Amazon Underground Makes Paid Android Apps, Games Free

The Android app allows users to shop for 'Actually Free' content, with download costs and/or in-app purchases removed.

Amazon has released Amazon Underground, its new app for Android, which provides over $10,000 in apps, games and in-app purchase items to users for free.

For users, this entails downloading the app directly from Amazon’s website, as it isn’t available on Google Play. The app is a standard Amazon shopping app, providing access to Amazon’s traditional physical and digital goods, but it also includes a new ‘Underground’ section of content.

Here, users will find a variety of ‘Actually Free’ apps and games, or apps and games with free in-app purchases, including Angry Birds, Jetpack Joyride, Goat Simulator and many others. Upon downloading one of these titles, users will find the in-app purchases (where available) are free, so they can access all of the title’s content without spending real money.

For developers, this introduces a new monetization model, in which Amazon pays developers for every minute a user uses an Amazon Underground app. While users are unable to make additional purchases in these apps and games, the model does ensure every active user actually generates money for the developer.

A blog post on the Amazon developer website reads:

In most app store models, developers are paid a revenue share based on the initial purchase of the app or the in-app purchases. With Amazon Underground’s innovative monetization approach, Amazon pays you for every minute a customer uses your Amazon Underground app ($0.002/minute at launch), and customers pay nothing.

There is no more guesswork around getting IAP optimized for the 2%-10% of customers that reportedly buy them. You can now focus on creating great content, storylines and characters that keep customers coming back. It’s all about increasing customer engagement.

For users to engage with these apps, they’ll need to turn on data tracking on their device, so Amazon can appropriately track this gameplay or app usage time.

Amazon Underground is available to download for free for users in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany.