Vodafone launches Europe-wide All You Can Eat Android monthly gaming service
And it's one that Vodafone is aggressively looking to exploit with the launch of a monthly gaming subscription service on its 360 Android Shop, which is currently embedded on over 20 devices.
It's launching an All You Can Eat service across Europe, which will enable gamers to access a large number of Android games for 5 per month.
Crucially, it's a rental service, so gamers only have access to the titles they've downloaded for as long as they're paying the monthly fee. The rolling subscription can be canceled at any point.
Deals have been struck with many key mobile publishers including Gameloft, THQ Wireless and GameHouse in terms of content. EA Mobile isn't supporting the service as it runs a similar service itself.
At launch however, only Android Java games will be included, although higher quality native Android games could be rolled into the service at a later date.
Revenue will be split with publishers in terms of how many of their games are downloaded and how often they are played. Games will be locked using DRM and Vodafone will track usage on each device.
Great with Google
It's certainly a significant move in terms of kickstarting the Android gaming market and one that will differentiate Vodafone from other operators who are taking a more measured approach to the platform.
Of course, consumers will likely be extremely pleased with the low price and access to a broad catalog of titles, even if most are casual titles. And if it proves a success, other operators will be forced to follow suit.
However, it doesn't come without dangers; notably in terms of monthly bill shock, and the potential to drive down the perceived value of Android games, as well as confusing gamers in terms of the difference between native and Java titles.
The other significant issue is that because of current technical restrictions, once gamers subscribe to the service, they won't be able to buy standalone Android titles via the 360 Android Shop. This is because once subscribed, the shop will only displays games that are available as part of the service.
Users can still buy titles direct from the Android Market however.