were comparing their achievements, the leaderboard was how we competed with others. It's still a valuable tool for developers since it keeps players engaged as they try to beat one more high score. Once again, leaderboards will be available in game so the player will never have to leave the experience to find out which score they have to beat next.
The most helpful out of all the new features coming to GameCircle is sync. Using Amazon's powerful cloud infrastructure, players will be able to save in-game progress to the Cloud and pick up right where they left off. Players will no longer have to worry about losing progress when restoring a corrupt game or switching between Kindle Fire devices. It's an especially good move since Amazon is rumored to be launching the Kindle Fire 2 later this year.
If you're a game developer on Kindle Fire and want to integrate GameCircle into your product, sign up for an invite now.