(Pocket-lint) - As part of its 5G network launch on Wednesday 3 July, UK provider Vodafone revealed that it will offer its customers access to cloud gaming platform Hatch and, specifically, complimentary Hatch Premium subscriptions.
But what is Hatch? What devices does it work on? And, is it only available to Vodafone customers in the UK?
We answer these questions and more below.
What is Hatch?
Hatch is a cloud gaming service run by Angry Birds creator Rovio. It works in a similar way to PlayStation Now, Google Stadia and Microsoft's Project xCloud in that you don't download games to your device - they are streamed over an internet connection instead.
That means, the Hatch app works as a portal to access more than 100 mobile games, which launch automatically as long as you have a decent Wi-Fi or mobile data connection. Video of the gameplay is streamed to your phone, tablet, Android TV or set-top-box while control codes are sent in the opposite direction.
Remote Hatch servers host the games and the games library can change and be updated regularly. It is a subscription service so you don't have to buy any games or in-app purchases separately. All the content is there for you to access immediately.
Where is it available?
Hatch is available in the US, Japan, Korea and several European countries. To coincide with the Vodafone announcement, the full service has also gone live in the UK too (it was available from the start of 2018 in beta form only).
What devices will run Hatch?
At present, Hatch is only available on Android - other platforms are planned for the future.
Therefore, the Hatch service will work on any Android mobile phone running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above, as long as they have more than 1GB of RAM.
In addition, all 5G phones will run Hatch (as the available handsets all run Android). Samsung also entered into a partnership to offer Hatch on its Galaxy S10 5G phone from launch in May 2019.
And televisions with Android TV, plus set-top-boxes such as the Nvidia Shield TV, will also work with Hatch, as long as they also have Android 6.0 or above installed. What's more, if you do play it on a TV you can use your phone as a controller.
How much does it cost?
Access to the basic Hatch service is free. For that, you get to play 20 curated games, can interact with leaderboards and competitions, and play on any supported mobile device.
A Hatch Premium subscription costs £6.49 per month (payable through a recurring in-app purchase). For that, you get the same 20 games, leaderboards and mobile access, plus more than an additional 100 premium games to play, the ability to play on a TV through an Android TV set or STB, a Hatch Kids section, Hatch Originals and exclusive games, and no adverts.
New subscribers can get Hatch Premium for 14 days for free as part of a trial period. You do not need to be a Vodafone subscriber to sign up.
Vodafone UK customers get three months of complimentary Hatch Premium access as part of the company's 5G launch celebrations. After that time, you will be charged £6.99 per month on your Vodafone bill directly.
Sprint signed a similar partnership with Hatch during the launch of its 5G service in the US earlier this year.
Will Hatch impact my mobile data limits?
As with all streaming services, Hatch will use data as you play. The company states that, while it requires less data to run in comparison to a HD video service, like Netflix, it will still use around 2.5Mbps. That means it will use up more than 1GB of your data plan for an hour's worth of play (around 562MB every 30 minutes).
If you are worried about caning your data plan, you are advised to play over Wi-Fi instead of a mobile connection.
Where can I get Hatch?
You can download Hatch from Google Play now.