Apple and gaming might seem like an oxymoron to some (especially to serious gamers), but a new report says the iPhone maker is hoping to change that in a big way. According to Cheddar, Apple is planning to launch a subscription service for games and may partner with third-party developers as a video game publisher.
The report Is light on specifics, but a Netflix-style premium subscription service for games would represent a major move by Apple to expand its gaming cred beyond the App Store. Presumably an Apple-branded gaming service would require an Apple TV, but Apple could also simple charge a flat fee for access to iOS App Store games, cutting out the middle-men for things like in-app purchases and updates.
Cheddar also suggests that Apple is exploring the distribution of mobile games under its own brand. When the iPhone launched, Apple sold a Texas Hold’em game that was free to download, but it hasn’t created a standalone game since then.
According to Cheddar, the new service “would function like Netflix for games, allowing users who pay a subscription fee to access a bundled list of titles.” It’s unclear how or if titles would differ from the current App Store, but presumable subscribers would pay a flat fee for unlimited access to the titles available.
A subscription service for games would be Apple’s first all-out push to have a gaming presence since the original Pippin platform. A multi-media PowerPC-based multimedia platform, the only hardware to speak of was a pair of Bandai consoles that struggled to gain much traction. Steve Jobs killed the project when he returned to the company in 1997.
Cheddar cautions that the concept “is still in the early stages of development, and Apple could ultimately decide to abandon it.”
Why this matters: Apple likes to say it skates to where the puck is going, and subscription services are definitely the way of the future, especially with iPhone sales on the downturn. With a healthy base of iOS users, a gaming service would be a natural move for the company, with music under its belt and a video service on the way.