Submitted by Daniel A. Freeman on February 5, 2009 - 10:50am
The economy may not be growing, but Amazon certainly is. Amazon's reach now extends to the gaming world, as they launched a new retail site aimed at "casual" gamers that will allow users to download games at less than ten dollars each. According to CNET:
The launch comes just a little over two months since Amazon acquired Reflexive Entertainment, a casual-game service that is still selling titles with its own DRM solution and store front. In Amazon's case, purchased games must be downloaded with a special download tool similar to what's required to grab music tracks from the company's MP3 service. The games then phone home the first time you launch them to verify the purchase information.
Each game can be played for 30 minutes as a timed trial before the need to purchase.
The service--currently PC-only--is sure to put Amazon in competition with retailers and renters of physical games. At this point, particularly given the current economic conditions, it doesn't seem likely that Amazon will be taking patrons who use their libraries for gaming and gaming resources away from us.
Still, with this new move, Amazon has once again changed the equation. If their site is a success, downloading games through an online storefront may become a popular way to play video games. I'm sure its only a matter of time before savvy, gaming-oriented librarians are able to use similiar online interfaces to make gaming available to library patrons in exciting new ways.