It looks like Amazon might be over that whole “ebook” thing; they just announced a new game portal today.
Game Connect is the landing page for a bunch of free to play online games. Amazon has lined up quite a few well-known game studios to provide a couple dozen games, including several that are exclusive to Amazon. The titles include Runescape, World of Tanks, Spark City, Stronghold Kingdoms, Pandora Saga, and Super Monday Night Combat. Some of the games are browser based, and others can be downloaded.
Free games, huh? So what’s the catch? Well, a number of the games have items and upgrades you can buy while playing. Naturally this payment goes through Amazon, and if you’re not careful you might rack up quite a bill.
And that is exactly what Amazon wants: “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.”
Steam had better watch out. As good as Valve is at selling stuff, Amazon is better. They’ve had years to learn how to sell ebooks, videos, music, and apps, so getting people to buy stuff inside a game should be a breeze.