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Will Apple allow subscription-based gaming on the App Store?

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Big Fish Games claimed it would be the first to offer a monthly subscription model for games on the iPad, and that Apple was on board. Then, Apple removed the app without warning. Will Apple allow game publishers to enjoy the same business model as the magazine companies?

  • Sean Hollister

    Nov 24, 2011

    Sean Hollister

    Apple removes Big Fish Games subscription app, offers no explanation

    Big Fish Games
    Big Fish Games

    Big Fish Games co-founder Paul Thelen seemed pretty excited yesterday, telling Bloomberg how his new app would bring a $6.99 subscription streaming game service to the iPad, the first of its kind on the iOS platform. However, the Play Instantly app went missing shortly after the announcement, and today Thelen says that Apple removed it from the App Store without explanation. It's gone.

    Thelen says that the app had been "officially approved," and he suggested that the press release even crossed Apple's desk, too. Apple's keeping its lips sealed about the matter, but Thelen certainly painted a picture for Bloomberg of two companies working together closely. "It took longer than usual to be approved... they needed to be convinced there's a reason to charge customers every month," the co-founder said yesterday.

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  • T.C. Sottek

    Nov 23, 2011

    T.C. Sottek

    iOS gets $6.99 streaming buffet of Big Fish Games, App Store subscription model a go for playthings

    Big Fish Games
    Big Fish Games

    Bloomberg is reporting that Apple will now allow game subscriptions within the App Store, and Big Fish Games will pave the way with a $4.99 monthly subscription for its titles (which will jump to $6.99 early next year). The service will give users access to a catalog of games through a single dedicated app — interestingly, the app will stream games to the user, similar to how OnLive works, eliminating the need to download individual game apps. Bloomberg says Big Fish will also offer a free version of the service with advertising that limits play to thirty minutes a day. Apple launched subscriptions on the App Store back in February, but this is the first game service to take advantage of the sales model. Paul Thelen, the founder of Big Fish, told Bloomberg that the company also plans on readying an Android version by Q1 2012.

    Neither Apple nor Big Fish have made an official announcement, so we're not sure when the subscription model will become available, or which games will be included. Still, it's a promising development — given the insane number of games available for Apple's devices, broader use of the subscription model may make premium titles more accessible. 

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