Amazon Coins were announced today – gold coins that you can use to purchase games and apps and make in-app purchases on your Kindle Fire. You won’t even need to bash your head on bricks to get them! You might even be able to get some in May, when Amazon will implement the currency by giving away millions of dollars worth of Amazon coins. Amazon is saying that the new coins will help developers by making it even easier for users to throw their money at them.
So, what’s the benefit for you, the end user? Nothing, so far as I can tell. It seems like more of a way to get that good old gift card effect going – once you’ve bought up a whole batch of Amazon Coins to buy something you want, you’ll have to keep buying more once you have just a few straggler coins left in your account, kind of like that $1.32 left on your Best Buy gift card from Christmas, which you’ll probably either use to make a small dent in the price of something you don’t really need or want, or, more likely, buy a Three Musketeers and a bottle of Mountain Dew at the checkout counter.
I’m actually a little confused, because once you have your payment details saved to your Amazon account, it’s hard for me to see how, exactly, this makes it any easier for consumers to buy apps, games, and in-app purchases. Who knows, maybe the hope is that once you buy the fake money, you’ll forget that it’s actually real money you’re spending. But, then again, with online banking and Amazon, hasn’t that already happened with real money anyway? Amazon Coins already exist, and they are denominated in dollars and cents.