Rovio's mobile game streaming service Hatch expanded the availability of the beta version of its platform to the United Kingdom and Ireland, the company said Monday. The platform that it describes as "the Netflix" of mobile gaming is now available in over a dozen countries in total but has yet to launch outside of Europe. Alongside its latest expansion, Hatch also struck a partnership with Square Enix Montreal whose portfolio of Android games is now available on the platform. The list of newly supported titles includes the entire GO lineup of diorama-styled puzzlers – Deus Ex GO, Lara Croft GO, and the seminal Hitman GO – as well as Hitman Sniper. All interested consumers in the UK and Ireland are able to give Hatch a try, with its beta being of the public variety and not imposing any limits on the number of possible participants.
To date, Hatch secured partnerships with major video game developers and publishers such as Ubisoft, Bandai Namco, and its own Rovio from which it was spun off in late 2016. Google is also said to be backing the startup in an unspecified capacity, though that claim may be related to the fact that Hatch will be featured as part of Google Play's upcoming Early Access collection set to debut on Friday, January 26th. The beta version of the on-demand mobile gaming platform is available in the form of an Android app which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store by referring to the banner below, so long as you're located in an officially supported country and have an eligible device. The actual hardware requirements for using the service are more lenient than playing games locally which is one of the main selling points of the platform. The other advantage to using Hatch is having access to titles from over 100 developers and publishers which are free of both upfront fees and in-app purchases, with all content being available to users in its entirety. A native gameplay recording solution is also part of the package, as an integrated social network of sorts. In essence, Hatch operates like a more refined and highly targeted version of Amazon's "Underground Actually Free" program which offers premium Android games at no charge, compensating developers and publishers based on the time users spend in their apps and relying on ads and data collection to fund itself. That particular initiative is still live but is planned to be fully discontinued next year, Amazon said last summer.
Hatch is presently monetizing its platform with ads but is also planning to start offering an optional subscription package which would guarantee ad-free experiences and exclusive content for a fixed monthly fee. It's currently unclear whether the extra content promised by the package is meant to come in the form of in-game additions or entirely new titles which will be inaccessible to freemium players, though Hatch is likely to opt for a combination of both. No local downloads are required to play any Hatch-hosted games, whereas the platform's bandwidth demands are said to be much lower than HD video streaming but still vary across Android titles. The service is expected to hit the stable channel later this year.