Apple is reportedly spending to the tune of to secure new exclusive games for its forthcoming subscription service, dubbed Apple Arcade. Several people involved in the development told The Financial Times that Apple is spending millions on 100 exclusive games to launch on Arcade, with its total budget “hundreds of millions of dollars” (likely to exceed $500 million). This is on top of the $1 billion Apple declared in 2017 to have budgeted for original content for its upcoming video-streaming service – a hefty budget that some analysts believe Apple has already exceeded.
The substantial outlay to developers shows how seriously Apple is taking games as a source of subscription revenues. It also reflects the increasing competition in Silicon Valley for exclusive, top-notch content. This pitches Apple against other games platforms from Google, Tencent, and console makers Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. Aside from securing services business, Arcade could help Apple gain back its edge over Google Play in games.
Many mobile games debut on iPhones to reach out to Apple’s demographic of higher-spending users, as well as promises of prominent placement in the App Store’s marketing. However, today Android’s massive share of the global market also menas that big developers usually launch their titles on both stores simultaneously.
But if we’re talking about premium games with a price tag — the kinds without overt advertising and in-app purchases — Apple’s store holds a strong advantage in both quality and quantity of such applications as compared to Google’s platform.
Games are responsible for almost three-quarters of the App Store’s revenue since it’s evolution. But as much as Apple has helped popularized handheld gaming on iOS, it hasn’t yet pushed Apple TV into a console in living rooms.
Despite fairly strong hardware and promising early games, the set-top box has never realized its true potential as a casual gaming console because Apple used to not care enough about gaming that much at all. Case in point: Apple TV games to this date are not required to support MFi controllers, and the same goes for the titles included in Apple Arcade.
Billed as “a gaming service unlike any other,” Apple Arcade promises to give mobile gaming fans unrestricted access to more than a hundred new and exclusive premium titles designed by some of the most successful iOS game developers. “Paid games are often critically acclaimed and beloved by the people who play them, but competing with free is hard, so even the best of these games have only reached a smaller audience,” Apple said.
The company isn’t just handpicking the titles in the Arcade subscription, but also contributing to the development costs and working closely with creators to bring the games to life. These titles contain no advertising, include no in-app purchases whatsoever and sync your progress and other data between devices through iCloud. Promotional materials suggest that most of the titles included in the subscription will support iOS, tvOS and macOS, allowing players to enjoy them across their iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. Every game is playable offline and provides access to the full experience, including all game features, content and future updates, meaning no additional purchases will be required. Apple says these games will not be available on any other mobile platform or in any other subscription service. New titles will be added to Apple Arcade on a regular basis.
All of the titles in the Arcade will be available standalone on App Store. And therein lies the service’s true value — instead of paying upfront for each title, the subscription lets you in the full experience on the Arcade without any dilemma or risk of regret.
While pricing is still uncertain across the 150 countries it is planning to launch in, we can be sure that many developers will be scrambling to submit their games to Apple for this exclusive chance. The launch of the Arcade is also likely to create a huge push in marketing and hype in the consumer market for Apple as well. For those planning to launch iOS apps, or managing iOS apps (be it game or not), should take hold of the chance to attract new users and market themselves. In Singapore, there are many top iOS app developers who are skilled in their field, so do your due diligence in research and select a top developer that suits your needs and understands the market!