Developers and businesses making skills for Amazon’s Alexa will soon be able to accept Amazon Pay for purchases directly within voice apps from the Alexa Skills Store. The news was announced today during the Alexa State of the Union at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas. Among other Alexa news shared today are plans to bring Alexa to Australia and New Zealand in early 2018 and to add $100 million to the Alexa Fund for international investment.
Initial skills categories to accept Amazon Pay include donations, restaurants, and event ticketing.
Skills with plans to adopt one-time payments for premium content include Teen Jeopardy!, Sports Jeopardy!, Match Game, Heads Up, and History’s Ultimate History Quiz. A developer preview was made available today, while other tools to enable transactions will be made more widely available early next year. Double Jeopardy! was one of the first skills to accept paid subscriptions. Millions have been doled out thus far to developers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, and today the program was extended to developers in Australia, Japan, India, and Canada.
Other changes on the way in early 2018 include a public beta for the recently announced Gadgets API so developers can start making games that interact with the Echo Buttons for multi-person gameplay that go on sale next month.
Alexa skills developers accepting payments will likely take advantage of the ability to understand unique voices, a feature that started bringing personalization to Alexa users this fall and extended the service to developers Tuesday.
Native payments for Alexa skills follows a series of recent efforts by Amazon to compensate makers of those skills. Starting last spring, Amazon began to pay developers based on the level of engagement a skill is able to produce.
Skills like flash briefings and streaming audio are still able to run advertisements, but ads are otherwise forbidden for Alexa developers.