Amazon could enter cloud gaming in 2020 Is there any industry that Amazon doesn’t want to get into? After retail, video streaming and music streaming, Amazon now has its sights set on cloud gaming and this story is our main highlight in this week’s subscription roundup. Google has also launched its much-awaited Stadia cloud gaming service this week. And staying with the gaming industry, Nintendo has introduced two new paid subscriptions for its game series ‘Animal Crossing.’ We then move onto music streaming where we have lots of interesting news emerging from Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon and YouTube. Amazon is also looking to boost its subscription revenue through Alexa Skills. We then look at two startups which are making a mark in textbook and delivery subscriptions. And finally, we look at Australian startup Bolt Bikes which has launched a new e-bike subscription platform.

Amazon may challenge Google Stadia with its own cloud gaming service next year

Tech giant Amazon may be planning to get into the increasingly crowded cloud gaming industry next year. Amazon already powers much of the internet with its cloud service, AWS, and it has all the infrastructure and technical know-how to launch a gaming service. It may also integrate the service with its live streaming platform Twitch. Will Amazon be able to pose a worthy challenge to the incumbents?

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Google launches its cloud gaming platform - Google Stadia

Google has launched its much-anticipated cloud gaming platform, Google Stadia. The service has started with 22 games and its Premium version costing $9.99 per month. It is already available in 14 countries, including the UK, the United States and Canada, among others. The launch of Stadia is Google’s biggest push in the subscription industry yet. Incidentally, Google already offers the Play Pass subscription service for gamers on Android, directly competing with Apple Arcade.

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Nintendo introduces two new paid subscriptions for ‘Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’

Gaming giant Nintendo has added two new subscription plans for its game ‘Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’. The new ‘Pocket Camp Club’ subscriptions are similar to the plans offered for its game ‘Mario Kart Tour’. The ‘Animal Crossing’ subscriptions cost $2.99 and $7.99 per month, each opening up a host of different features. Nintendo’s strategy is in stark contrast to Apple Arcade which charges a flat subscription fee for its entire library of games.

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Apple to launch ‘Apple Music for Business’

Apple has launched ‘Apple Music for Business’ to provide music to retail stores. Retail businesses can sign up to Apple Music for Business plans and can play licensed music in their stores with human-curated playlists and custom recommendations aligned with the individual store brand. At a time when most music streaming businesses are looking at the B2C play, Apple Music is following an interesting strategy by looking for opportunities in the B2B segment.

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Spotify introduces personalisation for podcasts

Music streaming giant Spotify has extended its personalisation feature to podcasts as well. In addition to personalised music playlists, Spotify users can now discover new podcasts with a playlist called ‘Your Daily Podcasts’. The playlist will only appear if subscribers have listened to at least four podcasts in the past 90 days. In addition, Spotify has also launched original podcasts for India.

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Amazon launches free music tier with ads

Amazon has launched a free, ad-supported version of its music platform. Earlier, the tier was only available for Amazon Echo users. Now, anyone using the Amazon Music web app or iOS, Android and Fire TV versions in the UK, US, and Germany will be able to access free music. This will offer a new channel for the company to upsell its Prime subscription program to listeners.

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Google introduces prepaid plans for its YouTube subscriptions in India

Google has introduced prepaid plans for YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium services for Indian users. The company launched its subscription programs in India earlier this year. Under the new prepaid plans, users will be able to select a time frame of one month or three months and purchase access to these services. Once this time period expires, YouTube Premium or YouTube Music Premium subscribers can renew the subscription for their selected prepaid plan.

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Amazon wants to boost subscription revenue through Alexa Skills in India

Amazon is looking to introduce a subscription-based model on Alexa Skills, buoyed by its success in India. The company has an enviable library of 30,000 education-based skills, and the company wants to use the increasing demand for education-based content to spin off a new revenue channel.
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Textbook subscription service Perlego raises $9 million in Series A funding

London-based textbook subscription service Perlego has raised $9 million in Series A funding. Perlego is akin to ‘Spotify for textbooks’, enabling subscribers to access textbooks via online apps. The company wants to use the funding to develop the next generation of its ‘smarter learning platform’, including new features to enhance the learning experience, as well as content libraries in non-English languages to enable expansion in other European markets.

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Construction-focused tech startup RenoRun embraces the subscription model

RenoRun has started rolling out a new subscription plan following its $22.5 million Series A round. The Canadian startup is launching a premium delivery service in the form of a monthly subscription that will allow the company to work with and retain customers. RenoRun claims to be the first construction delivery service tech company to offer this type of a tiered payment model.

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Australian startup Bolt Bikes launches subscription-based electric bike platform

Bolt Bikes has launched an e-bike subscription platform focused on gig economy delivery workers in the UK and US. The platform includes the bike, fleet management software, financing and servicing. Subscribers get 24-hour access to the bike along with a charger, phone holder, phone USB port, secure lock and safety induction. Bolt Bikes also offers a free trial for one week.

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Also read: Dell embraces the subscription model
 
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