Apple pulls Big Fish Games’ iPad subscription app from the App Store

For those of you looking forward to paying the monthly fee of $6.99 for access to dozens of Big Fish games on the iPad, it appears you’ll have to wait a little longer, perhaps even indefinitely. Yesterday we told you about Big Fish’s monthly subscription plan, but a follow up article on Bloomberg has revealed that Apple has subsequently pulled the subscription app from the App Store:

“We were notified that the app was removed,” said Paul Thelen, founder of Big Fish, a game publisher in Seattle. The app had been available since Nov. 18, he said. “We’re trying to follow up with Apple to try to figure out what happened.”

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.

It wouldn’t be the first time Apple’s pulled an app after approving it, though it is rather baffling in this case as Big Fish had worked closely with Apple to ensure everything was in order. And since Apple has not commented, we don’t know for certain if the app simply needs to be tweaked and resubmitted, or worse, they’ve had a change of heart and iOS Game Subscriptions will no longer be part of the App Store equation.

Apple to allow monthly game subscriptions, starting with Big Fish’s iPad games

Apple will soon be adding iOS Gaming to its subscriptions model on the App Store. Big Fish, known for their popular hidden object games (among other genres) on the iPhone and iPad, will be the first publisher to be offering a monthly subscription to their iPad games.

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’scApp Store, will make the offering attractive, Thelen said.

Dozens of Big Fish games (ie Mystery Case Files and Mahjong Towers Touch) will be offered through a single app for a monthly fee of $6.99, though the catch is that the games will require WiFi access, as they’re streamed to the iPad, rather than downloaded in their entirety. The subscription will initially cost $4.99, and will increase to the $6.99 price point early next year after more titles have been added. As well, a free version of the service will be available, one that allows 30 minutes of play each day and will include ads. And like the newspaper and magazine subscription models, Apple will be taking a 30% cut every month. Needless to say, iOS developers and publishers – both big and small – will be keeping a close eye on how popular this will be among iOS gamers.

[Bloomberg via Gizmodo]