Game Developer

Bloomberg: Apple shifting Apple Arcade strategy, canceling development of some games

Apple is shifting its strategy for Apple Arcade in an effort to retain subscribers, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The report explains that Apple has canceled the contracts for some games still in development as it revamps its approach.

According to the report, an Apple Arcade creative producer told developers in April that their upcoming games didn’t meet Apple’s expectations for “engagement” on the platform. “Apple is increasingly interested in titles that will keep users hooked, so subscribers stay beyond the free trial of the service,” the report says.

Apple has reportedly spent $1 million to $5 million on several titles so far for Apple Arcade, but the company has a specific style in mind going forward:

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.

Apple’s decision to cancel the contracts of games still in development is said to have caused “financial woes” for the developers:

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.

Apple Arcade debuted alongside iOS 13 last fall and it allows users to pay $5 per month for access to a library of games that are ad-free. Users can play the games on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. As part of its efforts to increase usage of the platform, Apple recently started offering users an additional free trial month, doubling the free trial period from one month to two months.

Are you an Apple Arcade user? What do you think of Apple’s apparent shift in strategy? Let us know down in the comments!

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