Amazon Launches GameCircle For Kindle Fire - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

01:54 PM
Connect Directly

Amazon Launches GameCircle For Kindle Fire

GameCircle SDK will help developers enhance Kindle Fire games with leaderboards and other social features.

Amid reports of its impending entry into the smartphone business and of its imminent Kindle Fire tablet revision, Amazon is moving to improve the gaming experience on its Kindle Fire.

On Wednesday, Amazon introduced GameCircle, a backend game service similar to Apple's GameCenter and the cross-platform OpenFeint. These services provide APIs that allow developers to implement desirable game features like achievements and leaderboards.

They also cement the service provider's position as platform owner and authentication authority, which is already pretty much guaranteed through the control over in-app payments exercised by service providers like Apple and Amazon. Those playing Kindle Fire games with GameCircle will access the service through their Amazon Accounts, just as those playing iOS (and soon OS X) games with GameCenter use their Apple IDs.

[ Read about Apple's upcoming OS here: Apple's OS X Mountain Lion Released To Developers. ]

Google has yet to introduce a competing service for Android game developers, but the company is said to be working on one.

Game developers who implement their own account creation and signup mechanisms have a more direct relationship with their customers, but at the cost of worrying about account management and security. They also have to contend with player reluctance to open yet another online account; having the option to use an online identity that has already been established with a major Internet company like Apple or Facebook tends be more appealing to players than creating an new account for every single game.

For smaller game developers, the plug-in-and-play nature of these services often seems to be more cost effective than developing and hosting something similar on their own servers or through a provider like Parse, StackMob, or Amazon Web Services. That's probably an accurate calculation for games that aren't truly compelling enough to retain player interest for years.

GameCircle offers three distinct services: achievements, leaderboards, and sync. Achievements, in the form of virtual badges, trophies, and rewards, are a common mechanism to sustain player engagement. Leaderboards offer players a way to compete against others and against their own past performance in a social context. And sync saves players' games to Amazon's cloud, allowing games to be resumed on any Kindle Fire device.

While few Kindle Fire users are likely to worry about playing the same game across multiple devices, they may find sync becomes more useful if Amazon releases a mobile phone that runs a Kindle Fire-compatible version of Android.

New apps promise to inject social features across entire workflows, raising new problems for IT. In the new, all-digital Social Networking issue of InformationWeek, find out how companies are making social networking part of the way their employees work. Also in this issue: How to better manage your video data. (Free with registration.)

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Top-Paying U.S. Cities for Data Scientists and Data Analysts
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/5/2019
10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/1/2019
Study Proposes 5 Primary Traits of Innovation Leaders
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/8/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
Flash Poll