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Amazon GameCircle for Kindle Fire takes on Apple's Game Center

Touting it as a "new gaming experience for Kindle Fire," Amazon on Wednesday launched GameCircle, a social network for games akin to Apple's Game Center.

The new GameCircle includes achievements, leaderboards and sync functionality for developers creating applications for the Kindle Fire tablet. The service has already been beta tested with popular games like "Temple Run," "Doodle Jump" and "Triple Town."

"Our goal is to give developers great tools to quickly and easily reach new customers and keep them engaged," said Paul Ryder, vice pesident of Apps, Games and Services at Amazon. "That's why we’re creating easy-to-integrate APIs for features like leaderboards, achievements and sync. We also introduced In-App Purchasing API in April, allowing developers to offer a seamless 1-Click purchasing experience within their apps and games, and we’re just getting started."

With achievements, GameCircle will allow players to track all earned trophies, treasures, badges, awards and more within each game. Players can receive in-game messages to keep track of achievements as well.

GameCircle leaderboards also offer an in-game view of score comparison information and percentile ranking. With it, players can check standings against top players or competitors.

Syncing abilities also allow a player's in-game progress to be stored in the cloud. With it, users can pick up right where they left off when restoring a deleted game or switching devices.

The features are similar to those offered through Game Center, Apple's own gaming social networking service for iOS devices. First launched with iOS 4 in 2010, Game Center took many of its cues from Microsoft's Xbox Live service, including an integrated friend system, leaderboards, and unlockable achievements.

This month, Apple will extend Game Center beyond iOS and to the Mac with the launch of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. The operating system upgrade will offer cross-platform play between Macs, iPhones and iPads.