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Shopify is launching its Custom Storefront development kit, and it’s a new way for game developers to make money from their games.

It’s another sign that the way people shop continues to evolve, even in the post e-commerce world. With the new kit, developers can now create unique buying experiences on practically any interface. In the case of games, players could buy T-shirts and other merchandise from inside a game.

Developers can build new shopping experiences on web, mobile, in-game, and more. The kit includes a new Unity Buy software development kit (SDK), which enables developers to add new pay options when using the Unity Technologies game engine to make their games.

The Unity Buy SDK gives developers the ability to integrate organic in-game buying opportunities for their players, and grow their businesses while also serving their community of enthusiasts. These experiences can also be optimized for mobile gaming, as they allow for payments through Apple Pay, creating a seamless shopping experience for iOS users.


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As an example, the mobile game Alto’s Adventure uses the Unity Buy SDK to sell branded T-shirts and character-themed merchandise. With this SDK, Alto’s Adventure was able to make the buying experience feel like an authentic part of the game’s universe with low development effort.

The Storefront API is the engine behind creating custom storefronts, and the easiest way to understand it is to compare it to the storefront of a retail store. The physical storefront is an area where customers can browse and buy products. Similarly, the Storefront API powers the set of actions customers can perform in a digital store. This includes viewing products, adding products to cart, and checking out. How to implement these features is fully in the developer’s control.

It takes advantage of GraphQL, a flexible and standards based language, the Storefront API allows a developer to you to efficiently get all data needed in a single request with predictable responses.

No longer tied to the Shopify-provided Online Store, the developer can something unique while still being able to use Shopify’s suite of ecommerce capabilities.

While the Storefront API enables you to build custom storefronts with any languages and technologies, Shopify has created three API client libraries for development in Javascript, mobile (Android and iOS), and the Unity game engine to simplify the development process.

Above: Shopify

Image Credit: Shopify

The Javascript Buy SDK allows developers to build completely custom, branded online stores on any website. It’s suitable for merchants who want to take full benefit of Shopify’s backend capabilities but have content needs that exceed what Shopify’s Online Store CMS can currently offer.

An example of this is Anova Culinary. With a content-heavy website, Anova was able to incorporate product checkouts in many unconventional parts of their website such as their blog posts, without using any themes from the Shopify Online Store. The Javascript SDK helped quicken Anova Culinary’s development cycle and accelerated their time to launch.

And with the new Mobile Buy SDKs, developers can take advantage of the flexibility and speed of the GraphQL APIs, making it even easier to bring commerce into iOS and Android apps.

Using the iOS and Android Mobile Buy SDKs, developers can now build custom mobile apps that are immersive, have highly engaging buying experiences, and offer simpler checkout options with Apple and Android Pay.

In addition, instead of building a brand new mobile storefront, developers can use the iOS and Android Buy SDK to integrate Shopify’s checkout into existing mobile application. This will enable developers to sell any physical products through the app and track sales information in the Shopify Admin.

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