Apple has shifted the strategy of its Apple Arcade gaming service, canceling contracts for some games in development while seeking other titles that it believes will better retain subscribers, Bloomberg News reports under the headline “Apple Cancels Some Arcade Games in Strategy Shift To Keep Subscribers.”
On calls in mid-April, an Apple Arcade creative producer told some developers that their upcoming games didn’t have the level of “engagement” Apple is seeking, the people said. Apple is increasingly interested in titles that will keep users hooked, so subscribers stay beyond the free trial of the service, according to the people.
Apple Arcade, which launched in September with a one-month free trial, charges $4.99 a month for unlimited access to a wide variety of games, including with some that support hardware controllers. Unlike many mobile games, Arcade titles eschew intrusive ads and don’t push players to pay extra to win or make progress. The approach won praise from video game critics.
“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,” Apple said in a statement. “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.”
Apple added that it has always planned to make changes to its Arcade games lineup based on subscriber feedback.
MacDailyNews Take: Is this really a “strategy shift?” It sounds like basic business to us.
Obviously, the contracts were written with the clause that Apple could cease funding development if they didn’t like the direction of the projects. Of course, Apple wants engagement for a subscription service; they want people to sign up after the free trial period. That’s how it’s supposed to work; always was.
Why would Apple or anyone else continue to put money into productions in which they lack confidence when they could smartly redeploy that capital to the most-promising projects? Duh.
This comes across yet another Gurmanesque non-story with a drummed up angle (“strategy shift”) to make it seem like news, when it’s really just the execution of the existing contract clauses and the type of moves that sound businesses make routinely.