Amazon unveiled Game Circle in 2012 and gave developers the ability to create leader boards. The system was quite basic for a number of years, but this is all changing. Today, all existing Kindle Fire tablets have been pushed a new firmware update that enhances player profiles, adds new badges, and introduces the experience system.
The new experience system allows players to level up by playing games, meaning the more you play, the more experience you earn. This data is public and can be shared with your friends as a way to compete against each other. If you have been playing games for quite some time, all of the experience is retroactively given out.
Players can now earn badges for special achievements when playing, downloading, or reaching certain plateaus in any given game. Badges can be earned by completing special challenges for apps using the new Amazon Game Circle API. Big name properties embraced this before the new system was unveiled today, so Real Racing, Temple Run, Cut the Rope 2, and many Disney titles all have special badges available. There’s a dedicated gaming section that lets you know which titles support the badge system.
When you earn badges, you may elect to have one displayed next to the expanded player avatar system. Players can choose from a selected list of stock images that have 40+ avatars to choose from, but currently there is no ability to upload your own. Only one badge can sit next to your avatar at a time, and you can select the one that you dig the most. One of the coolest ones is the Zombie Killer badge, but many more should be added in the coming weeks.
This new player profile, badge, and experience system is very interesting. It gives attainable goals that players can strive for. Apple and Google both have their own Game Center systems, but Amazon is doing something noticeably different. Companies like Microsoft have been offering badges and achievements for quite awhile, and it gets pretty addicting to try and collect them all from a particular game. Likely, this is what Amazon is betting on in the mobile space.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.