Apple pulls gaming subscription app

Well, that didn't take long: just one week after approving Big Fish Games' subscription-based app, Apple has summarily removed it from the App Store - pouring cold water over other publishers' hopes of launching subscription gaming apps of their own.

Big Fish Games was pleased as punch to be the first company to go live with a subscription-based gaming app, via which it charged $6.99 a month for unlimited access to its iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad games.

It was a big move for Apple: although the company offers subscription systems for other content, including newspapers and magazines, it has not previously allowed games publishers to make use of the same mechanism.

Sadly, Big Fish Games' joy was shortlived: just one week after the app went live and a mere day after a press release boasting of its accomplishment was sent out, the app has disappeared from the App Store - although Apple isn't saying why.

"We were notified that the app was removed," company founder Paul Thelen explains in an interview with Bloomberg. "We're trying to follow up with Apple to try to figure out what happened."

Thelen claims that Apple had given full approval for the app to use a subscription model prior to its inclusion in the App Store, having worked with the company for several weeks to ensure that no rules were broken, and that the company had even been shown the press release before Big Fish Games made the announcement.

Apple, for its part, is refusing to comment on the move - but it certainly looks like it's changing its mind on the whole all-you-can-eat game subscription model.