Big Fish Games' "Mahjong Towers"  (Source:
Big Fish Games will allow users to jump in and out of various games without making multiple downloads

After some hesitation, Apple has decided to allow a a video game company to offer a game subscription on the iPad.

The video game company is Seattle-based Big Fish Games, which was founded in 2002 and generated $140 million in sales last year. The company had an idea to offer a subscription game service for the iPad that would allow users to jump in and out of all the games without making several downloads.

Apple was initially skeptical of the idea. It wanted to know why a monthly fee was required for games. Paul Thelen, founder of Big Fish Games, said the popularity of the iPad combined with the ease of use of Apple's App Store would attract customers.

After a longer-than-usual approval period, Apple was onboard with the idea. It's the first video game subscription service for the iPad that doesn't require multiple downloads.

Customers will be able to get unlimited access to many games such as "Mahjong Towers" and "Mystery Case Files" from the Big Fish app. The games are streamed to the iPad from Big Fish's data centers, and will require Wi-Fi access at first.

There will a free version of the app that allows 30 minutes of play per day and contains advertisements. For unlimited access, the subscription will start at $4.99 per month, then jump to $6.99 early next year when more titles are added. Apple will receive a commission of 30 percent.

Big Fish Games said that Android is next on the list for the monthly games subscription. It plans to launch an Android version by Q1 2012.

According to Thelen, 75 percent of its gamer audience consists of women over 30-years-old.

Source: Bloomberg

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