Amazon Turns Free To Play Business Model On Its Ear With Underground For Android
Amazon is taking another stab at promoting apps on the Android platform with the launch of Underground. The Underground app gives Android users access to free games and apps, which is nothing new for those familiar with Amazon’s long-running “Free App of the Day” promotion.
However, where Underground take a slightly different (and interesting) turn is that apps and games are labeled “Actually Free” by Amazon, meaning that not only are the apps free, but also the associated in-app purchases. So you’ll never have to worry about forking over additional money to get the most out of what previously would have been called a “freemium” app.
“Many apps and games that are marked as ‘free’ turn out not to be completely free,” said Amazon upon announcing Underground. “They use in-app payments to charge you for special items or to unlock features or levels.”
Instead of users having to foot the bill for in-app purchases, Amazon has inked a deal with developers to pay them on a per-minute usage basis for each customer that interacts with the app. “To be clear, we’re the ones picking up those per minute charged so for you it’s simply free,” Amazon continues.
If you’re one of the few that actually purchased a Fire Phone (or own a Fire HD/HDX tablet), grabbing the Underground app is rather easy. But for any other Android smartphone user, you’ll have to visit the Amazon website, muck with your system setting allow apk side-loading, and then download the app. You can blame Google’s understandable restriction on apps within an app for having to jump through a few hoops. But once you get Underground installed, you’ll have access to over $10,000 worth “Actually Free” including Goat Simulator, Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions, OfficeSuite Professional 8, and Angry Birds Slingshot Stella.
The launch of Amazon Underground means that the aforementioned Free App of the Day promotion has been retired. But fear not, Amazon says that it’ll “continue to invent and add more benefits to Underground” in the future in addition to the free apps and games.