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Amazon will now allow developers to offer premium content for purchase in Alexa skills aimed at children. The company on Friday introduced new tools for building skills with in-app purchases which requires the Amazon account holder — typically mom or dad — to approve or decline the requested purchase via a text or email.
In-skill purchasing was first introduced to all U.S. Alexa developers last year, and more recently became available to international developers. But like any app aimed at children, Alexa skills needed to offer a purchase approval workflow for those in its kids’ category, or it would risk unapproved purchases initiated by younger users.
Developer - Tools
That’s where these new developer tools come in.
Now, developers can create premium kid skills using either the Alexa Skills Kit Command-Line Interface (ASK CLI) or the Alexa Developer Console. Other tools allow the skills to route purchase requests to the account holder over SMS or email. The account holder then has 24 hours to act on the request, or the request is automatically canceled.
Content - Form - Purchases - Subscriptions - Amazon
The premium content can come in the form of either one-time purchases or subscriptions, says Amazon.
A group of developers had early access to the tools and already added premium content to their own kid skills. This includes the grand prize winner from one of Amazon’s developer contests, Kids Court; plus You Choose Superman Adventures; Travel Quest; Animal Sounds; and Master Swords.
Parents - Kids - Anything - Options
Parents who don’t want their kids asking to buy anything have two options to opt out of all this.
They can disable the feature in the Alexa app under Settings -> Alexa Account -> Voice Purchasing -> Kid Skills Purchasing. Meanwhile, FreeTime on Alexa customers, which comes with the Echo Dot Kids Edition, won’t receive offers to purchase premium content. And those who upgrade to FreeTime Unlimited will get much of this premium content...
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