April 15, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
The International Game Developers Association sent out a warning this week to Android game developers, warning them that the Amazon App Store for Android presented some problems that might make them want to reconsider selling their wares in Amazon’s market. “The IGDA has significant concerns about Amazon’s current Appstore distribution terms and the negative impact they may have on the game development community,” the organization warned.
Amazon has responded to the budding controversy by nipping it in the bud. On the Amazon Appstore Developer Blog, the retailer clarified that the terms that led to IDGA’s complaints were actually an old draft of the terms that Amazon has since abandoned. The terms viewed online in plain HTML were “outdated” and didn’t reflect the new terms available in a PDF version. Amazon has since rectified the problem by making both documents show the same information, neither of which includes the worrisome text about app store pricing.
The IGDA previously complained that the Amazon Market made unreasonable demands on developers. Among the complaints:
- Amazon reserved the right to give the developer only 20% of its minimum list price
- Amazon demanded that developers maintain similar pricing as what’s available in other stores. So if a $5 game went on sale for $1.99 in the Android Market, that price would have to be $1.99 in the Amazon Appstore – forever.
- Amazon could offer premium apps at steep discounts (or even free) for the promotion of the store and at the detriment to many developers who may not recoup the money in lost sales.
These were all major concerns that IGDA was right to bring attention to. Amazon claims that it updated the terms in November, so the controversy seems to be over. At least until we discover something else troubling in the developer distribution agreement.