Apple game subscription service reportedly in early stages of development

Posted:
in iOS edited January 28
A rumor suggests Apple is in the early planning stages of creating a gaming subscription service, one that would provide access to a selection of titles for a monthly fee, in what could be a bid to further expand its growing Services revenue.

Fortnite on the iPhone XR
Fortnite on the iPhone XR


Gaming is a major contributor of revenue to the App Store, with billions spent on games and in-app purchases by millions of users. Even so, it is suggested Apple may be looking for other ways to boost its game-related revenue, by encouraging ongoing monthly payments.

Five sources of Cheddar claim Apple is working on some sort of game subscription service, and started to enter discussions with game developers late in 2018 about such an opportunity. As it is early in its planning stages, the project can potentially be abandoned before Apple applies significant resources to the effort.

It is unclear exactly how the service would work, if it would include in-app purchase bonuses, and the kind of games it would offer.

Two sources suggest Apple is also examining the possibility of working with developers directly as a publisher, a move which could allow Apple to earn a bigger cut of app purchase revenue above its existing 30 percent fee. A move like this would also make it easier for Apple to form a subscription-style offering.

While a subscription would offer some merit, if customers wanted to play some from a large roster of paid-for titles, the enterprise would be seemingly the opposite of the current App Store revenue sources. Most revenue stems from free-to-play titles that rely on in-app purchases, such as the popular Fortnite which reached $100 million in in-app purchases within 90 days of shipping on iOS.

A games subscription could potentially be a good fit alongside other content subscriptions from the company. Apple already offers Apple Music as a monthly subscription, and has been tipped to create an all-in-one subscription covering Apple Music, News, and its original video content project.

Apple is seemingly not the first to consider offering mobile gaming as a subscription. In October, reports circulated about a possible "Play Pass" subscription for the Google Play Store that would permit Android users access to games and other apps for a monthly charge.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,142member
    Steamed Apple?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    MacPro said:
    Steamed Apple?
    That’s what it sounds like.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    I’m not saying subscriptions don’t have benefits, but for software it is depressing. Most software that has moved to subscription did so to get more money from customers, not to provide them better service. So the same software costs more money in the long term. If developers offered a subscription and a reasonable one time purchase, like some do, that would make things a lot better.

    With that said, a game subscription does make a lot more consumer sense than most app subscriptions.
    StrangeDaysdavgregwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Get ready for more and more subscription services:
    Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) 1/28/19, 10:17 AM Apple's December quarter iPhone sales are looking to be off about ~16% down from 77m to about 65/66 million. My talks with investors have moved from the bad quarter to how bad the year may be for iPhone sales. Services/Wearables still where growth hope comes from.


    patchythepirate
  • Reply 5 of 13
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,027member
    I still strongly feel that Apple should splash some of that original TV money at also funding original, exclusive games that really show the performance of their chips. 

    The ATV 4K would have made for a nifty microconsole with a controller and actively cooled A10X, if they took it seriously. 
    minicoffeepatchythepiratelolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    georgie01 said:
    I’m not saying subscriptions don’t have benefits, but for software it is depressing. Most software that has moved to subscription did so to get more money from customers, not to provide them better service. So the same software costs more money in the long term. If developers offered a subscription and a reasonable one time purchase, like some do, that would make things a lot better.

    With that said, a game subscription does make a lot more consumer sense than most app subscriptions.
    I agree completely. Rental software is a flat out rip off. I just don't do it. Honestly I've dropped apps when they went to subscription. Mind you I have more flexibility with my computer work than some so I have that option. But that said, I just say no to rental software.
    entropysSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 622unconfirmed, member

    For what? So I can play some cheap iPhone games for free?


    Unless Apple starts developing its own games and getting 3rd parties on board to bring console games to the next Apple TV, then who cares if I can play the paid version of Angry Birds and other indie titles?

    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,157member

    For what? So I can play some cheap iPhone games for free?


    Unless Apple starts developing its own games and getting 3rd parties on board to bring console games to the next Apple TV, then who cares if I can play the paid version of Angry Birds and other indie titles?

    Older console games could be possible on the ATV4. Newer console games are pretty much impossible on the ATV4. It's not nearly powerful enough. I wish Apple could work out a deal with Nintendo to bring some older classics to the Apple TV. 
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,617member
    Considering the lame wasteland that is the Apple TV gaming scene, I am not sure which nickel and diming idiot dreamt this up. It would be better to have steam accounts to encourage gamer uptake.  Oh yeah, Apple wants the revenue.

    A games subscription could potentially be a good fit alongside other content subscriptions from the company. Apple already offers Apple Music as a monthly subscription, and has been tipped to create an all-in-one subscription covering Apple Music, News, and its original video content project. 

    I realise that as a generalisation Apple customers have to be well heeled to be able to be in the ecosystem, but the number of these subscriptions is really starting to leave a bad, bad taste in my mouth. It’s killing the beautiful simplicity that was the magic of Apple. There does need to be a reasonably priced universal subscription, or people won’t access these services, or worse, stop buying Apple hardware.  In fact, here’s an idea, include a two year subscription with every iPhone or Mac purchase. After two years start paying the subscription, or buy a new machine. Discounts if you don’t want or need the sub.

    Edit: I can see it now, iPhones, imacs and the need for a subscription to use them properly.  In fact, maybe the end game is the hardware is subscription too, and hide the ever higher cost of the hardware and services. Like some blood sucking tick that eventually kills its host.  
    edited January 28 Japhey
  • Reply 10 of 13
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 279member
    I am long on the record as hating subscription software and software as a service.

    It seems everyone wants to scratch your pocket monthly and they will not stop until they have ruined the promise of computing and the internet.
    Japhey
  • Reply 11 of 13
    DAalseth said:
    georgie01 said:
    I’m not saying subscriptions don’t have benefits, but for software it is depressing. Most software that has moved to subscription did so to get more money from customers, not to provide them better service. So the same software costs more money in the long term. If developers offered a subscription and a reasonable one time purchase, like some do, that would make things a lot better.

    With that said, a game subscription does make a lot more consumer sense than most app subscriptions.
    I agree completely. Rental software is a flat out rip off. I just don't do it. Honestly I've dropped apps when they went to subscription. Mind you I have more flexibility with my computer work than some so I have that option. But that said, I just say no to rental software.
    Likewise. I’ve rejected all new Adobe software since they went to the rentware model.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member

    For what? So I can play some cheap iPhone games for free?


    Unless Apple starts developing its own games and getting 3rd parties on board to bring console games to the next Apple TV, then who cares if I can play the paid version of Angry Birds and other indie titles?

    Older console games could be possible on the ATV4. Newer console games are pretty much impossible on the ATV4. It's not nearly powerful enough. I wish Apple could work out a deal with Nintendo to bring some older classics to the Apple TV. 
    The A10X benches faster than the Tegra X1.

    https://gfxbench.com/compare.jsp?benchmark=gfx40&did1=26084812&os1=Android&api1=gl&hwtype1=GPU&hwname1=NVIDIA(R)+Tegra(R)+X1&did2=50838650&os2=iOS&api2=metal&hwtype2=iGPU&hwname2=Apple+Inc.+Apple+A10X+GPU

    So the aTV5 is Switch class as a console.
    patchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    I always thought it was insane that Apple didn't take the Apple TV in a more interesting direction. Requiring games to use the Siri remote was just plain stupid. Eddie Cue should lose a testicle for that one. You only need to look at Nintendo to see who Apple should have been trying to emulate. Even if they would have gone with something like the 3DS's circle pad, instead of an analogue stick (they should have gone with an analogue stick. They could have made the Siri remote fantastic by just having an analogue stick, with four face buttons, a home button in the middle. I mean, I'd put in shoulder buttons, but you don't NEED them, it's pretty rare for you to have a game that really requires you to use more than directions and four buttons. Heck the N64 for most games mapped the camera to the C buttons, and gave you A B and Z for most things. (But shoulder buttons would have been good.) Also they could have just sold their own add on controller for 30 bucks that was a legit controller. But everybody knew just licensing the MFi ones the platform wasn't going to take off. Still, this thing could have literally had all the success that Nintendo is having with the Switch. It could have allowed cross platform iOS games that you could play at home or on the go. But Apple just HATES putting buttons on anything but a keyboard! I can't imagine paying a monthly fee for iOS games. I mean, when I worked at a call centre that they let us play on our phones while we worked. (It was in tech support, though in retrospect it was super irresponsible of them because we sometimes took credit card payments. Back then I played a lot of iOS games, but now? Almost never. If they came up with something similar to SetApp where you got access to most of the stuff in the Mac App store for 10 bucks a month I'd seriously consider that. Especially if they did something really nice and took your monthly payment and then split it between the apps that you use the most often or spend the most time actively doing something in. (IE when the app is in the foreground, or having to run a compile or something.) And then just divide that payment across those apps. (As it stands Apple Music is a total rip off for artists. I'm sure Apple is probably keeping 70% of my 10 dollar a month payment given that they pay out less than a cent per song. I did the math once and assuming each subscriber didn't play music while they slept, Apple would automatically still make money on the subscription if the were paying out two cents a track.) Apple would have to seriously look at investing HEAVILY in gaming. I'm talking buy game studios and start putting out as much first party stuff as Nintendo does, in order to get me to look at paying them a subscription for gaming. Or they'd need to flat out partner with Nintendo on gaming, but I think it's honestly best for the industry if they don't. Quite frankly I don't think Apple is willing to build the sort of hardware that's needed to run games that are worth subscribing to. Unless they're going to look at just making a bunch of free to play style games that don't bug you to pay for loot.
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