We don’t think of market in terms of competition,we see in terms of opportunity – Parag Gupta, Amazon India

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The Amazon Appstore was launched two years ago and was made available for  consumers in India in April 2013.Amazon Apps currently supports the Android operating system and works on Android devices running Android OS 2.2 and higher. We talk to the Amazon India team and prominent Game Developers from India, Games2Win and All in a Days Play, to get a glimpse on what progress has been made so far, and where it’s headed for the future.

Edited Excerpts from the Interview with Parag Gupta, Amazon India:

Amazon appstore has launched in India in April 2013. How has been the journey so far?

Parag Gupta , Principal, Product Management at Amazon India
Parag Gupta , Principal, Product Management at Amazon India

April 2013 is when Indian users can download applications from the Appstore, but  the Indian Developers have been active since 2.5 years, since we launched in April 2011. Appstore launched initially in US and around Q3 2012 we started International expansion. In May, we made it available in 200 countries.

The Appstore has 2 customers – Developers and Users.We want Indian Users to adopt Amazon Appstore, because we have very good collection of global apps. The developers are on board since the launch, we have been concentrating on the users since the last 8 months.

The growth has been good. If you look at last year, we have been taking India as serious platform and launched categories in India. We are shopping platform of choice around the world for reasons such as the overall trust factor, one click purchase, personalized recommendation engine and cross product promotion selection. Even though Appstore has a separate name, it is really a category within the larger umbrella.

In the last 8 months, all the top game developers have adopted Amazon Appstore. Right now, India is among the top 5 countries that supplies Apps to Appstore and is an extremely important developer market for AppStore.

What is the differentiation at Amazon Appstore, when compared to Appstore and Google Play? Do we need a 3rd player in this market?

We don’t think of market in terms of competition,we see the market in terms of opportunity. From macro perspective, the market is big enough for multiple players to play.

What we need to do, is to make sure we have differentiated enough offering in terms of selection, user experience and giving users deals they want. For example, we have Free App of the day.  The value of Appstore for an existing Amazon customer is fairly obvious. If you are buying application like Temple run, you see apps based on personalized recommendations. And, the developers get better organic discovery. Fantastic selection, 1 click purchases and user experience will be our main differentiators.

[pullquote]We have a bigger hill to climb when it comes to non Kindle Android users. But, the levers we have there are Amazon customers and we really bring a differentiated experience that we think people will like to adopt in growing markets like India. If you give the right selection, right price and absolutely fantastic experience to people, over time you will succeed.[/pullquote]We want to make sure that our Appstore is very safe and trusted. At the end of the day, we put the Amazon brand that comes with a level of trust and shopping experience known worldwide.

The other side of equation is developers. A lot of time, effort and investment goes in to make sure that developer experience is top notch. There are over 10,000 app developers in India. If we show them 200 countries, 200mn active customers and better,proven monetization and a robust platform to invent – it’s a powerful proposition for developers to adopt. We reduce their cost of adoption, increase reach and engagement with their users and provide them enough discovery.

 

Are Amazon Coins available to Indian Game Developers and Users?

Amazon Coins are  virtual currency for Amazon Appstore and yet another simple way for the users to pay for the apps and In-App Purchases (IAPs). Customers in US, UK and Germany can use Amazon Coins for use in these countries’ Appstores. So, yes Coins are available for Indian game developers that publish their apps in US, UK or Germany – this is nearly all Indian game developers including Games2Win and Allinadaysplay. Coins are not available to Indian users at this time.

About your Mobile Associates Program?

It’s monetization model  for App developers. We brought the Amazon Associates program mobile and as app developers have access to whole Amazon catalog. The App developers get referral fee, if they sell physical or digital products on our catalog. The mobile associates program will be a game changer in the app economy and app monetization. We have millions of products across tens of thousands of categories. This is available for all developers across the board.

Some interesting trends you have noticed?

15-18 months ago, there was a lot of premium paid content. This mode is declining very fast. More developers are finding out that freemium is the way to go.

India has a strong developer house environment. Now we have started to see apps for Indian Movies too. The game vs entertainment is starting to blend as in more mature markets. Overall, the importance of the App Market  is growing up.

Near Future Plans?

Grow. We really want to keep on the curve of , ‘What’s the next thing our developers / users want?’. 3 weeks ago, we launched amazon test service. You could take an APK and drag and drop to web service and we would do some static tests and whether it would fit Amazon Appstore.  We relaunched our entire developer portal a month ago. As we grew, we have blogs, community forums and developer case studies.

International expansion and localizing more languages is on the cards too.

Game Developer’s Thoughts on Amazon Appstore

As Parag explains to us that Amazon takes great pains to ensure the hurdles for Game Developers are lesser and they have better discovery and monetization mechanisms, we talk to prominent Game Developers to understand their thoughts on this.

Alok Kejriwal, CEO and Co-founder Games2Win
Alok Kejriwal, CEO and Co-founder Games2Win

Games2Win has  a large presence on the Amazon Appstore & Google Play store with over 30 apps listed on each store and over 40 million downloads recorded from mobile app stores to date. Alok Kejriwal, CEO and Co-Founder of Games2win tells us that it’s  a very involved and deep community. ” More kindles in the market!! We want more downloads compared to the downloads being generated on the Google Play Store”, says Alok when quizzed on one thing that can be better for the Amazon Appstore.

Alok is happy with the monetization strategies provided by Amazon Appstore and is excited about games meeting commerce – a la ‘Game Commerce’. In his own words –

“Yes, we are very delighted because of 3 specific reasons:

  • The advertising revenues generated (CPM’s) on the Amazon apps are far superior to the ones we see on other Android stores. I guess this is because Amazon can effectively sell advertising to big brands more effectively since they know their users well.
  • Our “in-app” conversion (people buying paid items in games that are free) have a much higher conversion rate that we experience in normal apps. This is primarily because of the example cited above – people like to buy what they are familiar with and hence spend more money in apps they can relate to.
  • We have begun experimenting with the brand new ‘Mobile Associates API’ that allows Amazon consumers to buy REAL items from the Amazon store while playing games that have a relevance to the product.

This is what we believe the new frontier in games meeting commerce – a la ‘Game Commerce’. Take out game ‘Fab Tee Designer‘ on the Amazon App store.  In this game, consumers make ‘mock tee shirts’ to express their creativity and design skills.

We have just implemented Amazon’s Mobile Associates in the game and once the game goes live, consumers will ALSO be able to buy actual tee shirts from the Amazon Store within the app, without disturbing their game experience!

We believe that the revenue share from such sales would greatly enhance our revenues and make the entire revenue modelling on Amazon AppStore (ads, in-apps, rev share) very scalable and unique!”.

Karan Khairajani  and Abhinav Sarangi  from All in a Days Play echo similar sentiments.  Their company has over 40 apps across the iTunes Store and Google Play, most of them being trivia. At the same time, they have 20 apps on the Amazon Appstore. Currently, Amazon Appstore constitutes for over half of their daily revenue. When asked about what motivated them to enter Amazon Appstore, the duo respond that the platform enables the game developers to monetize effectively per active user and the monetization is definitely better than Google Play Store.  Speaking of the discovery the App Store provides, Karan says, “Developing a game that clicks with the Amazon audience in terms of theme and gameplay, along with good packaging and selecting the right keywords(App Store Optimization), can very well get you on the top charts.”.

One of the desired features from the All in a Days Play team is to have  ‘New Games’ section for each genre, showcasing the newly released games, which will drive some initial action to the apps. As an Indie Games company, they rely on organic downloads and sometimes it takes few days or a week for the apps to start ranking for the desired keywords.

For the content discovery and monetization, Abhinav says,  “Whilst free-to-play games are ruling the roost, a good paid game on Amazon can always yield great returns. One of our paid games ‘Guess the Cartoon Quiz’, priced at $0.99, is our highest earner across all our games covering all platforms. This is testament to the discovery on Amazon and also the fact that a good paid game is always appreciated by the Amazon audience, even if it comes from an Indie Developer. Also, we recently implemented the Amazon Ads API which boosted our Ad revenue. We now receive eCPMs of upto $1.50, more than double of what we were receiving from other Ad networks.”

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While we interact with Parag and the Game Developers Alok, Karan and Abhinav we get a sense that Amazon Appstore is here to stay and is growing at an increasingly fast pace. While users get the advantage of good recommendations and awesome user experience, effective organic discovery and better monetization strategies keep the game developers hooked on.  Although Amazon Appstore has a long way to go, the steps are definitely in the right direction.