Opinion 4

Could a Netflix for games subscription service reduce Android’s piracy problem?

Netflix Ingress Android

This week’s report that Apple is working on a Netflix for games subscription service got us thinking: wouldn’t that work better on Android?

It’s a well known fact that Android has a serious piracy issue: that’s why we see far more free to play versions of games with an IAP to unlock the rest than we do premium games.

Before the likes of Spotify and Apple Music came along, music was in a similar position. Piracy was so rife that it took a streaming service to sort of save the music industry.

That particular industry is still suffering but in mobile games a service like that could offer a lifeline to indie developers that don’t have the budget to release high profile freemium games.

How would a subscription service like this look?

So how would it work? Well, we’d like to see a single app that includes a bunch of premium games that you can play for a single price.

We don’t want a streaming service – as the internet isn’t quite there yet in most countries – so let us download the games we want to play.

If we’re being really picky, we’d like for all of the games in the app to support controllers, cloud saving, Android TV, and any other external peripherals Android users regularly use.

That would be another advantage of a platform like this: developers would have to ensure their games are compatible with the latest technology.

We reckon about $10 for an all-you-can-eat service would offer good value for money

In terms of finances, we’d expect a subscription service like this to go for around $10 per month, though if it were download based we could see tiers.

Maybe you can download up to three games per month for $5 or get unlimited downloads for $10? That way those that don’t play many games still have an option that suits them.

For developers, we’d want them to get a cut based on how many downloads their games get and time spent playing. That will ensure that the quality titles will reap the most benefits, encouraging developers not to just release something average to make a quick buck.

In fact, we’d hope that a service like this would have a much better vetting process than Google Play does right now. People are paying for a subscription for these games, so there’s more reason than ever to curate the store.

But would it remove piracy altogether?

Ultimately, this wouldn’t solve piracy altogether – there will always be people who just don’t want to pay for anything. But we’d argue that that the issue is bigger than mobile gamers simply not wanting to spend money.

We’re increasingly moving away from single purchases in media consumption, so it’s starting to become a bit unnatural for us to do so.

It’s clear that consumers are far more comfortable paying for a subscription, as it offers far greater value for money and lowers the risk that buying a game has.

Make it happen, Google.




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