Apple begins game subscriptions and streaming

Apple begins game subscriptions and streaming

By Rob Crossley

November 23rd 2011 at 3:22PM

Big Fish offering OnLive-like service for $6.99 per month; iPad only

Apple has launched a new iPad games service where users don’t pay for individual games, but instead buy a subscription of a range of titles.

Washington developer Big Fish Games is providing an ‘all-you-can-eat’ service – where subscribers can access dozens of its titles – for $6.99 a month.

Users won’t be able to download the games as part of the service. Apple is allowing Big Fish to stream game data to the user in a manner similar to cloud gaming. The nature of the streaming means that Big Fish can shut off the service as soon as subscriptions end, whereas games would be far more difficult to remotely delete or block if already downloaded.

Yet the streaming means that the iPad will need to be persistently connected to Wi-Fi.

Paul Thelen, founder of Big Fish, told Bloomberg that “this is the first time that the technology has matched the business model”.

He said the service “took longer than usual to be approved by Apple”.

“They needed to be convinced there’s a reason to charge customers every month.”