Google Play Product Manager Ibrahim Elbouchikhi has just announced that the Play Store will now support subscriptions as another means for developers to earn money. This new model enables app or game developers to build in ways to sell products or services and have Play automatically bill the user at designated intervals. So if someone builds an MMORPG that requires monthly membership, the developer can have Google handle the transactions rather than doing it themselves or building in support through third parties.
Android users, who have previously bought apps and in some cases upgraded their games, can add subscribing to apps to the list of ways that they consume content on Android.
“We’re using Google Play subscriptions to offer consumers a compelling value and a single currency which they can use across Glu’s most popular titles” says Niccolo de Masi, CEO of Glu. “We’re excited to bring these capabilities to our Android users and we believe that Google Play subscriptions will fuel further growth in our business.”
In-app subscriptions opens the door for other content providers. I doubt major companies like Netflix or TIME forgo current payment processing and member management systems, but independent magazines, podcasters, and other media sources might find it useful.
The first app to support subscriptions is Frontline Commando, Glu Mobile’s cover-based shooting game. The game has new VIP Silver and VIP Gold subscription plans for $4.99 to $9.99 per month that unlock more Glu Credit packs used for purchasing upgrades within the game. You’d have to be very dedicated to playing for it to be a value, but it’s interesting to see another model made available.
More games using subscriptions are on the way according to Google. Developers interested in implementing subscriptions into their apps can get more information here.