Amazon solved the discovery problem long ago, so why haven't Apple and Google noticed?

Amazon solved the discovery problem long ago, so why haven't Apple and Google noticed?
A constant source of pain and irritation for many a developer, the issue of discovery – getting a game in front of those likely to download it – has already be solved according to speakers at this year's NY Games Con in New York.

Online retail giant Amazon, it was claimed, came to terms with discovery years ago, pushing products at people based on their previous purchases, or even mere product views.

So why hasn't anyone in the mobile business adopted this model?

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"The real failure of app stores is that they're making discoverability much more difficult for consumers," noted Manifesto Games founder Greg Costikyan at the opening panel at the day.

With noticeable exasperation, Costikyan added, "Amazon solved this problem years ago."

Predictive analytics firm Medio's John Maffei noted in a later talk that 40 percent of Amazon's business currently stems from "shopping cart optimisation" - the practice of recommending goods based on the items currently in your cart or your past purchase history.

Unfortunately, neither Costikyan nor Maffei was able to provide an answer for why both iOS and Android haven't shifted to a similar model, recommending apps based on a user's activity or previous download history.

Looking ahead

The benefits for developers would be obvious - easier discovery - and consumer would stand to benefit as well since they'd have easier access to games closely suited to their interests, yet the current app store model doesn't support this.

Until this changes, Maffei noted that the best thing a developer can do to get their game discovered is to "create a game that users want to share with their friends",.

That, of course, is exactly what many developers have been focusing on, with some sweetening the deal with free in-game currency if users push the game out to their Facebook friends.

US Correspondent

Representing the former colonies, Matt keeps the Pocket Gamer news feed updated when sleepy Europeans are sleeping. As a frustrated journalist, diehard gamer and recovering MMO addict, this is pretty much his dream job.


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Ric Williams co-founder at Hungry Moose Games
Totally driven by the ad model, why would they recommend something when they can get a developer to pay for an ad and charge $1 - $25 per install.
Fes Askari
Just one thought may be the fact that both Apple and Google drive ad revenue through mobile display from brands/developers looking to push downloads, so maybe they don't want to eat into this by providing what would be in essence free discoverability.

That would be just one thought, though some may say it counter intuitive as if they did provide a platform like Amazon's there may be an uplift in downloads, but again, would that necessarily deliver equivalent returns in comparison to media spend. (I don't know, I haven't looked at that))

p.s. intresting mobile gaming infographic at