Big Fish Games Takes To The Clouds With New Offering
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Sometimes it´s good to be a big fish in a small pond, but Big Fish Games is looking beyond the pond. The company is looking to the cloud with a new service called Big Fish Unlimited, which went live on Tuesday.
The advantage this service offers is that game software need not be installed on hardware, and can be accessed from PCs or even tablets. The content is streamed to a customers´ device from servers in a data center that could be hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
In fact, the service could be for games what Netflix has done for movies and other video content.
At this week´s Casual Connect game conference in Seattle, Will O´Brien, the head fish and general manager of Big Fish Unlimited, showed off the new title Grim Tales: The Bride game. O´Brien noted that as with other cloud-based gaming options this allows players to start up the game quickly on a PC, but be able to log into the sever via a tablet and continue playing.
The future of cloud-based gaming could strike a chord with casual gamers, who likely already have a PC or tablet but aren´t interested in investing in an expensive gaming PC or console system. But should Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo be worried?
And yet Big Fish Games is trying to stand out and be a big fish in a big pond. The 10-year old company has released some 2,500 titles, and most require minimal computing power for the server to run them and less for the customer to play them. The best part for the casual gamer is that there is no software to install.
“What cloud streaming technology does for us is that they have hundreds of games that they can point, click and play within four seconds,” Paul Thelen, Big Fish´s chief executive, told the Wall Street Journal.
Big Fish currently offers its service to gamers via paid and ad-supported options. The former customers can pay $7.99 a month for access to 100 games, with more added every week. The company is reportedly testing around 1,000 of its games for release on Big Fish Unlimited service.
For those who are very casual about gaming, there is the ad-sported option, where players can enter the cloud service with access to around 20 games. During gameplay there will be brief “commercial-like” ads — and now for a word from our sponsors´ type of advertisement.
This latter method could be enough to entice those users to opt for the former. And both could be desirable in international markets, where console penetration isn´t exactly high. It could also solve a problem in lands such as China where piracy of software is so high many companies simply don´t bother releasing commercial titles.
Back in the United States the company is looking to ensure that gamers look to go in search of Big Fish in the living room. Big Fish Games has partnered with Roku Inc., the maker of set-top boxes that deliver the Internet to the TV. The products, which range from around $49 to $99, have become a popular way to deliver connected content — such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and YouTube — to the TV.
Roku will begin streaming content from Big Fish Unlimited´s cloud service in the fourth quarter of this year.
Maybe Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo should be worried.