Amazon.com Inc. has added an in-app purchasing feature for games and other programs developed for the Web, Mac and PC.

In-app purchases allow developers to sell digital items within the game for a fee. Some developers make their money through in-app purchases instead of charging an up-front fee for the game.

"For years, Amazon has focused on making the online shopping experience as frictionless as possible, and we are excited to share this expertise and technology so that game developers can offer customers this same great experience," Mike Frazzini, the director of Amazon Games, said in a press release Jan. 22.

Games that charge for in-app purchases are common on Apple's app store and Facebook's website. Facebook reported about $557 million in revenue from payments in 2011, largely from developers using its payment system (Facebook plans to release its 2012 earnings Jan. 30).

"We love that Amazon will allow players of FreeFall Tournament to buy virtual items using the same login credentials and payment information they already have on file with Amazon.com. We think it will help minimize buying friction," said Chris Scholz, CEO of Free Range Games, in the release.

Amazon.com's system allows developers to list in-game items on its e-commerce site. Items sold within games can appear on Amazon.com's best-seller lists and in other marketing campaigns. This helps consumers discover games and in-app items, Amazon.com says.

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