The subscription payment model has been enabled in Android apps downloaded through the Google Play app store, opening-up a new potential revenue stream to Android devs.
Google has introduced in-app subscription payments for Android apps. Developers will be able to set their price, as a monthly or annual fee. This joins the standard paid apps model and one-off in-app payments, which have been available to Android devs for more than a year.
Several possible applications for subscription-based payments are obvious - for subscribing to magazine-like publications, or for online games where the cost of keeping the world ticking along merits ongoing fees. The first publisher to sign up for the new payment model seems to be mobile gaming veteran Glu Mobile, which had added it to Frontline Commando.
Glu CEO Niccolo de Masi says the publisher plans to use a consistent currency across all its games, "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. 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."
Google Play product manager Ibrahim Elbouchikhi highlighted the importance of alternative payment methods like this, noting that 23 out of the top 24 highest-grossing apps on Google Play use in-app purchases. The subscription model also has the bonus that its payment auto-renew as standard, meaning publishers will benefit from the forgetfulness of their fans.
Alternative forms of payment like in-app purchases are frequently criticised by mobile gaming experts, seen as influencing game design in a harmful fashion, but when Android users seem so unwilling to simply fork out on apps, maybe it's just what the market needs. What do you think?