Report: Apple Shifts Gears on Arcade

Posted on July 1, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Games, iOS, iPadOS, Mac and macOS, Mobile gaming with 23 Comments

With no real hits in its game service collection, Apple is shifting its strategy for the Arcade service in an effort to retain subscribers.

According to a reliable report in Bloomberg, Apple first notified game developers of the shift in April when it canceled some in-development games because they weren’t engaging enough. The cancelations impacted “multiple” game developers, the publication says. And they came at a bad time, since the COVID pandemic was well underway, leading to financial difficulties for some of these small companies.

Apple Arcade launched in September 2019 and it carries a $5 per month fee. But with none of Arcade’s 120 titles rising to the level of “a huge hit,” as Bloomberg puts it, Apple is nervous that early subscribers will simply cancel the service over time.

Apple refuses to say how well the service is doing, but it has recently extended the normal free one-month trial to two months, and that says a lot.

“Apple Arcade has redefined what a gaming service can be, putting unlimited play at the fingertips of subscribers and their families across all their Apple devices,” an Apple statement says. “We are proud to have launched the first-ever mobile game subscription service that now features more than 120 games, many of which are award-winning and widely celebrated for their artistry and gameplay. The vision has always been to grow and evolve the Apple Arcade catalog, and we can’t wait for our users to try the games developers are working on now.”

Bloomberg adds that Apple is spending big to make Arcade a success, too: The firm has set aside tens of millions of dollars this year for new games, and it has spent between $1 million and $5 million each on several individual game titles so far.

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