Amazon has introduced new games features for the Kindle Fire, along with APIs that will let developers integrate features such as achievements, leaderboards and sync to their games.
“GameCircle,” is described as an all-new gaming experience for Kindle Fire that will give users a social gaming environment where they can compare scores and track their achievements in a similar way to Apple’s Game Center.
The GameCircle APIs let game developers integrate their games with GameCircle. According to Amazon you can begin working with the APIs now, but the sign up page asks for details including which games you want to work with and gives the impression that only some applicants will be invited to join.
The features of GameCircle include achievements, where players can track the trophies, treasures, badges and awards they earn while playing games on their Kindle Fire. Leaderboards can be used to compare scores and rankings within the games, while sync automatically saves players’ in-game progress to the cloud and allows them to pick up where they left off if they switch devices.
According to Paul Ryder, Vice President of Apps and Games at Amazon:
“The new GameCircle APIs mean that developers don’t have to worry about building leaderboards, achievements or sync in their games – they can focus on the elements of their games that are truly unique.”
Badges, leaderboards, and social aspects of gamification are definitely popular and so an easy way of integrating them into your games seems like a good idea. This does, however, seems to be Amazon playing catch up and an attempt to revitalize Kindle Fire development before Android's Nexus 7 tablet steals its fire.