Amazon and Devpost today announced a new developer contest called Alexa Skills Challenge: Kids. A previous Devpost challenge for Alexa skills carried $40,000 in prize money with the top prize earning $5,000. For the new challenge, the winner will receive $25,000. Twenty finalists will each earn $5,000 and all eligible participants will be given an Amazon Echo Dot. There are also other categories such as:
- Kids Favorite (based on voting)
- Best Skill by a High School Student
- Best Skill by a University Student
- Best Educational Skill
- Best Skill Designed for Echo Show
Each winner in these categories will receive $5,000 and can earn up to $10,000 if they are also a finalist. All participating developers must submit their skills by January 11, 2018, but can launch them sooner if they are ready.
Amazon Keeps Pressing Alexa Forward
Voicebot readers will recognize that Amazon recently announced that Alexa skills made for children became eligible for certification in September. The announcement was made along with new skills from Sesame Street and Sponge Bob. While these names are high profile, the prohibition of Alexa skills aimed at children before September means that very few of the 23,00 existing skills are designed for kids. This contest will no doubt become a catalyst for developers to fill Alexa skill store with a long list of child-friendly skills.
It is not surprising to see this now for two reasons. First, Christmas is approaching and millions of households will be unboxing their first Amazon Alexa-enabled device in just two months. Doing this now means that there is a chance a number of the contest participants will launch their skills before the Holiday providing many more options for families to entertain children through Alexa. Second, Google Assistant just yesterday announced its Family Link program supporting child-friendly voice apps along with 50 games for children. Amazon and Google are in fierce battle for both voice assistant market share and mindshare. Amazon is simply raising the stakes. Google has also run its own contests. Earlier this year Google announced a program with at $10,000 top prize and several $5,000 winner categories.
Do it for the Kids
This is going to be a popular contest considering there will be at least 20 skill developers that take home $5,000 in prize money. Amazon’s current developer rewards programs pay out at most $5,000 per month for the top ranked skills in each category with most skills earning nothing or a few hundred dollars. This will be a powerful incentive for developers that have long complained about lack of monetization opportunities. After the contest, winners may then be able to take advantage of Amazon’s pending monetization options for Alexa skills. Voicebot was first to report about this program that began yesterday with Sony’s Jeopardy! skill. Rewards, contests, subscriptions. There are suddenly several ways to earn income as an Amazon Alexa developer. The bigger question is whether the consumers are ready to start paying for skills and whether any of these models will prove a sustainable source of developer revenue.
Devpost is a developer community website that is administering the program. You can find out more details about the Alexa Skills Challenge: Kids here. Let the “kids” games begin. Start coding.