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Out of the Underground

You've likely heard of Amazon Underground. Here's an overview of download info, use, and money to help you dig into Amazon Underground.

· Mobile Zone

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Today I want to talk to you about Amazon Underground.

Some of you may have heard the recent success stories of Halfbrick, Coffe Stain Studios or developers I did not even know existed making more revenue on underground than everywhere else. The only way for me to find out if this is all marketing or if there’s some truth behind it was to try it myself.

As mentioned in my last blogpost, Bloo Kid 2 (among some of our other apps) has been released on Amazon Underground a while ago. It took some time until this version picked up steam, but today I am going to present you some very promising numbers.

For those unaware of the Amazon Underground program, here is a short excerpt from Amazon:

…Amazon Underground includes a new monetization model where Amazon pays developers based on the amount of time your app is used. With Amazon Underground, you can turn 100% of your Android users into revenue generating customers. You get paid starting from the very first minute your Amazon Underground app is used, and you will continue to be paid for every minute of use by every customer in exchange for you waiving your normal download or in-app fees.

As I said, I ported some of my kid’s apps and Bloo Kid 2 to Amazon. For the latter, it was quite easy because I already integrated GameCircle for the Amazon FireTV version.


Below you can find the current download numbers. The yellow line is for Bloo Kid 2, the lines close to zero are for all the other apps I have ported…

bk2_underground_downloadsBK2 currently has ~28.700 downloads on underground. The curve drops at the end because the current week has just started.


Now for the interesting part… Since amazon pays developers “for every minute of use by every customer”, the important question is: How long do people play the game?

bk2_underground_minutesAll games in total have been played for 1,603,131 minutes so far, with BK2 taking the largest share.

I am not sure why it took some time until BK2 started reporting usage time, even though downloads started in November 2015. Anyway, let’s take a close look at BK2’s usage time without the other apps in the stats:


A closer look shows a clear upward trend for the BK2 usage times, peaking at nearly 70k minutes a day.

So with those 28,700 downloads and 1,437,737 minutes played, the average “playtime per user” is about 50 minutes. This usage time somehow reflects the nature of the game: A platformer with 60 levels and quite a bit of replay value. The hard work on the content really pays off here.

What About the Money

Again: Amazon pays developers for every minute their app is used. Amazon Underground offers the following payment rates, based on the corresponding marketplace:

Amazon marketplace

Per minute rate













While this does not sound like much, it really adds up in the end. €0,0018 roughly matches the $ value, so I will calculate with $ for keeping things simple.

For Bloo Kid 2, this translates to:

1,437,737 minutes * $0.0020 = $2.875 revenue in total so far.

Doesn't sound great compared to the FireTV or 3DS version. But judging from the current stats, the game is becoming more and more popular on Amazon, and downloads and usage time are still on the rise. If the downloads and usage times stay more or less constant over the next weeks, with about 70k minutes a day, I can expect to generate 70k * 0,0020 = $140 a day, which translates to $4.200 a month.


Underground seems to work for Bloo Kid 2 quite well. The game makes more revenue on other platforms, but if my forecast is correct, then underground will quickly become one of the most profitable platforms. I can tell you more in a few weeks, so stay tuned!

The Mobile Zone is brought to you in partnership with Strongloop and IBM.  Visually compose APIs with easy-to-use tooling. Learn how IBM API Connect provides near-universal access to data and services both on-premises and in the cloud.


Published at DZone with permission of Jörg Winterstein, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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