Amazon Invades Free To Play Worlds, Brings Gifts

By Richard Cobbett on July 13th, 2012 at 5:00 pm.

Oh, hey, a free to play service leading on a picture of a woman in a skimpy top. Didn't see that one coming at all.

Amazon US already sells just about everything on Earth. Now, it’s shipping to parallel worlds via its new Free To Play aisle, with games including Super MNC, Battlestar Galactica, Run! Escape! – no, wait, sorry, Runescape, and Allods Online. Not only can you grab the games from the site, you can attach your Amazon details to your main account and make purchases from its website. It’s like Steam, only you can also buy Armando Iannucci’s face on a bag!

It’s a good looking service, though I wasn’t able to try it out. American companies not wanting us foreigners’ money is no surprise, and apparently we can’t even not give it to them now. I could have set up a fake address or something, I suppose, but I need a better reason than Allods Online for even harmless acts of fraud, never mind actually buying virtual crap.

The basics though are solid. Amazon passes the game its instructions to give you what you ordered, while keeping details like your address and phone number to itself. You can unlink games at any point, and don’t need to create one through Steam. You’ll also have access to any of your game’s existing built-in stores if the thing you want isn’t available via Amazon or if there’s a special deal/bundle you want to take advantage of. That seems quite likely – so far, only seven games seem to have any purchasable goodies, with the focus apparently more on starter pack type content than individual hats. Still, with characters in Super MNC and money in 8BitMMO, it looks like people will be able to sell more or less whatever goodies they like.

Check the Battlestar Galactica description. It's nice to be able to see *exactly* when someone stopped giving a crap.

Some games also have some Amazon exclusives, including a free character bundle for Rise of Immortals, a fancy golden katana in Runescape, and less generously, the chance to spend 3,500 crowns in Shin Megami Tensei to get a voucher exchangeable for a virtual necklace to show you’re one of the few PC players who know what Shin Megami Tensei is. Nothing too special, but nice to have if you’ve been meaning to download one of these games anyway. Steam still remains the best one-stop-shop for F2P games, but it is only Day 1.

The big advantage of a store like this is obviously one of trust – a little like Steam, there’s much less risk in going through a known quantity instead of trusting your details to a company you’ve never even heard of before. For the developers though, the fact you’re only one click/one password away from buying something definitely won’t hurt – even after Amazon’s cut. There’s also some interesting cross-marketing potential given the range of stuff on the site. Looking for, say, a Flash comic? It’d be very easy to add “By the way, you can play with his powers in this DC Universe Online pack. Want to try it out? It’ll only cost you a few dollars…”

Amazon probably won’t be selling any Team Fortress 2 hats in the near future though, and there’s no word on whether your digital deliveries will arrive any faster with Amazon Prime. You can always pretend though. Having to wait a whole 48 milliseconds longer is so 2011.

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34 Comments »

  1. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Allods Online.. award winning? I wonder what award that was. Maybe it was for the most chainmail bikinis in any single game?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      To be fair, that was fiercely contested. Allods had to go the extra mile to win.

    • MistyMike says:

      You bunch of beta-male white knights. Don’t you know sexism was officially abolished in 1899?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Well, it is called Amazon

    • D3xter says:

      Well you managed to move me from “I couldn’t care less” to “oh, let me Google that… oh… it looks like World of Warcraft…”

      Not sure in what kind of imaginary world you are all living where cleavage is something bad to be abolished in all living environments… it might be the 1910s or before.

      • Mrs Columbo says:

        Yeah, Dex, but this is the internet we’re talking about. I don’t know why anybody would bother with rubbishy pixel-tits when there’s no shortage of alternatives.

        • alundra says:

          For some, there are no alternatives, and they try to hide it behind a mask of low key hostility.

          Truth is, it’s double moral sexism, women are free to run naked, yet the female body is a motif for shame and needs to be kept away and securely locked.

          • Premium User Badge

            beekay says:

            “On the internet, there is only one place to find boobs, and that is in awful MMOs.”

            Also what you said doesn’t make any sense, probably because you’ve failed to notice that the ho-ho-yeah-get-naked-gurl and the lock-them-in-cloth-prisons types don’t have much of an intersect on the social Venn diagram (the only overlap is in the Repulsive Shitbags category).

          • alundra says:

            Hey beekay some people like to make a fuss at the sight of some cleavage, like if the female body was some kind of sinful thing.

            That’s all I was pointing at.

        • D3xter says:

          They’re both pixels mate xD

  2. Premium User Badge

    Llewyn says:

    Disappointed to discover on clicking link that it’s only the image of Armando Ianucci’s face attached to a bag. Surely an opportunity missed.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      I like to imagine a psychopath cutting his head off and putting it into that bag, and carrying it around smiling at what NOBODY REALISES BUT HIM.

      • Premium User Badge

        Llewyn says:

        It is quite tempting…

        “Richard, your bag has Armando Iannucci’s head on it, that’s just weird. What have you got in there anyway?”
        “Oh, Armando Iannucci’s head.”
        “Haha, just your shopping, eh?”
        “Ummm, yeah…”

        • Richard Cobbett says:

          If you removed the bones and guts so you just had the skin, you could slice off the head, then cut a small hole in the bottom of the bag and carefully slot the ends of the feet into it. Then if anyone asked, you could say “It’s Armando Iannucci!”, flick the bag and have the body unfurl out of the end to complete the illusion in one slobbery move.

          But please wait until after at least the next series of The Thick Of It is finished or the comedy may suffer.

          • Premium User Badge

            Llewyn says:

            And I thought I’d been giving this too much thought.

          • Shooop says:

            This post will be stuck in my head for the next week, causing me to remember it and laugh about it at the most horribly inappropriate moments.

            You magnificent psychopath.

          • Mrs Columbo says:

            Yes, am looking very forward to the next series of The Thick of It, but I think, Richard, that you can feel free to continue with your plans to murder Iannucci, as the scripts will be writing themselves, what with all this UK politics nonsense.

    • Mrs Columbo says:

      That bag is way creepy enough for my broth as it is.

    • serioussgtstu says:

      Oh god, the user reviews made my day!

      • Premium User Badge

        tomeoftom says:

        Thank you so much for pointing that out. That is the most amazingly funny thing I’ve read in ages.

      • Mistabashi says:

        Ye gods, I’m reading through them right now and it’s one of those moments when you realise just how awesome people can be. Yay people!

        • Ninja Foodstuff says:

          When I first read this, I thought you were referring to the comments of the F2P stuff on Amazon (which btw, are incredible in that each one seems to be longer than the average RPS WIT), then I realised you were on about the facebag, and WOW. Seems to me there’s an entire BBC2 series-worth of comedy in there.

    • cyrenic says:

      I’m just disappointed the bag isn’t a vanity item in one of the F2P games.

  3. Mrs Columbo says:

    “It’s Battlestar Galactica”. Where’s the exclamation mark? That’s all it would take to make it sound like a 1980s ITV light entertainment revue.

    • Zyconis says:

      I don’t think they’re touting that as a selling point. I think it’s just a statement of fact!

  4. Bostec says:

    Strange really, you would of thought origin or some other big game company besides Steam would jump on this F2P bandwagon but instead its Amazon. They do some good deals too US side, just waiting for the UK version to upgrade if they ever do.

    • FakeAssName says:

      all they are selling is virtual point cards for virtual currency.

      think of it as no different than picking up a Xbox Live point card, or a WOW time card, only without having to go into walmart or wait for the physical “card” to ship.

  5. Fincher says:

    The only thing as good as the Armando Iannucci bag is the assortment of reviews accompanying it.

    Oh, and the Ronnie Corbett one.

  6. devlocke says:

    The most exciting thing about this story is that it reminded me that there was a Shin Megami Tensei f2p game. :)

    It probably sucks, but the Megami Tensei universe is good fun. Wonder if I can get it running in Wine?

  7. Tei says:

    Steam!

    A challenger apears!.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Rise / Run says:

    Well, I have been told (by the people who run it) that Amazon’s service runs as the backend of a large number of microtransaction-based empires, including Steam. So not surprising that they decided to cut out the middle-man.

    • Shuck says:

      Yeah, I’ve heard the same. Being able to have Amazon handle transactions as well certain simplifies things for game developers. Creating a small scale MMO is certainly much easier than it used to be.

  9. Ergonomic Cat says:

    So awesome. Every F2P game should be defined by how you kill people.

    Fight with Tanks. Fight with Guns. Fight with *Magic* Guns. Fight with Guns and Swords. Fight with Big Swords. I really like Fight with Swords and Rocks.