Amazon Kids+ subscription service launches its first original mobile games – TechCrunch

Amazon Kids+ (formerly FreeTime) gives kids another excuse to ask for their parents’ phone. Amazon today announced two new kid-friendly mobile games for its Amazon Kids+ subscription entertainment platform, a $2.99-a-month service that provides access to children’s books, TV shows, movies, games and more. Based on the original Amazon specials “Super Spy Ryan” and “Do, Re & Mi”, kids can now experience ad-free mobile games from their favorite series. Both games can be downloaded for free by anyone (an Amazon Kids+ subscription is not required).

Additionally, an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch that Amazon Kids+ subscribers can expect “a few more freebies with both games” soon.

The new games are published by Amazon Mobile, making them the first mobile games published directly by Amazon since 2015, when Til Morning’s Light was released alongside To-Fu Fury. (However, Amazon’s broader gaming division has since released its own titles, including New World and Lost Ark.)

Multiplayer mobile game “Super Spy Ryan”, based on the special content created by pocket.watch, is now available on the Apple and Google Play app stores in the US, UK and Ireland, and will soon be available in Canada, Germany and Japan, according to today’s announcement. It will soon be available in the Amazon Kids+ subscription on Amazon Fire tablets. ‘Super Spy Ryan’ brings the beloved kids’ show to life so kids ages 6-9 can steal birthday presents from the evil Packrat’s lair and use the mud cannon and beam goggles X from Gus to fight Packrat’s henchmen.

“Expanding Ryan’s World in new and immersive ways is crucial for pocket.watch and the Ryan’s World brand in fulfilling our mission to bring kids more of what they love,” said Kerry Tucker, Director marketing and franchises at pocket.watch. “Ryan, like so many kids his age, loves games and we’re proud to build on his genuine interests by allowing kids to take the time to play hands-on.”

Amazon Kids+ prides itself on designing games and other forms of entertainment with child safety in mind. So, “Super Spy Ryan” won’t have friend lists or chat features, and all players will be given anonymous spy-themed usernames. There’s also a “single player mode” as well as a “party mode” so kids can play it safe no matter what.

While the music education game (3-5 years old) “Do, Re & Mi” has not yet appeared in the game range (but will soon), it will be available on the Apple App Store in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. and Ireland as well as on Amazon Fire tablets via the Amazon Kids+ subscription. The game features the voices of Kristen Bell and Jackie Tohn (who helped adapt the series) and has various activities that teach kids how to play the piano, bongos or even read sheet music (will you get the next Yo -Yo Ma on your hands?). Kids can also unleash their inner Dr. Dre and “produce” their own tunes.

Natasha Lipovac, Global Head of Amazon Kids+ Content, said, “Super Spy Ryan and Do, Re & Mi represent some of our most popular Amazon Kids+ content. We hope to add both smiles and laughter to kids and adults alike with this first look at the new kind of fun coming from the Amazon Kids+ mobile games team.

If parents have ever purchased a Kindle Kids e-reader for their child, chances are they are already familiar with the Amazon Kids+ subscription.

But it’s not the only Amazon product aimed at children. Last month, the company launched Amazon Glow, a kid-friendly tablet for video calls and projects, including books, visual art activities and games. Amazon also offers Alexa voice profiles for kids and a range of Echo Dots designed for kids. So it’s likely that we’ll see a lot more kid-friendly content from Amazon in the future.

The next generation

In recent years, Amazon has made serious efforts to corner the children’s market. And it’s not the only company to do so. HBO Max, Netflix, Peacock and Paramount+, among other streaming services, have recognized the value of giving parents the ability to stream their own TV shows and movies while their children watch the same service in another room.

Derek Johnson demonstrates this in his book “Transgenerational Media Industries: Adults, Children, and the Reproduction of Culture”, writing, “Children have served as a disproportionate focus for streaming services, not just as a niche market priority, but rather as a crucial building block in building a broader subscription base.

According to the ESA’s 2021 annual report on the essential facts about the video game industry, 76% of children under the age of 18 are gamers, and 74% of parents play with them. Especially during the pandemic, the study found that 71% of moms and dads (probably very tired and stressed) considered video games a “much needed” break for their children.

Netflix also began capitalizing on the intersection of streaming video entertainment and gaming with Netflix Games, where it also released games based on its popular shows, like “Stranger Things,” among other casual game titles.

The company says its Amazon Kids+ subscription will “introduce even more new content for kids and families” later this year.

Updated 4/14/22 12:58 PM ET with comment from Amazon spokesperson.

Robert P. Miller