Subscription-Based Game Service Comes to the iPad

Casual game distribution company Big Fish Games has just announce the release of a new type of gaming experience for mobile devices- subscription-based game play in the cloud. That’s right, for a monthly fee, members will be able to play dozens of premium Big Fish Games titles one multiple devices through their new Play Instantly! app. Is this the new face of mobile gaming?

Subscription-based games exist for iOS, Order and Chaos Online for example, but not like this. Big Fish Games is introducing a Game Fly style service… no, it’s even better than that. Play Instantly! is like giving the door man at an arcade five bucks in exchange for unlimited game play on all the games in the arcade for a month. Yes, thank you, I’ll be sleeping under the Foosball table in January.

Once invited to become a member, users will have access to a multitude of games in the catalogue, which currently is a few dozen, with new games rolling out each week. The service is free for 30 minutes each day, but a $4.99 subscription fee will grant you complete access to the entire catalogue and full-screen game play for as long as your heart desires. Games are saved “in the cloud” so they can be picked up where left off from any device.

Currently, Play Instantly! is in invite-only mode. You can download the app and register your email, but there is no access to the service until Big Fish Games invites you. Memories of Google Plus’ elitist invite-only party have come flooding back. I hate being excluded. According to the summary in the App Store, the company is restricting access due to a high level of interest.

Subscription-based game service for mobile devices is a brilliant idea. There are a lot of big game distributors, like Pogo Games and Shockwave, that could offer this type of service. Plus, pre-established app developers like Gameloft and Chillingo have a large enough library to make this kind of service viable.

Personally, I easily spend way more than $4.99 per month on App Store games, so paying a subscription price for access to a company’s entire catalogue is a sound investment for me. I look forward to seeing more services like this. Who knows, maybe iOS 6 will include iArcade where users can browse subscription-based game apps.

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About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik