By Stephen Schenck | November 23, 2011 11:21 AM
Subscription-based apps are nothing new, whether you’re watching movies over Netflix or uploading your documents to a cloud storage backup. One iOS developer is looking to try something new along those lines, at least for the App Store, by offering a monthly subscription granting users unlimited access to its gaming portfolio.
Big Fish Games just launched its Play Instantly! app, the first such game approved by Apple to offer its content via subscription. Users get access to Big Fish’s casual gaming titles for free for up to half an hour a day; those who wish to keep playing beyond that will have to subscribe. Right now that means about $5 a month, but as Big Fish grows the library of titles accessible through Play Instantly!, that will increase to $6.
It’s an intriguing business model, especially for mobile devices. We can see the appeal of having an always-up-to-date collection of quick pick-up-and-play games available at your fingertips, but wonder if users are going to have a hard time justifying the recurring cost, especially considering the free content Big Fish offers.
Right now, Play Instantly! is in a trial release, but it’s already filled-up. Once Big Fish sees how things goes, that limitation should be lifted. For now, the app is only on the iPad, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the same sort of thing make its way to the iPhone, as well. Big Fish says it will be bringing its service to Android devices early next year.