Bloomberg reports that Apple has opened up a new class of App Store offerings, allowing game publisher Big Fish Games to offer a monthly subscription package that will allow provide users with access to a number of the company's games through a dedicated iPad app.

The setup is similar to Netflix Inc. (NFLX)’s streaming application for the iPad. Subscribers can get unlimited access to games such as “Mystery Case Files” and the “Mahjong Towers” series from inside the Big Fish app.

Games played through the subscription service, which are streamed to a user’s iPad from Big Fish’s data centers, will initially require Wi-Fi access to play.

The standard package from Big Fish Games will launch as a $4.99 monthly subscription, increasing to $6.99 per month early next year as more game titles become available for the app. A free ad-supported option limiting play to 30 minutes per day will also be available.

[Originally Posted on MacRumors]

  • Rusty Moyher

    Seems a lot like OnLive. (Though obviously they are not streaming video.) Are there other subscription-based gaming services? I'm only aware of OnLive.

    This is an interesting new model. I could see Chillingo launching an app like this.

    • Brian Kramer

      The binary game files are saved on your device with BFG's setup. OnLive is streaming video.

      • Rusty Moyher

        Right. The how the games get to you is obviously different, but they are both subscription-based services.

        The limited-play addition is interesting too.

      • Anthony Marsh

        Although the subscription package of games in the OnLive catalogue is completely optional where as this service only offers the "package". Not alike at all.

  • Janelle Brown

    I'm really excited to try this out, especially from a publisher like Big Fish Games who have a lot of content available to make the monthly cost worth it.  I would like to see EA follow suit and do something similar for Pogo

  • James Donnellon

    Wow Im really impressed by this, I am a big Big Fish Games fan and highly enjoy every game they offer and you can not beat their low prices for iOS devices when comparing it to PC/Mac. I think this is a great option wish I had an iPad but hopefully they will continue to pump out the amazing amount of games for iphone and ipod touch.

  • Tony Bowman

    No good can come of this.

  • Jodi Johnson

    I agree - this is a bad idea, and will be abused sooner than later.  As an intro package for Big Fish games, it's sound enough, but companies outside of the AppStore use initial sign-ups and subsequent laziness to cancel as dramatic streams of revenue.  I doubt it will operate too much differently here, and I'm a little disappointed in Apple for this and the way in-app upgrading is cannibalising the free section of the App Store.  Anyway, not to help this sharks, but the way to tackle this?  Offer one full downloadable game free per month within similar subscription services that hit the $6 mark.  Very simple.  That said, I'd rather it wasn't happening at all - as said above, there's the sense that nothing too much of any good will come of this, it will be a kind of inflationary trigger, and I am sure the makers of games like "Angry Birds" are thinking, "What about a subscription service where we charge $3-5 a month for our games, offer 'Extras', and make the buyer think it's good value, then lock them in through their own laziness?"    
    That said, not many companies have the library to offer a subscription service in the first place (thank goodness), but I do wonder if the next step is for subscription agreements between smaller companies to use subscription showcases where they pile their games together into a app that has a arcade-front like the Atari app.  Maybe.  Doesn't sound like great business sense though.

  • James Bond

    Goddammit Apple, why can't you stick to simplicity instead of barraging the appstore with IAP's and crap. I mean simplicity was the beauty of it all.... Sigh.

  • Anonymous

    definitely not for me, despise any monthly subscription plans to anything gaming related.

  • Anonymous

    definitely not for me, despise any monthly subscription plans to anything gaming related.

  • Anonymous

    Oh dear, yet another scam to draw people into shovel ware games promising free games or cheap games only for you to end up spending more then on a home games console. I'm looking at you Smurfs and Modern Combat 3 with it's £69.99 in app purchase!! Can we really not just you know, buy the game?

  • Anonymous

    I don't plan on using this kind of service, I prefer to just buy my games normally. I really hope this does not affect the price of apps causing them to go up and then companies offer the subscription cheaper to make you think your getting the better deal but in the long run your paying much more over time.

    I also hope companies don't remove their single apps/games and just go strictly with this kind of service.


  • Noah

    How much will EA charge per month to play all of IT'S games?!

  • Adams Immersive

    No monthly subscriptions for me! (Well, not for games.) But I’m not sorry to see one more option open up on the iOS platform. If/when it gets used badly, I can only hope that App Store reviews and sites like this help people steer clear of the abusers. (Ditto for any IAP: it’s not bad in principle... it’s bad when it’s bad!)

  • Anonymous

    Good luck with the subscriptions.

  • koyut

    Seems an interesting proposition. I just hope publishers and developers do not abuse the system just like how IAP turned out on most games.

  • John Usher

    I won't be paying a subscription.

  • Geof LeBaron

    I'm not surprised by the subscription idea, I actually think it was inevitable.  But what I'm more concerned with is the part about Wifi access being required to play.  If it's something like a one-time startup/install, then that's fine.  But, I'd have to pass if Wifi's a constant requirement like some PC and even PS3 games.

  • Anonymous

    Guaranteed games included in subscriptions will be a new 'subscript-ium' model. Loaded with speed-up IAP and the same horrid 'wait for 10 days for your fruit to grow' mechanic to keep people waiting for weeks at a time!

  • Mike

    the subscription model, for the most part, is just a scam developers love. They hope you don't remember to cancel it, so the revenue keeps coming in. I've heard PM's cross their fingers on this many times at work. Feature phones were always a cash cow because of this, and now the gates are open for iOS. I do not support it, we'll be seeing a flood of subscription apps that don't need to be, and shouldn't be.

  • Anonymous

    Just to let you guys know, apple has not approved this.
    Plus the Bloomberg article is flawed. All their app is/was a remote desktop app Locked into loading a web with flash games designed for touch control. Game code did not run locally. Nothing really special about this, there are a bunch of apps that already do this.