back to article Apple pulls games subs app DAYS after approving it

Days after ushering Big Fish into the iTunes store, opening the way to subscription gaming on the iPad, Apple has yanked out its app without a hint of explanation. The application provided access to a monthly service allowing unlimited access to Big Fish games, and Apple even saw the press release prior launch, the company has …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Verging on

    Being anti-competitive. Especially if they turn around and start their own subscription service.

    1. Ammaross Danan


      Per title. Need I say more?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        What about them? No subscription service there.

    2. Adam T

      Given that Apple don't make games (and they've pulled the only one they did make), I don't see them starting a Games Sub service. Anyway the games weren't AppStore games you get access to, they're streamed from the "cloud". Not to be confused with "the cloud". Colour me...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " perhaps Cupertino has subscription games of its own planned" What nonsense. Apple doesn't even have games on the app store, they've recently removed the only one they had (Texas Hold-Em)

    Big Fish was making a big hoopla around the media about them being the only developer authorised by Apple to sell subscription-based games. Apple never once commented on that publicly. It's very odd that Big Fish would get some sort of exclusive without Apple announcing it.

    Maybe that agreement wasn't that firmly in place after all.

    1. Adam T

      Just makes you wonder, if Big Fish never made all that hoopla about it, they might never have drawn the attention of the higher-ups, and might be stealthily making lots of money today :)

      So much for all PR is good PR!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Apple has yanked out its app without a hint of explanation"

    The drones will do as commanded and like it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Really doubt that was the case, the app store notification usually states a reason why the app was removed (e.g. breaching guideline X or Y)

      That quote is only the journalistic interpretation of Big Fish's words since, in the original Bloomberg article, they were quoted as saying they received a notification and were looking to follow it up with Apple - they never claimed they had no hint of explanation.

      I would love to see the notification Big Fish actually got, instead just speculating over what they actually know. Big Fish isn't exactly a disinterested party in this matter.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          And your claimed "once a week" comes from where exactly?

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        I think I read they don't need to give any reason, they contractually can just delete your app on a whim, or because they don't like your politics, sex, race, or beard. Because they don't have to say.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lodsys at work again?

    Isn't there a big legal play from Lodsys over their in-app payment patents?

    Maybe they struck again over this?

    At this point it's all conjecture, the app was removed hours ago. A bit premature to start dishing out accusations.

  5. g e

    All your research are belong to us

    What's the betting they had to share with crapple to get the app into the store.

    As soon as the condition of being in the store was fulfilled and research tithed across it gets yanked.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Metavisor got to the comment first and beat me to it

    This would have needed an announcement from Apple about the change of policy on the app store as I mentioned in the Blomberg news thread, when the original story was posted on El Reg last night.

  7. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Apple are ownz all your ass!

    Bend over and take it like a man FanBoiz!

    Apples are rather fruity and full of seeds. ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why? If anyone bent over here it would be Big Fish Games, who aren't exactly fanboys - they make games for all platforms.

      Big Fish also aren't children in this business, they even have several patent applications like "Injecting Content into Episodic Video Games". I'm sure they can manage a few bend overs.

      1. alexh2o

        Everyone is getting bent over by Apple here!

        But no worries... Apple will convince you that you want it before hand, they'll have rounded corners so it won't hurt too much, and they'll only operate on one speed setting to limit chafing. If you're gonna be raped... might as well be the Rasputin of the tech world doing it!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple didn't comment as they are on holiday

    Apple corporate took November 21, 22 and 23 off this week for Thanksgiving.


    So we'll hear about the reasons next week.

    Aren't you at the Register are the supposed to be the journalists? I'd expect a bit more.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre
      Paris Hilton

      They are on holiday

      and as we all know, when on holiday big international companies just close shop entirely. Do you reckon they shut the servers down, too?

      Oh wait, the article you point to says "Of course, Retail and some other groups will need to work that week so we can continue to serve our customers,"

      Not the reason then. That's surprising, as it is really un-Apple-like to f*ck over app developper without explanation. Or is it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        As the article linked says it is Corporate that is on holiday, the rest of the company still works as required.

        Obviously Corporate are the ones in a position to make a statement over why the app was removed.

        Why would it be Apple like to fuck over an app developer without explanation? Can you name an app developer who - after complying with the app store guidelines - was fucked over by Apple without explanation?

  9. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "Whatever the reason, it’s the arrogance of Apple that annoys developers. "

    Yep, I wouldn't be caught dead developing for an Apple product. It's too likely I'd go to the trouble and they'd pull my work with no explanation. I won't buy one either.

    @zef, not anticompetitive. iPhone is one (rather mediocre...) phone among many, they are nowhere close to having a monopoly in phones, or even phone markets. It's been well known even before iPhone came out that Apple are control freaks, and for some reason seems to be a surprise every time they pull an app for seemingly no reason. It's no surprise at all.

  10. Nudge

    why would it be like apple to fuck over a dev?

    errrm because they have previous form for fucking over anyone they feel like and other general asshattery?

    here's a fine example:

    I also seem to recall an app dev company that had gone through the whole research, dev, QA etc with apple's involvement only to have apple shitcan them anyway. it was reported here on el reg, and i'd link it except i cant remember the specifics and i'm too lazy to go looking for another link. someone else may recall it though

  11. Nudge

    and there's always this one

    nothing in the T & Cs..... just remove apps according to someone's arbitrary brain fart

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward which case Apple explained to the developer they weren't allowing widgets like Stickies in apps.

      At that point Apple was/is probably considering adding stickies as a system-wide feature (they have had them in on OSX for ages). It would cause confusion in user interface so there's a rational motive for Apple's action. Not really an "arbitrary brain fart".

      This is how the app looked before:

      The developer then removed the stickies, resubmitted the app and the new stickie-less version was approved.

      Then they live happy ever after - as meanwhile their their other apps get enormous exposure and rush to the top of Australia's charts.

  12. Adam T

    Terms & Conditions Review

    I reckon someone at legal realised they need to revise the Developer Terms & Conditions to account for this kind of subscription - Apple have demonstrated plenty times their fanaticism at laying down the terms in macro-detail for magazine publishers.

    My bet: The developer's app will get re-instated, *after* the new Terms are published and they've (we've all) agreed to them.

    Someone mentioned this happened because it's the equivalent of hosting an app store within an app store, but that's not strictly true since the games as I understand it are web-based, and Apple still gets it's cut from the subscription. You can already do this right now, you just can't charge for it.

  13. Miek

    If Apple are such Bastards; why are developers still putting up with their antics?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Miek "If Apple are such Bastards; why are developers still putting up with their antics?"

      'cos they're idiots


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's not being said is that in the few days the app was on the store Big Fish's servers were rammed and they had to close their system to new subscriptons, but still took sign-ups via the app.

    This was the message posted in the app store page: "The exclusive first look of Play Instantly! is available to a limited number of customers. Due to a high level of interest we are currently full, but sign-up within the app and we will notify you via email as soon as we have room. "

    Google cache here:!-by-big-fish/id479716908

    Apple doesn't usually take a light approach to apps just collecting e-mail addresses without giving any functionality, so that's probably why the app was removed in the meantime.

    One of the reviews for the app puts it quite well "Love the concept but hate the tease. Why offer this at all if no one can actually get in? "

    Nice of Big Fish to keep quiet about all this.

  15. Mike 117


    As a game developer, the thought of a subscription service being allowed is terrifying. Right now we compete against the likes of EA, Gameloft etc anyway. Add a single app that costs a user $6.99 and becomes a channel down which is stuffed all-you-can-eat gaming, and us indies will starve. And it's not good for the end user anyway, as these channels become full of the cheapest and most easily slopped together crap anyway. What point is there innovating when your customers are already on the hook eh Big Fish?

    I for one, am relieved, but mistrusting Apple to some extent, I fear that this is just pending a review of licensing terms and conditions or crossing t's dotting i's on the legal/patent front before this gets launched.

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