Subscription-based games hit the App Store [UPDATE: Apple has pulled the app]

Subscriptions have always been a gray area where the App Store is concerned. For a long time Apple wouldn’t allow any application to run on a subscription-based model. However, fairly recently they changed that rule (just in time for NewsStand, as it turns out). So for a few months now, many customers have enjoyed the option to subscribe to a magazine or newspaper, paying a small monthly fee instead of having to buy each issue individually.

Well, now it looks like Apple has taken subscriptions one step further by allowing developers to offer subscription-based games!

According to Bloomberg, a game development company called Big Fish Games just had an application approved that incorporates something they like to call Play Instantly.

Basically the user subscribes to Play Instantly, pays one small monthly fee and has unlimited access to a handful of the company’s games. The service will cost around $5 to start, but probably jump up to around $7 when more game titles are added. There will also be a free, ad-supported version of the service that will limit play to 30-minutes daily. What’s more, these games will be streamed over WiFi, which eliminates the need to download each app individually.

Now I rarely play any game for 30 minutes in a single day, so the free ad-supported version sounds good to me. Also, I’m not too sure how I feel about a game streamed over WiFi. There’s no way it can be as smooth and quick as a downloaded game. Furthermore, a good portion of the places that I play games (trains and cars, for example) don’t have WiFi.

If there’s a game I like, or even a game I think I’ll like, I’d rather pay a dollar or two to actually have it. But maybe that’s just me. What do you guys think of this concept? Let me know in the comments section below or on twitter!


Well it looks like Apple wasn’t as pleased with subscription-based games as I thought. The application featuring the Play Instantly service has been yanked out of the App Store mere hours after going live. Apple claims that using subscriptions for games breaks the rules, but Big Fish Games claims Apple saw the press release detailing the subscription model and still approved the app.

Big Fish Games is currently trying to contact Apple to see exactly what went wrong.

Via: Bloomberg, CNET

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  • Justin Dwyer

    Looks like they are loosening up because they are still trying to compete with Android! Google/Android already allowed this for a very, very long time now!

  • Humzak2001

    Wow, apple stop pulling apps! I had to wait for the gmail app to come back! Now it’s I’m the top 25(or used to be) iMessage me at for anything On android and apple!