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News Apple Cancels Some Arcade Games in Strategy Shift To Keep Subscribers | Bloomberg

Bernkastel

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Apple Inc. 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.
The Cupertino, California-based technology giant scrapped development contracts with multiple game studios earlier this year and informed them of the new approach, according to people familiar with the matter.
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. They asked not to be identified discussing private conversations.
...
On the calls with developers in April, the Apple Arcade representative cited a specific example of the type of game the company wants: Grindstone, an engaging puzzle-action game by Capybara Games that has many levels.
Some developers who had contracts canceled by Apple were suddenly faced with financial woes, compounded by the pandemic, according to the people briefed on what happened. While Apple ended contracts, it still paid studios based on the development milestones they already hit. The company also told developers that it would work with them on future titles that meet the new requirements.
This need to better retain subscribers is the latest challenge for Apple’s services division, which the company is relying on to generate revenue beyond popular hardware such as the iPhone.
 

Fbh

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I think this will be my problem with subscription services in the future.
When the revenue is no longer coming from people buying your games but rather from people staying subscribed for longer periods of time, the type of single player games that I like start making less sense. You need your GaaS, "Live Games", Multiplayer games and all of that crap that keeps people "engaged" for longer.
 

Bernkastel

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I think this will be my problem with subscription services in the future.
When the revenue is no longer coming from people buying your games but rather from people staying subscribed for longer periods of time, the type of single player games that I like start making less sense. You need your GaaS, "Live Games", Multiplayer games and all of that crap that keeps people "engaged" for longer.
They need you to play more games on their service, so subscriptions themselves tend to have more single player games. This is why Apple Arcade games were different from standard pay2win garbage in the store. If you put FF XIV,WoW or Destiny 2 in such a service, many people would only play that one game and you dont want that.
 
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I’m not a subscriber, but the new additions are pretty paltry every month. Unless you’re still digging into the backlog the value proposition isn’t there to stay subscribed.
 

LordOfChaos

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Don't like the sound of that. Instead of becoming Gamepass and shining a light on good gaming experiences, it sounds like this is going down the line of facebook games or typical mobile games that this at first seemed like it was a hope for killing, vying instead for "engagement" in time wasting activities.

Apple controls their API, their OS, they have the best SoCs in the business, it's frustrating because they have all the components of a company that could put out great gaming experiences, but they just don't get gaming even now.
 
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DESTROYA

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Problem is they want you to have a console like experience but they just don’t have enough quality games for the service.
 

Panajev2001a

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They need you to play more games on their service, so subscriptions themselves tend to have more single player games. This is why Apple Arcade games were different from standard pay2win garbage in the store. If you put FF XIV,WoW or Destiny 2 in such a service, many people would only play that one game and you dont want that.

Not really, they just need you to stay subbed. Apple Arcade has no IAP.
 

Fbh

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They need you to play more games on their service, so subscriptions themselves tend to have more single player games. This is why Apple Arcade games were different from standard pay2win garbage in the store. If you put FF XIV,WoW or Destiny 2 in such a service, many people would only play that one game and you dont want that.

Sure that's when you use indies, single player campaigns in your multiplayer games, the occasional lower budget exclusive like Ori or some third party stuff (at least as long as they keep making those games if subscription takes over).

But the big high budget AAA single player game? I don't see it.

It's what's happening to Apple according to that article. They need games that "retain players" and generate more "engagement". The cool 15 hours experience you can finish for "free" with a free trial isn't appealing because the player engagement once finished is low.
Of course in the case of mobile it doesn't necessarily mean they are looking for GaaS or multiplayer stuff. I imagine they'll be looking for more "arcade" games (stuff like Jetpack Joyride but without microtransactions)

Also they could move to a model where subscription is the only way to play the game. It doesn't matter if the player only plays Destiny 2, if he can no longer buy the game as a standalone title he'll stay subscribed.
 
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sn0man

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Apple is continually disappointing for gaming. As a fan of their products, the x86 age of Apple feels squandered. There was a market for creating performance respectable yet Apple-created hardware expressly for PC gamers. Ultimately Apple was only ever there for the performance or intel, not to actively promote or further the existing PC gaming space. All the benefits of x86 gaming on Mac could be summed up by Valve, Blizzard, and a few PC developers trying to find a market and Apple putting out drivers for Bootcamp. (To be fair, external GPUs, controller support, and mouse/keyboard iOS support demonstrate some appreciation for gaming. I personally think it’s too little to move the needle.)

It’s kind of like having a best friend who is naturally introverted go through a phase where they were present at the parties and gatherings with the rest of your friends; but, they never were willing to be more than in the room.

Apple Arcade, and really the Mac are just doing what Apple always does, act like it is 1995 and they are fighting for their life, when in reality they are the 10,000 lb gorilla in the room now and have been for a decade.

A mini tower Mac Pro Junior with even just a replaceable graphics card (they could have just called it a Mac) would have sold well to Apple devotees. Apple embracing Vulcan as a peer or forking Vulcan to build Metal while keeping Vulcan up to date on Mac could have also pushed the API forward.

The writing was on the wall when Apple focused on service revenue as their new segment for growth. This Apple Arcade news just furthers that.
 

Bernkastel

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Sure that's when you use indies, single player campaigns in your multiplayer games, the occasional lower budget exclusive like Ori or some third party stuff (at least as long as they keep making those games if subscription takes over).

But the big high budget AAA single player game? I don't see it.
If you are talking about Game Pass, then its a bit different from Apple Arcade. Game Pass will get Halo Infinite(and that game is big high budget AAA no matter how you put it) and all other upcoming first party projects(including things like Hellblade II and the projects from Playground Games and Obsidian which dont even have a multiplayer mode). Game Pass is actually successful and unlike Apple Arcade, you can buy those games from the Store. Microsofts investments into their studios and games has actually gone up since Phil became an executive at the end of 2016, so I dont understand the fixation with Game Pass decreasing the quality of games. Microsoft adds and removes games from Game Pass all the time without it having an actual consequence unlike Apple Arcade.
 

Fbh

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If you are talking about Game Pass, then its a bit different from Apple Arcade. Game Pass will get Halo Infinite(and that game is big high budget AAA no matter how you put it) and all other upcoming first party projects(including things like Hellblade II and the projects from Playground Games and Obsidian which dont even have a multiplayer mode). Game Pass is actually successful and unlike Apple Arcade, you can buy those games from the Store. Microsofts investments into their studios and games has actually gone up since Phil became an executive at the end of 2016, so I dont understand the fixation with Game Pass decreasing the quality of games. Microsoft adds and removes games from Game Pass all the time without it having an actual consequence unlike Apple Arcade.

Gamepass as it is now, an alternative that coexists with the the traditional business model games have been using forever, is fine. It offers good value for the money and a lot of content.
I'm talking about a hypothetical future where gaming in general has a major shift towards subscription services, like it happened to TV and music. Also I don't think such a future would necessarily lower the "quality" of games but I think it would push their design into a direction which I don't like.

Also Halo is a multiplayer focused game and there's been rumors about Infinite following a "live serivce" approach, Obsidian has yet to do anything under Microsoft except for that one lower scale multiplayer game, the Playgrounds game has yet to be revealed so you don't know if it will have a multiplayer component, the info about the new IP from rare is still scarce but the only successful thing they've made with Microsoft was a multiplayer game and their new Ip wants to "give you memorable, engaging and meaningful experiences for players everywhere to share ".

Hellblade 2 is about the only AAA purely single player game they have actually announced and shown so far(as far as I know ) .

I'm not saying that's a bad approach, it's just one I don't like. I also don't think they'll never make single player games, I just think the more popular subscription services become, the lest incentive devs and publishers have to release AAA single player games.
 

diffusionx

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Back when the App Store launched and after iPad came out, it was possible to get really good, meaty games full of content for $5-$10. But not long after that the market evolved to the FTP hellscape it is today. Apple Arcade was supposed to alleviate that but now it sounds like Apple is trying to rebuild FTP-type games but with them keeping more of the income.

We might, in the middle of next generation, look at this era of GamePass, where we basically get endless amounts of AAA games for virtually zero cost, as a sort of golden age. It would not surprise me to see XSX GP full of endless GAAS type shit.
 
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