Amazon lets you buy physical objects in AR games
Amazon's new shopping platform lets you shop while playing VR or AR games. A well-known AR developer is getting the ball rolling.
Amazon Anywhere is the e-commerce giant's new “immersive shopping experience”. Amazon wants to allow its customers to shop while they are in virtual worlds – VR games, AR games or regular mobile games. Niantic is the first major developer studio to use the shopping integration.
Amazon & Niantic launch immersive shopping
Anywhere will first appear in Peridot, a mobile AR game from Niantic, the creators of Pokémon Go and Harry Potter AR. The sequel to Pokémon Go allows players to raise Pokémon-like pets that can be seen in the physical environment using camera-based augmented reality via their smartphone. Peridot is available for free on Android and iOS.
Those who link their Amazon account to Peridot will be able to order physical items directly from the AR game. Initially, only Peridot merchandise will be available, such as printed t-shirts, pillows or PopSockets for smartphones.
The price, payment, and shipping options are displayed directly in the game, along with an order button to complete the purchase. There is no redirection to the Amazon app. However, order details and delivery status can be viewed in the Amazon shopping app afterwards.
Amazon Anywhere: Opportunity and risk
In theory, developers can use Amazon Anywhere to build an immersive shopping integration with a connection to Amazon's e-commerce platform into any game. Especially for smaller VR and AR developers, this could be a helpful monetization opportunity.
At the same time, there is a risk, especially for games like Peridot that are aimed at a younger audience. The increased immersion in AR games, and virtual reality in particular, could more easily encourage users to make unnecessary purchases.
It is not known whether Amazon will extend its immersive store to other media or extend the store's functionality beyond merchandise. The further development of Anywhere will likely depend on the success of the pilot in Niantic's Peridot.