Game publisher Big Fish was the first to launch an iCloud gaming subscription app, whereby customers pay a monthly fee ($6.99; UK price probably around £4.99) for unlimited Big Fish gaming, but within a day or so of Apple approving the subscription model app, it was removed from the app store.
The idea was that customers could download the app, Play Instantly, for free, but it would only allow them to play for a limited amount of time each day. Unlimited access could be unlocked once the customer signed up to pay the monthly fee.
There was no need to buy any of the games – the app allowed play of any of Big Fish’s releases. Likewise, you wouldn’t even need to download any games: all data would be stored in the cloud, allowing for easy transfer of activity from one device to another (play a game on your iPad at home, then continue the same save on your iPhone on the bus).
Unfortunately Apple pulled the app within a day or so of release. Apple are somewhat notorious among developers for making it difficult to get apps into the store, but it’s unusual for them to approve an app – particularly in a case like this, where by all accounts the development and approval process involved a close collaboration between Big Fish and Apple – and then remove it so soon.
On the upside, Big Fish is already developing an Android platform version of the app, due for release early next year, so even if Apple users can’t get it by then, Android users will be able to Play Instantly.
We’ll be waiting eagerly for Apple and Big Fish to iron out their differences, because we’re very excited by iCloud gaming, and hope that the Big Fish app will be the first of many.