December 19, 2014

IGDA Cautions Developers Against Amazon App Store

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Board of Directors has taken to their blog to voice concerns over the new Amazon App Store. Whereas many casual developers might look to Amazon as a terrific alternative to the Android Market, the IDGA advises them to think things through. As they see it, there are at least five “potentially problematic scenarios” to consider, largely centered around the terms of agreement. As many of already know, Amazon has a pretty strong set of guidelines for developers looking to offer their apps or games through their distribution model. In their eyes, a small upstart Amazon could potentially end up as the “Walmart of the Android ecosystem” if developers don’t get involved.

The problem, as history has repeatedly demonstrated, is that things tend to change when a marketplace achieves any degree of dominance. The terms of Amazon’s distribution agreement give it significant flexibility to behave in a manner that may harmful to individual developers in the long run. Any goodwill that Amazon shows developers today may evaporate the minute Amazon’s Appstore becomes so big that Android developers have no choice but to distribute their content via the store.

The IGDA has reached out to Amazon to express this opinion but so far has yet to see any formal action.  We definitely think the open letter is worth checking out, especially if you’re a developer looking at potential distribution options.

 



  • Anonymous

    “The problem, as history has repeatedly demonstrated, is that things tend to change when a marketplace achieves any degree of dominance.”

    You mean, like Android Market?

  • Anonymous

    I have a buddy who posted his app in the Amazon Appstore then changed his mind, and discovered that Amazon has a policy that you CAN NOT remove an app from their store unless you also remove it from the Android Market.

    Amazon is out to screw developers. Don’t trust them.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dimatx Dima Tokar

    How does this concern apply to Amazon App Store more than it does to the dominant Android Market, or even more so, the Apple App Store which is the sole distributor of iOS apps for non-jailbroken phones?

    • http://twitter.com/chuckfalzone Chuck Falzone

      Take a look at IGDA’s open letter that Scott linked in the last paragraph; Amazon’s terms that it asks developers to agree to include restrictions that the Market does not– stuff that, for example, limits how developers price their apps *outside* of Amazon’s app store.

      I’m a bit conflicted here. I love what Amazon’s doing and think its challenge will end up spurring Google to improve the Android Market. On the other hand, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard developers object that Amazon’s terms are onerous. I’ve defended Amazon in the past on this, but IGDA makes some points that make me reconsider.

      • http://profiles.google.com/dimatx Dima Tokar

        This is true. Some of Amazon’s terms do seem quite restrictive. It would be intersting to hear Amazon’s justification for such clauses.

        However, it still feels like a lesser of two evils when compared to Apple’s model where it controls the one and only marketplace (minus jailbroken ones) and yes, it doesn’t dictate what prices can be set in other app stores, but it effectively prevents that from being an issue in the first place by not allowing alternative ways of selling apps to iOS users.

  • http://twitter.com/BloomWorlds BloomWorlds

    Hi Android Guys and fans of their blog,

    My name is Todd R. Levy and my company BloomWorlds, is developing Android’s family friendly app store, to help Android parents discover safe, secure, and appropriate apps by utilizing our hands-on approach to curation.

    After reading IGDA’s advisory about Amazon’s Appstore developer’s terms, we wanted to reach out and share our app stores’ pricing options with you.

    http://bloomworlds.com/pricing

    Since the developer picks their apps’ price, BloomWorlds feels our model is flexible, fair and innovative to the Android ecosystem. Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Thank you

  • http://twitter.com/BloomWorlds BloomWorlds

    Hi Android Guys and fans of their blog,

    My name is Todd R. Levy and my company BloomWorlds, is developing Android’s family friendly app store, to help Android parents discover safe, secure, and appropriate apps by utilizing our hands-on approach to curation.

    After reading IGDA’s advisory about Amazon’s Appstore developer’s terms, we wanted to reach out and share our app stores’ pricing options with you.

    http://bloomworlds.com/pricing

    Since the developer picks their apps’ price, BloomWorlds feels our model is flexible, fair and innovative to the Android ecosystem. Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Thank you

  • http://profiles.google.com/mejohnsn Matthew Johnson

    What the article forgets, what many Amazon critics forget, is that one of the problems with the Android Market (Google’s) is that the flip side of its “unlimited freedom” is already bad for developers: it is far to easy on Google’s market to take advantage of that freedom to sell stolen IP, artificially raise ratings by “stuffing the ballot box” etc. And even as Google does clamp down on IP thefts, they still rely on the developer to be ‘proactive’ in finding the violators — an unreasonable burden.

    Amazon will at least take reasonable measures to make sure developers are not offering software that breaks the user’s phone, and is considerably less friendly to IP thieves.