Amazon introduces virtual currency for apps

Amazon introduces virtual currency for apps
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

February 5th 2013 at 3:52PM

Online retailer follows Facebook with way to monetise mobile apps

Amazon is introducing its own virtual currency, which can be used with apps, games and in-app purchases for the Kindle Fire.

Amazon Coins are a new way for app and game developers to monetise their products.

The currency launches in May this year and the online retailer is planning to give customers “tens of millions of dollars worth” of free Amazon Coins to spend on developers’ apps on Kindle Fire via the Amazon Appstore.

“Developers continue to report higher conversion rates on Amazon compared to other platforms,” said Amazon’s vice president of apps and games Paul Ryder.

“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.”

Amazon Appstore developers will earn the standard 70 per cent revenue share when customers make purchases using Amazon Coins.

Developers with apps and games currently in the Amazon Appstore for the US don’t need to do anything with their apps to capitalise on this new opportunity.

However, developers not yet in the Amazon Appstore need to submit their apps soon – only apps submitted and approved by April 25 will be ready when Kindle Fire customers have Amazon Coins. Developers can learn more about Amazon Coins here or get started at Amazon’s mobile app development portal.

The online retail titan is not alone in launching a virtual currency. Facebook rolled out Facebook Credits in 2010, and made the service mandatory for all purchases in January 2011.

Microsoft also created a virtual currency for its Xbox Live Marketplace. However, the currency was criticised for a deceptive pricing structure or system of exchange. It has since been abandoned with the arrival of Windows 8 in October 2012.