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Amazon gets into casual games, buys Reflexive

By on October 22, 2008
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The Homepage of ReflexiveThe world’s biggest bookseller is branching out. Amazon has just bought casual game portal Reflexive in a move that will strengthen its digital distribution expertise and increase its exposure to a market that has essentially eluded it to date: downloadable casual games.

Reflexive is a portal in its own right, but more importantly, if offers a highly-customisable games store that can be embedded into any website. This instantly offers over 1,100 casual games in your own look-and-feel, creating a substantial distribution network of over 400 websites.

Amazon is no stranger to this model. Its sophisticated affiliate network offers a huge variety of widgets, including links to embed full shops and display carousels which drive ecommerce traffic to Amazon.

Amazon has also been trying many different ways to get into digital distribution: Jeff Bezos is savvy enough to know that the world’s biggest bookseller needs a digital strategy. So they’ve launched the Kindle reader, they offer digital music downloads and through Unbox, videos as well.

So it’s no surprise that they bought a casual games portal. It’s the absolutely logical extension of the product range.

Reflexive has a reputation of being good to developers: it has offers 40% royalty rate, offers you the chance to gain additional revenue for generating traffic and is seen as a good distribution channel. Amazon is more often seen as flexing its very-substantial distribution muscles to squeeze extremely low prices out of its suppliers.

So it will be interesting to see if Reflexive keeps its indie-friendly rep or if instead Amazon forces down rev-shares to the detriment of its indie-developer partners.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com