Apple Brings Subscription Model To Games In The App Store


"Hidden Expedition: Amazon" by Big Fish Games

Apple is allowing Big Fish Games to incorporate a subscription model for its iPad games in the App Store. According to Bloomberg, Big Fish will be the first game maker in the App Store to allow customers access to all of its titles for $4.99 per month initially.

Games from Big Fish will be streamed to users over Wi-Fi and a customer’s subscription is managed in a dedicated app for the iPad.

“Big Fish Games, a Seattle-based game publisher, won approval from Apple to become the first to offer users access to dozens of titles for $6.99 a month. Until now, games have only been available one at a time, requiring users to download individual applications.

When Apple introduced its subscription feature earlier this year, Paul Thelen, the founder of Big Fish, saw it as an opportunity to offer an “all-you-can-eat” service. That lets players jump in and out of different games without having to make a bunch of downloads. While game-subscription services have a mixed record of success, the popularity of the iPad, along with the easy payment method provided by Apple’s App Store, will make the offering attractive.”

As usual, Apple will collect a 30% cut of the revenue. The subscription from Big Fish will cost $4.99 initially before it is raised to $6.99 next year when more titles are available to play. As of right now, Big Fish offers dozens of titles on the iOS platform.

The new game model from Big Fish will also include a free version that limits gameplay to 30 minutes per day and includes ads.

When Apple first introduced in-app subscriptions, the model was seen as a new way for developers to generate revenue, and publications have heavily implemented subscriptions in Newsstand on iOS 5.

When asked about Apple bringing its subscriprion model to games, the founder of Big Fish said, “They needed to be convinced there’s a reason to charge customers every month.”

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  • Dragonheartsails

    So what happens to the games you already own? I think this is a bad idea all around.

  • Darklord-shiro

    I think this is not a good idea. First you have to subscribe to publications in newsstand, now Big Fish wants money every month for their worthless time-eaters and soon we will have to pay for updates in all apps…

  • Bro Man

    BIG FAIL!!

  • Seth Chapman

    As long as you can still purchase games outright, at the same cost, I don’t see a problem with it. Theoretically, it could be better. As far as I know, this dev makes what, 20-30 games? At $5 a month, compared to the purchase price, you could run through all of those casual games in 3-4 months, easily. Hell, even 12 months. $60 a year vs $210 for buying them all individually. Seems like a good deal.

    The keyword in that article though is “initially”.

  • Njideka Okafor


    I don’t think you’re giving them the credit they deserve. While you may not fancy gaming, The business model benefits both sides. With the small monthly rental, you get to play an unlimited number of games which they make available on the store (especially the new ones).

    While in the eventual, i think they might have other options of letting a user buy an app outright, this model lets you tryout any game for a month.

    Think about it.

  • Njideka Okafor

    If you own it already, then its definitely still yours. This is a own new arrangement.