Amazon Introduces Game Downloads Store with 30-minute playable demos – like Apple should have - Macenstein

Amazon Introduces Game Downloads Store with 30-minute playable demos – like Apple should have

Amazon has launched its new Game Downloads Store, which gives users the ability to download over 600 game titles priced at $9.99 or less. While not quite a threat to the iPhone app store ( the service is currently PC-only and aimed at the desktop market) it does have a nice feature that I wish Apple had adopted for the iPhone – namely, the ability for customers to download and play games for a free 30 minute trial period.

One of the major complaints about the iTunes store from both developers and customers alike is that users have to buy an application in order to rate it. This obviously led to many unfavorable reviews on the app store by people who paid for an app only to find it didn’t live up to their expectations.

The “solution” many developers decided to go with was to offer both a regular and a free “lite” version of their game which would give customers a chance to play a couple levels of the game before deciding whether it was worth plunking down their hard-earned cash on.

Well, this model creates two big problems. First, by “doubling up” on apps, the already bloated and unnavigable app store becomes even more so. Take a look at the Top 100 paid apps and the Top 100 free apps, and you will find quite a bit of crossover between the two, with lite versions of paid apps dominating the Top Free List. This stops many TRULY free apps from reaching the Top 100 list, which is pretty much their only chance at getting noticed.

But the second, and more important problem is that while offering a lite version of a game is fine for some games, it doesn’t work for all of them, and doesn’t work at all for most non-game developers (that’s right, there ARE apps other than games for the iPhone).

What if your game is not one that is broken into easily manageable levels? What if you can’t just let users play the first 3 levels of your game? And what about the overlooked developers who are not making games at all? What about utility, location-based, or business-based app developers who have no real way of offering a “lite” version of their application without crippling its purpose? What if you have a drawing application? Do you offer 3 colors in a lite version and hope people can imagine what they could draw with more colors? How would a GPS-path tracking or “find stuff around me” app put out a lite version that would still let you experience it’s features? OR even a Boob-jiggling application? Limiting people to one boob is not really an option.

The answer to both problems is to do what Amazon is offering with their service – time expiring apps. While I feel that for the iPhone the 30-minute limit is likely too long a trial period (many iPhone games can be defeated in that time) introducing a “10-minute or two launches” type of business model would go a long way to helping the free apps gain a voice, as well as give the non-game making developers a chance to let people evaluate the usefulness of their app without risking disgruntled reviewers bashing their products.

7 Responses to “Amazon Introduces Game Downloads Store with 30-minute playable demos – like Apple should have”
  1. O my. Does Amazon really thinks people would love to download games like jewel quest for 9,99$?
    I don’t know if the word “gonzo” applies to videogames… otherwise this bunch of crap deserves to be called like that…

  2. Jonro says:

    I agree about the need for demo versions of games on the iPhone and that 30 minutes is too long. I never play an iPhone game for longer than that, so I probably wouldn’t need the pay version. But the concept is great and I would probably buy more iPhone games if demos were available.

  3. The Stranger says:

    Agree on the demo issue, however I personally don’t see Amazon’s game service taking off. Especially with Valve’s Steam service just steamrolling through other online download game services.

  4. iShervin says:

    Amazon tried hard, but doesn’t success as well as apple! but love the idea of 30-mints

  5. CJS says:

    Amazon doesn’t allow you to search specifically for Mac-compatible games. My cursory glance at the new site didn’t find _any_ Mac games!

  6. dfs says:

    You seem to be saying that it would be better if people who have never used an app could write a review.Sorry but that’s insane,as such opinions could only be based on developer’s descriptions,screenshots,and price.In other words, worthless.That’s why they changed it(thank God!)Time limited demos would be great though.

  7. dsf, No, that is not at all what I am saying. I am saying apps should be playable for 10 minutes or so before they buy them.

    -The Doc

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