Apple Removes Big Fish Game Subscription Plan From App Store

Just yesterday, Big Fish Games was allowed to sell subscriptions to their gaming service through the App Store. The idea was that one could pay seven dollars a month and get access to the entire Big Fish library.

But I used the past-tense “was” up there because Apple has removed the app from the Store.

Apple Inc. removed Big Fish Games Inc.’s subscription service from its App Store, reversing a move that would have given iPad users access to dozens of video games for a monthly fee.

“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.”

John Gruber is one of a number of writers speculating that the app was approved indadvertedly:

I suspect […] that there was no such plan to allow for subscription games. The app was there earlier today, but I think whoever at Apple approved it did so incorrectly.

I think that this is incorrect, however, as shown in the following few paragraphs in the Bloomberg story.

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’s unlikely that there was a several-week-long miscommunication which was not clarified at any point up until, and including, the press release.