Apple Arcade

You’re designing a premium for-pay mobile game because you’re hoping there will be a bigger market for those kind of games with Apple Arcade than on the normal App Store.

You’re kind of making a chicken-and-egg argument here: People are saying that Apple Arcade is for the developers who want to make premium mobile games without in-app purchases, and you’re saying, “But there aren’t more than a handful of those developers, because those games don’t make money on the App Store!” That’s the part that Apple is trying to change.

Switch isn’t a mobile platform?

The way they’re defining it, no. I’m sure they see it as a home console that is also portable, not a true mobile platform.

But then you end up with, “Jack of all gaming devices, master of none.”

You would design it for the Switch, and maybe eventually try to port it to phones. Or maybe not.

So, will the games in this service also be available separately for iOS, or is this the only way to play them?

I checked the website but didn’t find anything definitive either way.

My gut says that the answer is no, based on the fact that you can’t buy individual Netflix shows independent from a subscription.

Agree. This is a positive move from Apple and a self defence one as well. They know as well as anyone that the app store market for games is in trouble. UA costs for F2P games are now so expensive that even big players are struggling to retain players and are only posting high revenues because they are squeezing current payers more than ever. Squeezing more revenue out of a declining user base is never a good moment. That cant last so Mobile needs to change.

Unlike Facebook with social games, Apple maybe taking action before the crash. Which is smart.

I did some napkin math while we’re waiting for real numbers.

Phone addict playing 100 hours
10$ a month, apple keeps 30%
3.5 cents every half hour

That looks horrible at first, but it’s not far off from what similar services offer. It’s probably more than 95% of the mobile apps I’ve used earned from me. I’m uncomfortable with that now that I’ve typed it out.

If there’s enough subscribers low budget games could do very well.

Amazon Underground was of course a very similar pay model. It was a resounding failure.

This type of pay model is a terrible one for developers. It may be fine if you’ve created the next Fortnite or have a huge name already; it’s terrible for everyone else - especially indie developers. I crunched the numbers on Amazon’s similar attempt back in the day, and the payoff was abysmal. I forget the exact details, but in general I would have had to increase my player base by several orders of magnitude (way beyond what is reasonable to expect for an indie game of the type I had) in order to match the revenue generated by ads and premium sales even on Amazon (and sales on Amazon were never good to begin with). I know of at least one developer who did take the jump, and got badly burnt.

It’s also bad for users, because it grants extreme financial incentive for devs to make their games as predatory as possible (that Apple - and Amazon before them - sell this as somehow an improvement over IAPs is just… ugh). There are so, so, so many ways to pad out gameplay time: add seconds to loading screens, saves, unskippable curscenes, stretch out each animation, lower walking speed just a bit. Everything adds up to money -> and everything will end up being deployed by developer desperate to make this work and competing with each others for a limited pool of money. And that’s before you’ve even gotten to all the horrifying psychological tricks that games can deploy to get people addicted. Think IAPs are bad? The tactics deployed here will be even more lucrative, because the game doesn’t even have to work to get you across the threshold of paying for stuff - they just need to get you to spend “free” time in the game.

It’s an “interesting” if slightly puzzling move from Apple, though. Amazon Underground pretty much destroyed the viability of Amazon’s app store since it tanked any incentive for people to actually ever pay for games on the service. The behemoth that is the IOS app store won’t die as fast, of course, but it will be interesting to see what effect it’s going to have on revenue there. I don’t expect it to be positive.

I wonder if Apple wouldn’t consider killing off 95+% of apps as a feature.

If the same revenue came through the app store for 1000 apps versus the bajillion now that is better for them. If a chunk of those remaining apps are first party then it doesn’t even matter if revenue went down if they get a larger chunk.

I think that they figure that people with iOS devices are mostly just going to adapt and still spend similar money versus going somewhere else.

A lot of complaints people do have are about old apps they have purchased no longer being available because a third party developer abandons them and this would help with that.

Well, dammit, if there’s a game that could get me to sign up to this it’s probably this one:

Though the piece says it’s coming to multiple platforms, including the Arcade, which doesn’t seem to match what Apple was saying about exclusivity.

They–roughly paraphrased–said that Apple Arcade titles are mobile exclusives and not part of any other subscription service. So, Revolution could sell this on Steam, Epic Game Store, Xbox Live, PSN Store, retail and so on and still be part of Apple Arcade.

I will just keep an open mind and wait to see what they have to offer. Right now it doesn’t seem spectacular, but we’ll see when it gets closer to launch. :)

I see zero evidence that this would happen. If you removed 95% of the items from your local grocery store, do you think people will just “adapt and still spend similar money” when they go to the store??

I really don’t get where this comment is coming from.

There are over 2 million apps in the Apple Store. If my local grocery store had 2 million product types I think I would still go there if they had 100,000 product types on the shelf.

Numbers reporting is spotty as things are added and removed and stuff, but they have had periods where 500k apps were added in a year. How much of this is clutter? Garbage apps create all kinds of headaches for discoverability, maintenance along with creating endless vectors for various malware.

I mean, I’m sure there is a grey area on what a healthy number would be, but it’s clear that huge swaths of current apps could be culled.

That’s basically Trader Joe’s business model.


Trailer of upcoming Apple Arcade games:

There’s a Chu Chu Rocket game?! I played so much of that on Dreamcast (I think.)