NOV. 23, 2011 • For the first time Apple allowed a game publisher to stream its titles on the iPad on a subscription basis… that is until Apple pulled the subscription app the very same week out from under Big Fish Games. The publisher said it had worked with Apple for months to offer users access to its titles for a fee: $4.99 a month. At a later date, subscriptions were increase to $6.99 after more titles arrived. For those who don’t want to pay up front, Seattle-based Big Fish was permitting access to the service for free for up to 30 minutes per day, with advertising. At press time, Apple had made no statement as to why the Big Fish app was pulled, or whether it would return.
Impact: Apple has offered subscription services for other products including streaming services from Netflix. It had taken Big Fish a long time to get Apple to agree to their subscription service and then five days after launch it was pulled with no explanation. Clearly Apple is very reluctant to offer games as a subscription service and for some reason they got cold feet. The main point is that it shows that Apple products are very much a closed platform much like the proprietary game console systems. The difference in Apple’s case is that Apple really does not care a great deal about games, it is only a tiny portion of what makes them successful. This can make it tough for developers because they are at the mercy of a company that has little interest in their product.