Many big companies wait until Friday to announce news that would be considered negative by the world at large. Today is no different as Amazon is letting Android app developers know today it will be phasing out its Underground Actually Free app store program.
Amazon first announced the Actually Free program in August 2015. It was meant to replace the company’s previous “Free app of the day” and other free app promotions that it ran though the Amazon App Store. The Underground Actually Free program gave Android device owners a way to get thousands of dollars in apps, games and in-app items for free. In exchange, developers who signed up to have their apps and in-app purchases be part of this program got some money back from Amazon, based on how much time their apps were played on a per-minute basis.
Today, Amazon noted that since Underground Actually Free began, its app store has expanded to include over 800,000 apps and games. However, it looks like the company is going in a different direction for its app store. It stated that after May 31, developers will no longer be able to submit apps or games to the Underground Actually Free program. Any such apps that were published in the program prior to that date can still be updated until the end of 2019, and developers will still be paid for every minute users spend on those apps until their contracts run out.
For Android owners, access to the Underground Actually Free store will end sometime in the summer of 2017, but those users will still be able to play any apps downloaded on their device from that program. If you own an Amazon Fire tablet, you can still access the Underground Actually Free store and download apps and games until the end of 2019.
Amazon noted in its announcement that app developers can still offer in-app purchases of branded t-shirts via its Merch by Amazon program. Also, it will continue to support purchasing apps in its store with the use of Amazon Coins. However, the shut down of the Underground Actually Free app program could keep many people from even trying Amazon’s app store. Hopefully, we will learn more about the company’s future plans for its Android-based app store in the near future.