July 12, 2012, 8:30 AM — Yesterday Amazon announced GameCircle, a service for Kindle gamers that is very similar to GameCenter on iOS or even something like the social aspects of Steam or Xbox Live. GameCircle allows Amazon App Store developers to add Achievements, Leaderboards and cloud storage and syncing of saved game files.
Amazon has a page of general info on GameCircle, or interested developers can sign up to get access to the APIs that will allow them to integrate GameCircle into their titles. Amazon also lists some GameCircle enabled games though I had mixed success getting the enhanced features of these to work. I somehow skipped the "Enable" screen when trying Temple Run and couldn't figure out how to re-enable what Amazon is calling "Game Services" from within an app. I had better luck with Triple Town though with only one Kindle Fire at hand it was hard to test how well things were working. As far as I can ascertain GameCircle/Game Services only work with the Kindle Fire. I tried downloading the same apps via the Amazon App Store on another (non-Amazon) Android device and those apps didn't seem to be GameCircle-aware.
All of this leads me to believe this GameCircle idea is another preparatory step towards the Kindle 2. I don't consider the Kindle Fire to be a great gaming device and I can't believe many people have two of them that they'd have to sync between. But for those who do mess around with games on their Fire, wouldn't it be nice if they could just pick up where they left off once they have a brand new Kindle Fire 2 in their hands?
Now if Amazon wants to make something really special they need to add some kind of match-making service into GameCircle. One of the reasons I do so much gaming on the iPad is that via GameCenter I can easily see what games my friends own and challenge them to a match without any fuss. Android has nothing like this so Amazon could fill a void here. Assuming you have an actual Kindle device.
Interesting times. I'm looking forward to seeing how all this shakes out. Is this the first step towards Amazon removing the Amazon App Store from non-Kindle hardware?
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