I’ve done a few minor little product launches at Amazon in the past. I’ve had big launches outside of Amazon before. It’s all good.

Today we had a real launch. Something I was a part of.

Amazon Underground.

This is actually a pretty cool thing for Android folks and their developers. Basically you pull developers out of the freemium type of game where you it feels you have to pay to have fun.

Up until this point a developer could have ads in their apps, have in-app-purchases (IAP) to make money, or simply charge money for the app itself. (There are some other ways too, but these are the common ones) Ads are annoying and paid apps have a lot of difficulty to gain traction.

This leaves the pay-to-play apps like Candy Crush and such. It’s either a stupid grind to get to the next level or you pay to get there quicker. Either option is annoying and not really fun. That said, this is the way to get the most money in many cases.

What we have made is a system where the user gets the app for for free (all of the app for free!) and the developer gets paid for the time the users use their app. Amazon foots the bill for it and we make up for it with occasional ads and getting more people into the Amazon ecosystem. This leaves developers free to make a game that is simply fun.

I do have to say my preferences don’t really lean towards Android, it’s just not my cup of tea. This isn’t enough to make me skip off to Android. But, other folks like Android, and for that it’s a pretty compelling thing for both users and developers.

Launching it. Watching the press and generally positive vibes. Getting a “Jeff Letter” on our own page that different, and dark and non Amazon-y. Being proud of what we did. Each of us did little parts of the whole. But Amazon is a big place with lots of systems all over the place. A big team. A big launch.

Yeah, you should check it out.  :-)

<disclaimer>I’m writing this as George, not as a representative of Amazon. My own opinions, not theirs.</disclaimer>  (yes, they asked people to say that… sigh)