Amazon today took additional steps to show that it doesn't want its Android-based Kindle Fire tablet to be relegated to an e-reader and email-checking device -- it also wants the Fire to be friendlier for game developers and gamers.
The company announced today GameCircle, a small group of community and engagement features that Amazon claims will help grow its tablet games business in the face of competition from Android and iPhone.
GameCircle introduces achievements, leaderboards and the ability to sync a game, so players can pick up where they left off if they start playing using a new Kindle Fire or have to re-download the game.
Amazon said new APIs are now available to game developers
who want to add GameCircle features to existing games.
With a three-piece feature set that's standard in terms of social connectivity, GameCircle is a fairly modest approach to community engagement. Amazon made no mention today about how friends with Kindle Fires might use gamertag-like names to find one another, or how they may discover new games that friends are playing -- features that Apple's iOS Game Center and Gree's Openfeint provide. But Amazon said there are more features to come, without getting into specifics.
developer Imangi, Triple Town
house Spry Fox, and Doodle Jump
studio GameHouse all took part in GameCircle's beta program.
In April, Amazon also made steps to make Kindle Fire more alluring to video game developers with the introduction of in-app purchases
, allowing game developers to offer paid digital content and subscriptions in-game.