We’ve known for a while that Google wants a social network of its own and possibly games to go with that, but this week, it looks Amazon is ready to try the same — apparently through Facebook.
An Amazon job posting listed earlier this month calls for a “Game Designer to envision, design and create great new social games for Facebook and smartphones.” This is so far the first we’ve heard of the online retailer looking to get directly into the social games space. Amazon recently entered the mobile space with an Android Appstore that conspicuously lacked in-app payments in developer distribution agreements. This shows progress toward the retailer’s understanding how games can monetize through the sale virtual goods as opposed to one-time, up-front purchases.
Amazon has what Google lacks in terms of managing payments and e-commerce, which could be a financial boon to developers looking to make money off Android. However, Android doesn’t have core competency yet in understanding how games can monetize through the sale virtual goods as opposed to one-time, up-front purchases. Its app store conspicuously lacked restrictions around in-app payments, which stands in contrast to Google’s official Android Market, which strongly encourages developers to use Checkout.
In contrast, Google looks like it would rather beat Facebook with its own social network platform for social games, rather than join it. Based on the acquisition of social game/app developer Slide and mobile social game developer SocialDeck last year, along with some internal staff shuffling, it is prepping what could be a cross-platform social network for web and Android on which it could include its own games.
Social app developer Slide, which Google acquired last year, has more or less operated as an independent unit within the company. It has built one test app to date called Disco that hasn’t been promoted heavily. The games it acquired from Slide, such as Superpoke Pets!, still run on Facebook — though Slide’s presence on the platform shrunk dramatically in the last year, down from pre-acquisition levels of 14.7 million monthly active users and 1 million daily active users to 674,000 MAU and 59,000 DAU as of today.