Amazon to launch virtual currency for Kindle Fire

Alex Walls
February 5, 2013

Amazon is bringing a new virtual currency to Kindle Fire called Coins.

Landing in May, Amazon Coins would allow Kindle Fire customers to spend money on apps, games and in-app items in the Amazon Appstore, which Amazon said would offer app and game developers further opportunities to drive traffic and downloads, and monetize their offerings.

In simple terms, it would be another way for app and game developers to make money, the company said.

“For customers, it’s an easy way to spend money on Kindle Fire apps and games. They’ll be able to purchase as they do now, but with the ability to choose to pay with a credit card or using Coins.”

Free money say what now?

At the launch in May, Amazon will give away “tens of millions” of dollars’ worth of Amazon Coins to customers – that’s right, free – to spend on apps on Kindle Fire in the Appstore, while making it “quick and easy” for customers to buy further Coins using their Amazon accounts (of course they will).

Amazon said developers would earn their standard 70% revenue share when customers made a purchase using Coins.   Apps and games not yet in the Appstore needed to submit and have them approved by April 25 in order to be ready for the launch of Coins.   Apps already in the store don’t need to do a thing, the company said.

Amazon vice president of apps and games Paul Ryder said developers continued to report higher conversion rates on Amazon, compared with other platforms.

“Now we have another new way to help developers reach even more of our millions of customers. Amazon Coins gives customers an easy way to spend money on developers’ apps on Kindle Fire in the Amazon Appstore-and we’re giving customers tens of millions of dollars in Amazon Coins to get started.”

Imangi Studios chief executive Keith Shepherd, who developed the insanely popular Temple Run series of games, said the company had already found that the average revenue per user on Amazon was higher than other Android platforms.

“We’re very excited about the monetization opportunity with Amazon’s new virtual currency.”

ZeptoLab chief executive Misha Lyalin said the new currency was designed to open up new opportunities for developers and make things easier for customers.

“This is a great example of appstore innovation and we want to support it.”

For those readers interesting in getting their monetizing hats on, you can visit the mobile app developers blog post here.

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