Bloomberg reports that Apple has (rather unexpectedly) agreed to allow a game development company attempt to sell their wares through a monthly subscription plan. The plan will be similar to Netflix – users will pay a monthly fee to play iPad games streamed to their device, without downloading them through the App Store.
Big Fish Games is the company that will be taking this step. Big Fish currently has 99 iPad games available for download, and there should be more to choose from by the time the new service launches later today. The launch will be through a single app that users will use to browse available games.
The company’s founder, Paul Thelen says there will be several options for subscriptions, starting at $4.99 a month. An ad supported and time limited free version will also be available.
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.
The application is designed in such a way that it can easily be modified to work on smartphones or tablets running the Android operating system, as well as Internet-connected televisions, Thelen said. An Android version is expected by the first quarter.
Founded in 2002, Big Fish generated $140 million in sales last year, mostly from personal computer or mobile device games. About 75 percent of its players are women over the age of 30, Thelen said.
This will be an interesting experiment by Big Fish and Apple. It’s hard to tell if the demand will be there for a service such as this. If it’s successful, we can expect a torrent of similar offerings from other development houses.