Apple pulls Big Fish subscription app

App Store's first subs service for games removed after a week on sale

Big Fish Games subscription service has been pulled from the App Store less than a week after it launched, Bloomberg reports.

The app allowed users to stream dozens of Big Fish's games to an iPad for $6.99 a month, and has been available since November 18. However, Big Fish founder Paul Thelen was informed that it had been removed yesterday, and is currently waiting on further details from Apple.

Thelen claims that the app was "officially approved", with Apple also clearing the press release that accompanied the launch. Apple spokesman Tom Meumayr declined to comment.

When the news first broke, Thelen told Bloomberg that the clearance process took "longer than usual."

"They needed to be convinced there's a reason to charge customers every month," he said.

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Latest comments (11)

Glenn Flanagan Creative Director, Arctic Tiger Ltd10 years ago
news first broke?
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Peter Dwyer software engineer, openbet10 years ago
I was very suprised they allowed this. You could most likely buy the dozens of games for the price of a couple of months subscription fees. After that you're stuck paying for something that you probably will find it almost impossible to cancel.

Sounds like an instant PR nightmare to me but, I'll wait to see what the actual reason Apple give for the withdrawal is.
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Joe Schultz Director, ByDesign Games10 years ago
I think you're seeing what you're looking for here (while easily labeling Apple without providing any evidence I might add).

BigFish is essentially making a mini-App Store using apple's own App Store.

Would you decry a restaurant owner for banning a patron from setting up their own sandwich table in the restaurant? No, you would not.
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Show all comments (11)
Paul Gheran Scrum Master 10 years ago
Is this the case? Yesterday it was reported that Apple approved the app and began carrying it on iTunes. This article says, "...pulled(...) after less than a week". Was it really up for 16 hours, or has the timing of the release of the articles not reflected the actual timeline?

And this is definitely news. An app of this type would be a huge move for Big Fish (whose revenues were 140 million last year, so not exactly a small potato) and Apple (because nothing like this has been allowed on the store before). And the price is the same as their website's subscription club service. And the average player on their site buys around 25 games per year, so the subscription price is a great deal for the average Big Fish player.
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Harrison Smith Studying Games and Graphics Programming, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology10 years ago
@Peter, yea unless Bigfish had like 5000 games like openfeint and continually adding more, it would be worth while to have a sub to play them all.

@Joe Schultz, I think Tom is referring to Apple suing basically every single smartphone company around even ones in business with them, trying to get the competition removed off the shelves so they dont have to compete.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 10 years ago
Apple is traditionally rejecting apps where the content is not verifiable by Apple.
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Tamir Ibrahim Programmer, Splash Damage10 years ago
If this is true, then this is very bad form of Apple. To approve an app, after weeks of negotiation, only to then pull it from the store within days with no explanation... how can anybody approve of that sort of practise!

Of course, this could just be some sort of miscommunication. Maybe the story isn't quite accurate, I certainly hope not.
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Tom Keresztes Programmer 10 years ago
Tamir : Apple does not annouce product approvals, the developer did. Besides, i dont think Apple is very picky about subscription, they do movie rentals which is also a time limited offer. Perhaps they need time to build the infrastructure, or they disapprove the idea of apps becoming unusable if you stop paying.

Samsung charges 25 for a replacement Galaxy screen (3dparty)
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Lewis Boadle Art Director & Co-Founder, Fallen Tree Games10 years ago
The 'closed' system, walled garden or 'integrated approach' (as Jobs himself called it), is a fundamental tenet of Apple philosophy, culture and business practice.

It is one of the main reasons for their success, but also for the quality of their products and the consistency of the customer experience.

It's not going to change any time soon, and anything that threatens to derail, dilute or distort it will be crushed or sidelined.

Sorry if I sound like a fan boy, I've just finished Jobs' biography and it's made quite an impact on me!
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James Prendergast Process Specialist 10 years ago
If apple made it available from the 18th of November then just took it down for their own reasons then it is just bad practice, pure and simple. You cannot just rescind your offer because you changed your mind. Either the app is okay or it's not... don't play around with people's lives like this. That's called being a jerk and it's terribly inconsistent.
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Robert Dibley Lead Render Coder, Slightly Mad Studios10 years ago
Perhaps the issue is that whereas other subscription apps download pure content, this would download more apps, and thus there would be a distinct possibility of something being sold via the Big Fish app which would have been refused if it had gone through on it's own merit.
The other subscription services such as films or magazines do not really have so much of an issue with this because it is easier for them to demonstrate that they will not cause a problem for Apple.
Who knows, perhaps a game was already uploaded on the Big Fish app which caused Apple to have a panic attack.
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