While apps have in-app purchases to expand the app functionality and features, they never had the ability to break the software barrier and expand to more places than just inside the app. Amazon is about to change that.
Recently, Amazon announced that they are testing a service to allow app developers to sell physical goods inside the app. While Apple and Google’s app store have in-app purchases, having in-app physical goods purchases gives Amazon a one up on physical distribution capabilities as Apple and Google does not have that ability yet.
Amazon announced that is first partner to test out the service is Actvision with its children game, Skylander. Amazon chose Activision’s Skylander due to its connection between the toys and the game. Once a Skylanders toy is placed on the connecting portal, the character transports into the game, allowing users to interact with the character in the game. Amazon’s plan is to sell toys inside the app with their 1-Click Purchasing; as they purchase the toy, the game will unlock the digital character, allowing the user to instantly use the digital character while the physical toy is shipped to the desired adress.
As Amazon expands this service, we expect more apps like Angry Bird to utilize this service. The only concern is whether in-game physical products purchases will ruin the integrity of the app. Even though Activision’s Skylander app is 99 cents, it still requires more purchases to expand the game. We will see if the service proceeds and whether apps adopt this new form of in-app purchases.