Amazon’s First Mobile Game Also Lands in Rival Stores

After launching its first social game this August, Amazon has taken the next step with the launch of Air Patriots, its first game for mobile devices, including its own Kindle.

Air Patriots is a so-called tower-defense game that requires players to position their planes strategically to ward off an enemy tank invasion. The game is free, and Amazon isn’t playing favorites: In addition to being distributed on Amazon’s own Appstore, it’s also available for download from Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

The widespread availability of the game provides some hints as to the strategy behind Amazon’s Game Studios, which has employees in Seattle and San Francisco. By launching its own games, Amazon gets firsthand knowledge on the challenges developers face in building for the various platforms. Amazon can then take those lessons to make its own platform better. It doesn’t seem interested in building exclusive content for its own store, which is typically why other platform players — like Xbox or PlayStation — publish their own titles.

Gaming is the No. 1 category on phones, tablets and Facebook, making it vital for Amazon to get it right if it is interested in wooing developers to its own devices and services. On the Kindle, Air Patriots leverages Amazon’s most recent features, including GameCircle, which allows players to track achievements and high scores, and Whispersync, which allows players to save their progress to the cloud so that they can switch between multiple Kindle devices and pick up in the game where they left off.

Amazon may still have a thing or two to learn, however. Its first social game, Living Classics on Facebook, has not been a runaway success. The game is attracting 10,000 daily active users, compared to games like Zynga’s FarmVille 2, which attracts 8.7 million players every day.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald