After announcing its social gaming platform for the Kindle Fire line of devices on Wednesday, Amazon revealed on Thursday a service called Game Connect for the PC gaming scene. It essentially connects the customer's Amazon account to an account established with a free-to-play/MMOG title, thus allowing them to easily purchase in-game items and subscriptions through the online retailer.
There's no catch either: Amazon customers aren't required to download a game client from the online retailer (if there's a client) even if they've already installed it and set up an account prior to Game Connect's launch. For example, the product listing for Drakensang Online, a browser-based action-RPG game, features a button that links the two accounts together. Press that, and the next page offers "Create & link game account" and "Link existing game account" buttons. Hitting the latter pulls up a second window allowing existing Drakensang players to sign in using a secure, shared token.
"When linking, you will be asked to create or sign in to an account for this game," the company states. "Amazon will not collect your game account's password. Amazon will not share any of your Amazon.com account information with the game company, including your Amazon.com username, Amazon.com password, credit card information, address, or telephone number."
Once the accounts are connected, customers can launch their game and purchase virtual items like currency and upgrades on Amazon, and use them in the game. For example, customers can link the base game of Runescape (new or existing), and then purchase 30-day, 90-day and 180-day memberships through Amazon. 10, 25, and 75 Squeel of Fortune Spins are also available once the two accounts are linked.
"Game Connect helps game developers reach more customers, move more quickly and grow their business by simplifying the purchase process for customers," says Mike Frazzini, director, Amazon Games. "This is an exciting next step for the Digital Games Store and we have even more to come."
Amazon's current library of F2P and MMOG games is limited, and includes Battlestar Galactica Online, Fly Free Forever (FlyFF), Drakensang Online, Fiesta, Rappelz, World of Tanks, Pandora Saga and many others. Amazon is also throwing in exclusive bonuses when purchasing subscriptions or bundles. For example, customers will get an exclusive Golden Katana in Runescape with the purchase of a 90 or 180 day subscription. Customers who link their Amazon accounts with a Stronghold Kingdoms account will receive a starter pack valued at $10.
"We have been impressed by the ease of integrating Game Connect into our games," said Simon Bradbury, Designer and Co-Founder of Firefly Studios. "We believe this mass market platform will be perfect for the continuing growth of Stronghold Kingdoms and we expect to see a growth in our customer base all over the world."
The Amazon Digital Games store launched in October 2010 and offers customers more than 3,000 games including free-to-play and massively multiplayer online games. Developers can start integrating Game Connect today by visiting www.amazon.com/gameconnect/developers. Customers looking to check out a new F2P game for their PC can head to www.amazon.com/free2play.