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Amazon Introduces Coins

Amazon announced today it will introduce a virtual-currency system Kindle Fire owners can use to purchase games, apps, and other items from the company’s Appstore. In May, Amazon will give away tens of millions of Amazon Coins consumers can use to purchase Kindle Fire apps.

From The Wall Street Journal:

It also said the coins offer app and game developers a substantial opportunity to drive traffic, downloads and increase monetization.

Amazon's appstore developers will earn their standard 70% revenue share when customers make purchases using the coins. Developers with apps and games currently in the Amazon Appstore for the U.S. don't need to do anything with their apps. Those developers who aren't part of the appstore must submit their apps--and have these approved--by April 25.

Virtual currencies such as Coins are common, but Amazon might need to convince consumers the system will not be as confusing and frustrating as dealing with other models such as Microsoft Points. Consumers already are making the comparison on several comment sections associated with different articles about the announcement.

Gamers primarily use Microsoft Points as it is the only way to purchase content on the Xbox Live Marketplace for the Xbox 360 video-game console. The currency is available in 400, 800, 1,600, 4,000, and 6,000-point allotments. Some 80 points are equivalent to $1. Gamers complain the system forces you to buy more points than one might need. For example, a user with a zero balance who wishes to purchase a TV episode for 240 points must buy the 400-point allotment, which costs $4.99. Microsoft reportedly was toying with the idea of using regular currency, but that hasn’t been the case. Amazon did not reveal if the Coins are available in certain allotments.

Amazon’s plan to give away Coins to promote the service will at least give users an idea about how it works and become familiar with the system. The company will let customers buy more Coins through their accounts. At the moment, it does not appears Coins will become the default currency for the Appstore, but don’t be surprised if Amazon goes that route to get consumers accustomed to using the system.

Click here to read more from The Wall Street Journal.

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