Apple has been embracing subscription-based iOS applications for some time, such as those that offer magazines and newspapers, but the same model did not appear for iOS games until earlier this week, when the Cupertino company approved a title from Big Fish Games that offered gamers the opportunity to pay a monthly fee of $4.99 to access the companies entire catalog through one app.
When the title hit the App Store, it was reported that Apple had begun accepting subscription-based games for iOS, and that the new release from Big Fish could be the first of many games to offer a similar service. However, Apple has quickly put a stop to those dreams after it pulled Big Fish’s title from the App Store.
Bloomberg reports that shortly after Big Fish issued a press release announcing the title yesterday, Apple removed the app from the App Store without providing the company with any explanation:
[Big Fish Games founder Paul] Thelen said he was surprised by the move because Big Fish had worked with Apple for several weeks to ensure that it met the requirements for recurring monthly charges made through the App Store, a method most commonly used by magazines and newspaper publishers.
“It was officially approved,” Thelen said. Apple had even seen the app’s press release before it went out earlier today, he said.
Apple has declined to offer any comment on why the game was removed from the App Store, despite requests from both Bloomberg and Big Fish Games, but it is believed that the company may not have been accepting of subscription-based games after all.
What’s most interesting about all this, is that Big Fish claims to have worked with Apple for several weeks to ensure their game met the company’s strict requirements before it was approved for the App Store.
While this is bad news for Big Fish Games, a number of iOS gamers are reporting that they are pleased with Apple’s decision to remove the title. Many argue that the subscription model doesn’t really work for games, and that no one wants to pay $4.99 per month for iOS games that often cost half that to buy outright.
What do you think of subscription-based games? Would they work in the App Store, or would you prefer to just buy the game outright?
UPDATE: As noted by our very helpful commenters, Apple took a week off for Thanksgiving, which is likely to be the reason why Big Fish Games is yet to get a response to its App Store ban.