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Apple Arcade tipped to get another reboot as game developers doubt its future

By Shawn Tan - on 28 Feb 2024, 8:14am

Apple Arcade tipped to get another reboot as game developers doubt its future

There is chatter within the mobile gaming industry about the uncertain future of Apple Arcade.

While there is a steady stream of new titles added to Apple Arcade, is painting a very different and negative picture of the future of Apple's mobile gaming subscription service.

Sources told that they are concerned about the future of Apple Arcade due to the number of cancelled projects and declining developer payouts

When Apple Arcade had a reboot in the spring of 2021, one source claims Apple "cancelled a sh*tload of projects and pissed off a lot of people". The latter is more prevalent in situations where Apple is described as being "famously vindictive" and "spiteful" after it found out that some developers joined Netflix's cloud-streamed gaming service.

As for developer payouts, sources shared that they have been declining for many years. During its 2019 launch, Apple was said to be "very generous" in its upfront payments and per-play payments. However, the tide changed in October 2020 with the amounts paid out described as "pennies".

Adding to the confusion and frustration of game developers is the alleged unwillingness of Apple to share the calculation formula for bonus pool payments

“They have this opaque metric that they call a qualifying session, and bonus pool payments are made based on that,” said one source. “But no-one knows what a qualifying session actually is – it has something to do with if the game was launched, how long the player played for and how often they return. But it’s a black box, really.”

Game developers added that securing Apple's marketing support continues to be a challenge with a 6-week lead time for a single tweet. One developer said that they had to "basically beg for featuring from Apple" and "getting that banner featuring at the top is like squeezing blood from a stone". 

One studio feels that the Apple management is not prioritising mobile games at the same level as music or TV and that there isn't a passion and respect for this genre. Other developers claim the Apple Arcade team is unclear on the overall direction of the service, with one source saying there is a "smell of death" hanging over Apple Arcade.

Other game developers remain hopeful that the situation will improve. Netflix's entry into the space seems to have forced Apple to re-think its Apple Arcade strategy, which might lead to another reboot in the near future.

Apple Arcade currently has over 200 titles, some of which are developed by the world's best creators from indie titles to popular global franchises. The ad-free gaming experience and lack of in-app purchases, along with strong user privacy protections, are touted by Apple as "a fun and safe gaming experience for players of all ages". Based on the above report, the experiences of some game developers are far from being fun and safe. 

Source: via MacRumors

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