Rovio Unveils Hatch, a Subscription Service for Mobile Games

Maybe the next big thing from Rovio won’t be a new franchise in the vein of Angry Birds after all.

People can subscribe to almost anything these days, and it’s not uncommon for many of us to pay monthly fees to get our music, movies and even collectibles that way. Rovio thinks mobile games can be delivered in a similar fashion, and it’s ready to prove it with a new spin-off venture called Hatch Entertainment (which must have been named at least partially as a tip of the hat to those birds).

As explained by VentureBeat, Hatch will be an independent company devoted to a “Spotify-like service for mobile video games.” You might note that many popular mobile games don’t cost anything, at least to start. So why would people be willing to pony up for a subscription?

Hatch logo

Here’s what Hatch is bringing to the table:

  • Games are streamed, not downloaded – No need to take up the limited space on your phone or tablet with lots of games, though obviously Hatch will need to make sure its technological infrastructure can deliver.
  • A library of familiar titles – Supposedly the Hatch app will feature more than 100 games from 40 partners. In the trailer below, you can see some of them, including the likes of Monument Valley.
  • Instant multiplayer – It’s not clear at the moment exactly how this works, but VentureBeat suggests that users will have the option to invite someone else into any game on the service. The trailer shows four players going head-to-head in a racing game.
  • Easy sharing – Easy as in one tap, meaning that Rovio sees the mobile games streaming services out there so far as still vulnerable to competition.

It’s telling, too, that discovery and sharing are touted as key components of the Hatch blueprint. It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that all mobile games developers are constantly working on how to get their own players to both spread the word and interact within their games. Having Hatch do part of the work for them in that regard sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

Will it work? When is it coming? Hey, we can only give you partial answers there. Hatch will have a soft launch period on Android only (though the App Store supports subscriptions, so presumably iOS isn’t out of the picture) sometime next year that will help determine pricing and further cement the lineup of games. The app will be free to download, so the idea for now is that gamers can play that way while watching ads or pay the fee to experience Hatch ad-free.

In any case, this is a much more interesting move by Rovio than simply launching another new game. It might not fly, if you can forgive one final Angry Birds pun, but it’s an intriguing concept that the entire industry will be watching closely.

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