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Apple breaks no-subscription-games rule for Disney's 'Club Penguin'

by Mike Rougeau

December 13 2013

Disney's "social network for kids" Club Penguin can now charge subscription fees of up to $7.95 per month.

Apple has long forbidden App Store game makers from charging users subscription fees, instead allowing only paid-up-front games or free-to-play games with individual in-app purchases. If one company was going to get past that restriction, though, of course it was Disney.

Club Penguin is an MMO—like World of Warcraft—for kids ages 8 to 12. And like World of Warcraft, it charges uses a subscription fee to play on PC. Now the same applies to the iPad version.

Club Penguin's creators claim it's not really a game at all, but a social network disguised as a game. That may be part of how they got around Apple's restrictions, as non-game iOS store apps are allowed to charge subscription fees.

The not-game (it's a game, seriously) can launch on iPad now because the iPad version is based on a new internal client called CPNext that makes the Adobe Flash game work natively on mobile, the developers said. Club Penguin subscriptions cost $7.95 per month, with discounts for three- and six-month memberships. 220 million players have registered so far.

Will other iOS game companies be allowed to follow suit and begin charging for subscriptions? Only Apple knows for sure. (Via: All Things D)

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