Bloomberg is reporting that for the first time Apple has agreed to let a game development studio break away from the pay once per-game business model. The company, Big Fish Games, will attempt to peddle their iPad games through a monthly subscription.
The company’s founder, Paul Thelen, says that the service will be similar to that of Netflix. Consumers will pay a monthly fee to play iPad games streamed directly to their device over a wifi connection without having to download each game from the iTunes App Store. Big Fish Games currently have 99 iPad games available for download and it sounds like there may be even more to choose from by the time this new service launches early next year. It appears that the launch will include a single app available for download that users will be able to browse available iPad games – similar to Big Fish Games “Game Finder” app.
Thelen reports that there will be several options for gaming subscriptions starting at $4.99 a month. There will also be an ad-supported and time limited free version.
Big Fish also will offer a free version of its game service that limits play to 30 minutes a day and includes advertising. The subscription will initially cost $4.99 and will increase early next year to $6.99 after more titles are added, Thelen said. Apple collects a 30 percent commission.
It will be interesting to see if there is actually a demand for a streaming game service on the iOS platform. Apple reportedly seemed hesitant to agree to the let the game development studio use the business model that has been previously reserved for digital periodicals. If this trial run is a success, we will likely see a flood of new apps utilizing this model. Hopefully it doesn’t have an effect on the quality of iOS games we have seen to date.