- Mar 8, 2018
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.