Jul 12, 2012
Amazon has announced GameCircle, a service launching for Kindle Fire that hopes to bring social gaming features to the 7-inch tablet. It offers leaderboards, achievements, and progress synchronization for games that use their APIs. Temple Run, Triple Town, andTap Zoo are among the launch titles for the service, which has a signup for the API available to developers.
The important thing about this is that it provides a service that has yet to really have an equal on Android: Game Center. Yes, OpenFeint has existed on Android, but itâ€™s something that is appearing in a dwindling number of games. This may be due to OpenFeintâ€™s transition into the GREE Platform, as well as the fact that many gamesâ€™ iOS counterparts no longer use OpenFeint thanks to Game Center. There hasnâ€™t been an Android counterpart yet, so Amazon figures they can launch one. Right now, GameCircle is only on Kindle Fire, but given the rumors of new Kindle devices, thereâ€™s the potential for it to expand.
If Amazon did extend GameCircle outside of the Kindle Fire, there is a definite potential to cause some disruptions to Google Play. Because Google hasnâ€™t launched a similar feature yet, developers may be tempted by the ability to add high scores, achievements, and implement cloud saving through this mechanism backed by a big company. If Amazon only offered GameCircle features through the Amazon Appstore, then gamers might find themselves buying apps on their devices through the Appstore instead of through Google Play. As well, given Amazonâ€™s server hosting, the cloud saving could be a major component of their offering, if it proves to be reliable. iCloud on iOS has been anything but reliable so far, so Amazon does have a tall task ahead of them if they do extend out beyond the Kindle Fire.
Of course, this could serve to be the catalyst for Google to launch a similar service. The Nexus 7 probably does not exist without the threat of the Kindle Fire. Google may be tempted to strike back just to try and retain customers and developer efforts on â€˜officialâ€™ Android.