Google Play (formerly Android Market) now allows developers to implement in-app subscriptions in their games, enabling them to offer monthly or annual memberships to players.
This feature expands the options developers have for monetizing their games on the platform. Google notes that total revenues from in-app purchases for its top-grossing programs exceed those for traditional app purchases -- though analysts estimate that
Google Play app sales are behind iOS app revenues.
Starting today, developers can take advantage of Google Play's In-app Billing feature to offer auto-renewing charges for their games. Players who sign up for these subscriptions can visit My Apps in the Play Store app to view their memberships and cancel them.
Subscriptions are supported on Google Play 3.5 and newer versions of the client. Google has also rolled out an HTTP-based publisher API to allow enterprise-scale backend servers to validate or cancel subscriptions. With this, developers can extend subscription benefits beyond their Android games to web properties.
Glu Mobile has already begun releasing updated versions of its Android games with subscriptions, including Frontline Commando
. The free-to-play shooter's subscription option offers custom VIP virtual currency packages.