One of the hallmarks of 2017 will be the true arrival of gaming subscription services. We've seen the launch of Xbox Game Pass, Humble Monthly's expansion into the Humble Trove, and PlayStation Now adding PlayStation 4 titles to its library. We've even seen a VR specific service for owners of the HTC Vive. Now, a new contender emerges with eyes on helping indie games find an audience in an expanding and competitive marketplace. Jump is a subscription service launching later this summer that will allow players to stream more than 60 curated indie games at launch. Titles ranging from A Wizard's Lizard to Teslagrad will be on offer to start, with promises to add 10-12 new games every month afterward.
In an interview with Gamasutra, company head Anthony Palma went through more details on his vision for the platform. Games will not be downloadable on Jump, but they also won't purely be streaming either. As he explained it to Gamasutra, the system "relies on native web builds of games that can be quickly downloaded via the proprietary app and played in chunks." Jump will be helping to fund developers in porting their games over to the platform, and money will be distributed to developers based on how long users played the game in any given month. Early Access games will be a small part of the platform, and everything will be highly curated. As for games with DLC, Anthony stated that games will always be content complete on Jump, and developers are free to provide DLC content for their Jump builds. For players, there will be no microtransactions or extra purchases beyond the $10 a month subscription.
I had the chance to speak with Anthony myself, and I took the chance to delve deeper and find out a bit more about Jump's future plans. On the topic of what kind of games you can expect on the service, he told us that the process of acquiring games for launch is very much in progress, but the beta "contains a couple great indie darlings like The Bridge and Teslagrad, which are the types of quality games we're pursuing." As for the future, that's a bit more up in the air. "Jump's business model will work for any type of game - indie, AAA, retro, VR - but at launch, we're focusing on indies as they are in the direst need of support in today's premium game climate."
Since this is a Netflix-type service, there's always the possibility of games being removed from the service over time, but Anthony hopes that is not the case. "Our contracts are open ended with a 12-month minimum, so we let developers stay up as long as they want. Since most Jump games are towards the end of their premium life cycle for sales, we hope they'll stay indefinitely. We don't plan to ever rotate content off ourselves." Of course, gamers usually don't just have one device, so I asked how flexible Jump would be. When asked about save games, he stated that they would "work across different devices if you play on the Jump app, but you won't take your save data from Jump to Steam since they're different platforms."
In the long term, a subscription platform needs content you can't get anywhere else in order to stand out in the marketplace, and there are plans for that as well, although nothing specific. The one exclusive game at launch will be Stunt Runner, which was developed and then left unreleased due to market problems that eventually planted the seed that grew into Jump. As for integrating with services like Twitch, Anthony stated that Jump was "looking into lots of social and 3rd party integrations to build a strong, active community around Jump. We've already started these conversations - just figuring out how to best tie things into our user experience."
I thank Anthony for taking the time out of his day to answer our questions. We'll have more about Jump in the months ahead, and users can download the open beta client on Jump's website to try streaming a handful of titles.