New achievement: Amazon Introduces GameCircle to compete with Apple, makes steps toward platform growth?

By Eli Cymet |

Call me a hipster (please don’t, that would hurt my feelings), but I don’t care much about achievements. As someone who started gaming in the NES days, high scores, epic boss fights, and, you know, beating the game itself are all pretty good achievements to me. You know who does care about achievements, though? Pretty much everyone else.

 From XBLA to PSN, Google Play to iOS, and even stragglers like Nintendo, almost everyone seems to have hopped on board the train of in-game milestones. The latest passenger to join? Amazon. Earlier today, the sales giant, e-reader purveyor, and tablet manufacturer (among other things) announced their plan to keep up with the cheevo’-laden mobile space. An answer of sorts to services like Apple’s GameCenter and networks like GREE’s OpenFeint. They call it GameCircle.

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In their words, GameCircle is a way to “make it easier for [developers] to create more engaging game experiences and grow… business on Kindle Fire.” In reality, it’s largely keeping up with the Jones’. Fleshing out the relatively barebones state of things right now, Amazon is packaging Achievements, Leaderboards, and Sync inside their API, allowing developers to competitively code their game to attract more attention and devotion from the “millions” of Kindle Fire tablet owners. 

With that said, while the former two features are standard fare for the mobile world, I’m impressed with the immediate addition of cloud saves. It’s a smart move that leverages Amazon’s world-renowned servers and cloud technology, which will doubtless prove appealing to developers who may have been hesitant to jump on the Kindle with a more basic set of options. And let’s be honest? Who likes losing their saves when they shut down a system or pick up a new device?

Developers, what do you think? Is a more robust, Game Center-like suite a far enough step in the right direction to have you thinking it’s time for a move to Kindle? And for that matter, will you Kindle Fire owners make use of the features, or is Kindle gaming a totally separate type of affair for you?

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