Amazon announced Friday that it is discontinuing “Underground Actually Free,” a program launched in August 2015 as a means of delivering Android apps to users for no cost.
The program, which offered such popular titles as “Goat Simulator,” “Office Suite Pro 8” and “Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions,” also allowed for free in-app purchases and worked by paying app makers based on the number of minutes customers used each app.
In a GeekWire story in 2015, “Underground Actually Free” was called a long-term program that would be updated over time. But in a blog post on Friday, Amazon said all support for the program would end in 2019.
Current Fire tablet customers can continue to enjoy previously installed Underground apps and access the Underground Actually Free store. Fire tablet access to the Underground store will not extend beyond currently supported devices. Access to the Underground Actually Free store through Amazon’s Appstore for Android devices will end in summer 2017. Android customers will continue to have access to the Amazon Underground app to shop for physical goods and access Prime Video content and can enjoy previously installed Underground Actually Free apps.
Amazon will stop accepting new app and game submissions on May 31. Existing “Underground” developers will continue to get paid for every minute customers spend in “Underground” apps and updates to existing apps can be submitted and published until 2019, the company said.
Amazon said it will continue to expand its Appstore experience, where selection has grown to more than 800,000 apps and games and the footprint has expanded to “a growing portfolio” of Fire tablets, Fire TV, and Android devices.
More details can be found in the blog post and this FAQ update for the program.