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GameTanium service lets Android users stream games to devices

by Phil Hornshaw

Android game developers having trouble finding ways of getting their games in front of more players potentially have a new way of drawing attention: an all-you-can-play subscription service.

It’s called GameTanium by New York-based mobile gaming company Extent, and it allows Android users to pay a monthly fee to get access to all they want to play of 75 different Android games, according to GigaOM. The service is similar to PC streaming service OnLive or Netflix’s video-streaming service, using Extent’s existing online game subscription platform, which it makes available on-demand for companies such as Verizon, T-Mobile and Qwest.

Extent hopes that GameTanium will add new ways for Android users to get hold of new games, with the service’s editors creating curated lists of titles that players might be interested in. That could help with something a lot of developers have complained about in Google’s Android Market, and gives them new ways to market their games to players. Extent also hopes developers will be able to monetize games through the service by gaining customer loyalty and selling in-app content, compensating for what developers might lose in initial sales through the service.

Next step is the carriers

According to GigaOM, Extent is also looking to create game services that cellular carriers can provide to their customers as well. As for GameTanium, it is currently available for download at its website, GameTanium.com/mobile, for smartphones. There is not a compatible version for tablets yet, though. Extent is looking to keep adding games to the GameTanium stable, expecting to bring the service up to more than 200 titles by the end of the year. In addition to looking for more big developers to bring on board with the service, like PopCap and Ubisoft, it’s also hoping to be able to make the system persistent across multiple devices, so users can start playing an a smartphone and finish on another device or a tablet in the future.

GameTanium is an interesting development in the Android sphere, but it’s not without precedent. Extent already runs services similar to it; in PC gaming, streaming service OnLive is proving how powerful and robust such a system can be, and that company will be bringing its streaming service to iPads and Android tablets later this year.

Taking advantage of untapped user base

Like most everything with Android, the user base is there if GameTanium can get in front of some users and gain a following. With a good complement of games, that seems like it could be possible, and many users will likely find just paying five bucks every month for whatever they want to play to be a better option than searching for new things in all the disparate places that apps show up -- the Android Market, the Amazon Appstore, Getjar and other locations.

We’ll have to wait and see just how successful GameTanium might be, but it’s hard not to be optimistic about things that make the Android gaming experience a little easier to handle.