If you like gaming on your mobile device and don't want to download dozens of apps, Verizon Wireless
will now give you access to 150 selected titles through a single portal.
In a partnership with on-demand gaming provider Exent, Verizon has created GameTanium, a mobile game subscription service for Android smartphones and tablets featuring 100 smartphone games and 50 tablet games for a fee of $5.99 per month per device.
Easier than Surfing App Stores
The games are selected by Exent's editorial board, giving users confidence that the games are both fully compatible with their devices and cool.
"I hate to use the word game changer," said ABI Research wireless analyst Mike Morgan. "But this is a way for carriers to reinsert themselves into the conversation with over-the-top [companies] who deliver services over their network."
Morgan sees the arrangement as a big win for everyone involved: Verizon adds features to its devices to keep them interesting and controls the revenue by adding it to phone bills. The carrier could also see greater data revenue if capped-plan customers exceed their allowance.
Game makers win because it helps popularize their titles. And the consumer gains with access to a "curated" shop rather than having to surf through the tens of thousands of offerings in Google Play.
Morgan said that while serious gamers are generally dedicated to consoles and portable gaming devices, phone and tablets are grabbing an increasing share as people use them to kill time in waiting rooms or during their commute.
"Games are proving to be the most profitable category of application revenues and a key driver of the application ecosystem," he said. "Around 60 percent of users have done some kind of gaming on smartphones at some time."
Asked if on-demand gaming might take a chunk out of game-purchase revenue for developers, Morgan pointed to the example of Netflix promoting older movies.
"A lot of people may not otherwise discover some really good games because they are looking at 57 versions of a pool game or a card game in an application market," said the analyst. "This is going to help improve application discoverability."
In announcing GameTanium, Verizon said the service "takes the guesswork out of finding the best games while offering consumers the convenience of a one-stop gaming destination at a great value." The service includes parental ratings and reviews, and no advertisements.
"Working with Exent has enabled us to immerse customers into the mobile gaming frontier and ultimately bring high-quality gaming options powered by 4G LTE," said Kristi Crum, Verizon Wireless's executive director of marketing, in a statement.
The GameTanium smartphone and tablet apps are available from Verizon Apps for more than 30 Android smartphones and two Android tablets, with an available unlimited three-day trial for free. After the trial you'll see the $5.99 per month on your bill -- along with overages for game-happy users, so unless you have an unlimited plan, keep an eye on your allowance and usage.