IGDA Warns Game Developers About Amazon’s Appstore Policies

The International Game Developers Association has a warning for Android mobile game developers thinking about selling their games in Amazon’s new Appstore: think twice.

In an open letter posted on its website, the IGDA has outlined some troubling bits of the Appstore distribution terms. Here’s a quote from the letter that gets to the heart of the issue:

In brief: Amazon reserves the right to control the price of your games, as well as the right to pay you “the greater of 70% of the purchase price or 20% of the List Price.” While many other retailers, both physical and digital, also exert control over the price of products in their markets, we are not aware of any other retailer having a formal policy of paying a supplier just 20% of the supplier’s minimum list price without the supplier’s permission. (Emphasis original.)

Amazon reserves the right to cut prices and developers also have to match their Amazon Appstore apps’ prices to the lowest price they set in any other app store. Basically, Amazon reserves the rights to run sales on developers’ apps and reap the benefits, while  developers have to deal with the price drops and the loss in sales they might experience in the meantime.

The Amazon Appstore shouldn’t just be written off, though. It was the first market to release Angry Birds Rio — which moved 10 million units across all platforms in its first 10 days. Unfortunately, sounds like developers have a choice either to jump in with Amazon and hope for the best, or abandon it altogether.

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