There was clearly a lot of ground to cover at tonight’s AWS re:Invent Alexa State of the Union — but let’s be real, the most important bit was how the company plans to make a little money for its developers. After all, Amazon appears to be raking in the dough, with all of the Alexa devices it’s been selling ahead of the holidays, but what of the lowly developer?
The most notable addition on that front is in-skill purchases — Alexa’s version of the ubiquitous in-app variety. The feature takes a similar form in the voice assistant. Participating skills offer up a certain amount of free content, in order to hook users in to a one-time payment to unlock more stuff.
In-skill purchasing joins the subscription feature Amazon rolled out for its Jeopardy skill this time last month. The fittingly titled “Double Jeopardy” offers up additional playable content for either $1.99 a month, or free, if they’re Prime members.
The new features is coming to a handful of existing trivia games, including Teen and Sports Jeopardy, along with new titles including Match Game, Heads Up and a trivia game from the History Channel. In-skill purchases and subscriptions are both in preview for a select number of developers starting today. They’ll become more widely available some time next year.
The new features join Amazon’s on-going Alexa Developer Rewards program, which integrate skills into existing commerce channels, so users can do things like order a coffee or pick something up from Best Buy.