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Apple expands subscription service to include games

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With a publisher in place to launch the subscription model, Apple is offering publishers of multiple iOS games the ability to charge a monthly subscription fee to access a specific amount of games. Seattle-based Big Fish Games is the first company to sign up for the service according to a Bloomberg article. The company is developing an iPad application that will eventually charge subscribers $6.99 a month to access dozens of games formatted for the iPad. Big Fish Games is planning to launch the application at an initial subscription price of $4.99 a month and will rise to the $6.99 price point as more games are added. Identical to subscription services within other applications, Apple takes a 30 percent cut of  the monthly fee as a commission. 

big_fish_games-300x300Users will be able to access multiple games after paying the subscription fee rather than paying for each game individually. It’s a tempting option for anyone that wants to try games before making a final purchase. The games will be streamed through the publisher’s servers and require a Wi-Fi connection to play the games. Big Fish Games is also setting up a version of the application that limits players to 30 minutes of game time and delivers advertising to the user. The company currently has more than 30 iOS games available on the App Store and women over the age of 30 make up 75 percent of players.

The approval process takes longer than a typical app approval, likely weighing the amount of games against the subscription price of the application. The publisher is also working on an Android version of the application and company officials are targeting the first quarter of 2012 for launch. The concept of this application is very similar to the OnLive service that streams PC games to players. This allows players without access to the latest gaming hardware to play recently released PC games like Batman: Arkham City and Saints Row: The Third.