Amazon's first-ever mobile game 'Air Patriots' takes flight on Android, iOS
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is expanding into mobile game development, launching the free Air Patriots for its own Kindle Fire tablets as well as devices running Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android.
Created by the fledgling Amazon Game Studios, which debuted in August with the release of the social game Living Classics for Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Air Patriots lets players control a squadron of military planes by using their finger to draw the paths the aircraft will follow to engage enemy forces. As opposed to tower defense titles with stationary defense bases, Air Patriots offers gamers the flexibility to adjust their strategy on the fly by drawing new flight paths and redeploying firepower wherever it's most needed.
Air Patriots for Kindle Fire leverages Amazon's GameCircle social gaming platform track achievements and high scores. It also integrates the digital retailer's Whispersync technology, which saves the player's place in the game and backs up all progress in the cloud for gameplay across multiple devices.
While mobile game development is a new business for Amazon, the evolution is not entirely unexpected: The new Kindle Fire HD, unveiled in early September, touts gaming enhancements include a gyroscope and accelerometer for full tilt and turn controls, as well as social gaming features such as group leaderboards and achievements. Parents may also supervise their children's gaming and multimedia activities with the tablet's new FreeTime feature, which offers tools to restrict access to certain titles and limit screen time.
An estimated 211.5 million American consumers play videogames across all platforms, down 5 percent from 223.5 million a year ago, according to data issued in September by market research firm NPD Group. Despite the overall slide, the number of mobile gamers increased 9 percentage points over 2011 and now account for 22 percent of the total U.S. gaming market, a percentage larger than any other single segment.
In related Amazon news, the company also announced the release of Cloud Drive Photos for Android, which promises to make it easy to upload, store, share and view photos snapped with Android smartphones and tablets. Cloud Drive Photos users can save entire image collections for access across Android devices (including the Kindle Fire) or with any Web browser--users can share pictures via Facebook, email and other mobile apps, and consumers may select a horizontal mosaic or vertical grid view based on the screen size of their Android device.
Consumers may download the free Cloud Drive Photos from the Amazon Appstore for Android. Each user is given 5 GB of free storage; additional storage options begin at $10 a year for 20 GB.
Amazon first launched Cloud Drive in March 2011. In addition to photos, consumers may upload their digital music libraries for access across Android devices, PCs and Macs.
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