Big Fish Launches Streaming Game Service, Partners With Roku

Big Fish Games officially announced its streaming game service this morning at Casual Connect, an annual games conference in Seattle.

While some of the details about the service had been announced earlier, it was not clear when it would launch or how much it would cost. Big Fish said today that the service, which will allow consumers to play games across a variety of devices — including phones, tablets, PCs, computers and TVs — will be called Big Fish Unlimited and that it went live this morning.

Subscriptions will cost $7.99 a month for unlimited access to more than 100 games. Or an ad-supported model will provide players access to 20 games for free. Big Fish also announced onstage that the service will go live on Roku, the streaming TV service, in the fourth quarter.

Big Fish’s VP and general manager of cloud gaming, Will O’Brien, demonstrated onstage how a player’s game progress can be saved in the cloud, allowing users to pause a game on the PC and then pick up exactly where they left off on a tablet.

The service represents a big switch from the company’s current model, which requires users to download large files to their PC or mobile devices for a fee.

During the keynote, CEO Paul Thelen said while there’s a lot of attention on social games, the market for paid games in such casual genres as hidden objects and strategy games is really strong. According to AppAnnie, he said Big Fish Games is the fifth largest publisher on the iPad, one notch above Zynga, and that it aspires to be No. 1, a spot currently held by Electronic Arts.

“Premium casual games is a good business to be in,” he said. “Let me pause and let that sink in for awhile.”

The launch occurs today on PC and mobile devices, including Android devices. The one big notable exception is the lack of iPad capability.

In November, Apple suddenly removed Big Fish’s subscription service from the App Store after it had been live for a couple of weeks.

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