Since Apple Arcade was released in 2019, it has launched over +120 mobile titles for $4.99/month. Through this subscription service, users will have access to new games every week and still enjoy various other ones by professional and indie game developers. The company has continued to stick with its vision “to grow and evolve the Apple Arcade catalog,” stated by Apple in a Bloomberg press release, which seemed promising for users to immerse themselves in the world of mobile gaming.
There has, however, been a shift in Apple’s approach on how to improve their subscription service. Apple has canceled its contracts with various game studios as “their upcoming games didn’t have the level of ‘engagement’ Apple is seeking,” stated in the same Bloomberg press release. As many Apple Arcade games compose a start to finish gameplay style, the game can be short-lived on users’ devices. When users clear a game, they end up losing interest, not returning to it and inevitably unsubscribing from the service. Apple is, therefore, redefining Apple Arcade with games that are designed to keep users engaged and maintain user subscriptions for the long-run. An example of what they are looking for are games like Grindstone from Capybara Games (trailer below).
While these contracts may have ended, Apple’s new shift does not plan to completely abandon them. Game studios will still be paid the amount they originally developed for their games and would like to continue game production when they meet Apple’s new engagement criteria. Especially, with the new interactive gameplay with the iOS 14 update, Apple Arcade will strive to release and work with new game titles to maintain its platform. Apple is also providing a two month free trial for its users, which may indicate subscription may be weaker than expected.