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Amazon Launches Game Download Service with Free Trial

February 7th, 2009

Earlier this week, Amazon.com officially entered the realm of video game downloads with a new online store that offers over 600 casual game titles at prices ranging from $6.99 to $9.99. You can check out the selection by clicking on the banner below:

For the remainder of the first week after launch, Amazon is offering three of the titles as free downloads: “Build A Lot”, “The Scruffs”, and “Jewel Quest 2″. After the initial launch period, these titles and all other games can be played for up to 30 minutes as a kind of “try before you buy” free trial. After this time expires, you will need to purchase the full version to continue playing.

After looking through the relevant Digital Products Help section, I noticed a couple of disadvantages to the service that may be problematic for some users. The first issue is that in order to download any of the games, you first need to install the “Amazon Games & Software Downloader”, which is currently only compatible with Windows XP and Vista operating systems. Amazon does state that they are working on making the service compatible with Macintosh (Mac) systems, but for now it is still technically in “beta”, which means that not all features of the project have been fully developed yet.

The other drawback that you should be aware of is that these video game download purchases are not returnable or refundable, so it is important to make sure that you are buying the right game before following through with the payment. Fortunately, as with most other products Amazon offers a robust customer review system for each available game. Therefore, in most cases you will be able access enough information from the reviews and product descriptions to make an informed decision before actually spending any money.

Meanwhile, if you are an Amazon associate, the company is offering 10% referral fees on all game download purchases. There is no maximum limit on the number of items for which you can earn commissions, although according to the terms there is a cap of $1.50 per unit. However, in this particular case the cap does not seem to matter because the maximum unit price is only $9.99, which means that it is not possible to earn more than $1 of referral fees per unit.

Amazon states that the selection of available game downloads is being limited by the rights that the individual software vendors are willing to grant. The company is currently working to establish agreements with more software vendors, which will allow for a significantly expanded selection of games in the future. When this occurs, Amazon associates may be able to make some relatively easy sales by targeting buyers within the casual game genre and advertising multiple titles to attract a broad spectrum of interested gamers.

One Response to “Amazon Launches Game Download Service with Free Trial”

  1. comment number 1 by: Michael Gabriel

    Amazon just started out selling books and they have quickly expanded and are now selling video game downloads as well. I can see that they have popular game titles in store but they do not have anything for the Mac as of now. You may access my blog about Amazon’s new game download service at TheFinestWriter.com.

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