Not too long ago, we reported on Big Fish Games’ planned leap into cloud gaming. Like Netflix, OnLive, or Pandora, said company founder and CEO Paul Thelen, Big Fish was ready to swim quite literally up stream, freeing your PC of clutter and allowing you to pick up your save at the touch of a button. Little else was known. Until now.
Today, the company unveiled an official “sneak peek” of what’s in store for their cloud service (as of yet unnamed) via their website. And as we speculated, simplicity and accessibility are the key focuses. According to Big Fish, the service will launch with “more than 100” of the most iconic games in their catalog, all accessible for a subscription fee.
Accessible how? Via video streaming on PC, Mac, Android tablet, Android smartphone, and web-enabled TV. Log in to the streaming-service-to-be with your login info, and you’ll be able to “ start a game on your tablet at home in the morning, pick up where you left off on your PC at lunchtime, and resume again on a connected TV while sitting on your couch after dinner.” The service will of course require an internet connection throughout play, but the upside is that all content and save files are hosted on the Big Fish server, not taking up space on your hard drive. Think of it like Steam, for Big Fish titles only.
It’s important to note that Big Fish has provided some clarity by way of SEO Coordinator Conor Murphy on the issue of their current download service’s future. After our initial report, many of you were concerned at the potential that there would no longer be a choice to use Big Fish Games as you normally had. At the time, we had phrased the news as Big Fish’s “move” to the cloud, and apologize if that caused any confusion.
Murphy has unilaterally stated however that “nothing is changing with our existing game offerings, including the amount of great content we release.” Both the “New Game Every Day!” offer for PC and Mac, as well as all existing download methods will continue alongside this new - and optional - service.
Of definite note however is the fact that Apple’s hugely popular iOS (including iPad tablets) is missing from the list of available platforms for streaming. On top of a recent removal of Big Fish’s attempted game subscription service from the App Store, this formal exclusion has many speculating that Apple sees the BFG streaming service as a competitor to its own App Store. In truth, I’m more likely to believe the idea that Apple sees a distinct financial disadvantage to allowing BFG to package hundreds of their games at a small fee, rather than allowing iTunes to take its requisite 30% cut on the sale of each individual title. With that said, it’s a shame the company’s obsession with proprietary methods will prevent iPad owners from streaming content, as Android tablets are an ultimately tiny percentage of those who own and use tablet devices.
What do you think? Knowing that the service is optional, are you excited to complement your existing BFG library with streaming content? Or perhaps move entirely away from downloads? And for that matter, does the lack of cooperation with Apple represent a stumbling block to the success of this service?