Amazon is Jumping Aboard the Free-to-Play Market

Amazon’s been doing a lot for the video game industry lately, what with major deals on video games, the ability to buy digital downloads and store them on a cloud, partnering with Kickstarter to make the payment process easier for would-be backers, and even launching their Instant Video service on game consoles. Now the major online retailer is jumping into another aspect of the video games industry: the ever-growing free-to-play market.

Amazon announced its new service, Game Connect yesterday. With Game Connect, Amazon seeks to make the payment processes easier and more secure for freemium games and MMOs. The integration process for developers is designed to be easy, allowing them to put their game as well as in-game items on Amazon.

The free-to-play games section of Amazon has already launched, with popular games like World of Tanks, Stronghold Kingdom, and Super Monday Night Combat available now. Furthermore, gamers linking their already-registered accounts for free-to-play games will unlock exclusive in-game content. Check here to see what sort of content that means. Players who haven’t registered an account for a game can do so on the Amazon product page.

Mike Frazzini, director of Amazon Games, had this to say:

“Customers can now discover a new category of free-to-play games and can experience the convenience of having virtual items purchased with their Amazon account delivered directly to their game accounts. Game Connect helps game developers reach more customers, move more quickly and grow their business by simplifying the purchase process for customers. This is an exciting next step for the Digital Games Store and we have even more to come.”

Check out the press release below for quotes of praise from developers. Personally, I can’t wait for League of Legends to join this service. Maybe I’ll actually buy a skin for once. I always thought it was a pain to buy Riot points and add them to your account. Amazon makes the process much easier… and much more tempting. I hope my wallet decides to hide from me.

Show Press Release »

Amazon Introduces Game Connect, Adding New Digital Game Selection and Direct Delivery of Virtual Content to Customers’ Game Accounts

Customers can now discover an entirely new selection of free-to-play and Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games on Amazon, including Battlestar Galactica, World of Tanks, Pandora Saga, Stronghold Kingdoms and Super Monday Night Combat

Game Connect helps game developers reach more customers and sell more virtual goods and subscriptions

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jul. 12, 2012– (NASDAQ: AMZN) – Amazon.com, Inc. today announced Game Connect, enabling customers to discover a new category of free-to-play and MMO digital games that marry the ease and security of shopping on Amazon with the convenience of having virtual goods delivered directly to their game accounts. Game Connect is fast and easy for developers to integrate and helps them sell more content by simplifying the purchase process for customers. Developers can start integrating Game Connect today by visiting www.amazon.com/gameconnect/developers.

Customers will find a growing selection of popular free-to-play games such as World of Tanks, Spark City, Stronghold Kingdoms, Pandora Saga and Super Monday Night Combat at www.amazon.com/free2play. In addition, customers who use Game Connect to link their accounts to some of these games will unlock exclusive in-game content. To see a list of all the exclusive offerings, visit www.amazon.com/free2play/exclusives.

Customers who do not yet have game accounts can create them right from the Amazon product pages. The customer’s game account will then be linked to their Amazon account so any subscriptions and virtual goods purchased are sent directly into the game without copy and pasting a code.

“Customers can now discover a new category of free-to-play games and can experience the convenience of having virtual items purchased with their Amazon account delivered directly to their game accounts,” says Mike Frazzini, director, Amazon Games. “Game Connect helps game developers reach more customers, move more quickly and grow their business by simplifying the purchase process for customers. This is an exciting next step for the Digital Games Store and we have even more to come.”

“Uber Entertainment is very excited to be both a part of the new Amazon Digital Games Store and participating in the Game Connect program,” said John Comes, Creative Director at Uber Entertainment. “The program is great because it enables us to deliver even more value to all our players, at the same time giving us a great way to drive additional revenue from our games—something we are very excited about.”

”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.”

“We think that Game Connect is a fantastic new program that directly benefits our TERA fans and we are very excited to be involved as we continue to build out and expand our offerings,” said Chris Lee, Vice President of Publishing at En Masse Entertainment.