GameClub raises $2.5M to bring classic iOS games back to life

in iOS edited May 2019
GameClub, a mobile game developer, has secured $2.5 million in investment from a variety of funds, with the startup planning to modernize and rerelease older iOS games that are no longer playable on newer iPhones and iPads, as well as producing its own titles.

'Super Crate Box,' one of the titles being updated by GameClub for modern iOS versions
'Super Crate Box,' one of the titles being updated by GameClub for modern iOS versions

The constant march of technology and improvements in iOS has meant many of the features of older versions of the iPhone and iPad operating system are no longer available for apps to use. Over time, this can lead older unmaintained versions of apps and games to not be playable on newer iOS releases, and effectively making them unavailable to purchase by newer players.

GameClub aims to change that, after receiving investment from firms including Watertower Ventures, BreakawayGrowth Fund, and Ride Ventures, reports VentureBeat. Raising $2.5 million in seed funding, the company will be working with the original creators of popular older iOS titles to make them usable on newer iOS versions.

Rather than compiling them within a single app, the effort will make the rereleases available through the App Store itself. Some titles are already being worked on and are undergoing testing in early access, with an official launch of the company's first efforts expected to take place this fall. The games will not be free to play, and a financial model for profitability has not been finalized yet.

"What I will say is that a big part of our inspiration for GameClub comes from knowing that many great premium game developers have been driven away from mobile, despite a lot of demand for their games, because of the lousy monetization models available to them," said GameClub CEO Dan Sherman. "We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't believe that GameClub can make premium mobile game makers successful again. We're building this for them and their fans."

An example of the modernization process, which will happen to more than 50 iOS titles under current plans, is updating 32-bit apps. Apple dropped support for 32-bit applications in 2017, with developers electing either to invest resources in producing 64-bit versions or not let the apps die, with many deciding to go for the latter due to the expense involved.

Dependencies on older software development kits also have to be fixed, such as for third-party analytics that have shut down. Under the plans, as many games share the same engines, GameClub will set up automated build processes so they can be more easily kept up to date with future changes.

The company will be working with the original developers of the games, with three of the titles including Vlambeer's 'Super Crate Box,' Venan Entertainment's 'Space Miner,' and Fluttermind's 'Incoboto.' Other titles known to be undergoing testing include 'Run Boo Run,' 'Cubed Rally World,' 'Chopper 2,' 'Zombie Match Defense,' 'Wooords,' 'Sword of Fargoal,' and 'Hook Champ.'

In some cases, GameClub has the challenge of dealing with the legal ownership of some titles, as the games may have been produced as part of a studio or publisher who no longer exists, or the rights holder may have exited the industry entirely.

News of GameClub's formation and ambitious plan first surfaced in March.


  • Reply 1 of 13
    dotcomctodotcomcto Posts: 130member
    Well this is very interesting indeed! They may be able to work with some of the smaller companies on more straightforward games, but I'm not sure whether companies like Firaxis and Slitherine would have any desire to see that happen. Their games and game engines are far more complex, and who knows if any of the bigger players would be willing to produce source code and documentation. I suppose it would all come down to the compensation.

    Very interested in seeing where this leads. There are a great many games that were lost in the 64-bit transition.
    jbdragoncurtis hannahwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    jdiamondjdiamond Posts: 105member
    I think this is wonderful.  As a game developer, we often watched finished games never get released because of companies going out of business who owned the original license to the game.  It will be interesting to see if they can get the licenses to enough dear and classic iOS games.  I hope someone does this for MacOS as well - almost 100% of my MacOS games are still 32-bit.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,926member
    Wish they would update War, Inc.  It was awesome.  
  • Reply 4 of 13
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,278member

    The iPhone has been around long enough for early iOS games to be considered "classic". 

    I'll go back to playing Carmageddon, now…and feeling old.
    edited May 2019 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    ramanpfafframanpfaff Posts: 102member
    FlightControl, pretty please.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,605member
    I’d be happy if Bookworm, Luxor, Zuma’s Revenge, and Harbormaster could be brought back. I don’t have time for involved games, but these casual time-killer for the waiting rooms of life would be most welcome to return.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Oh, jeez, I'd love to see someone reverse engineer/update Glyder and Glyder 2.  Exceptionally relaxing games abandoned by Glu Games when they discovered the money in dressing up slot machines as video games.  I'd pay good money for a new version of either of these games.

  • Reply 8 of 13
    ZirlinZirlin Posts: 16member

    (and give a discount to those who have already purchased the game)
  • Reply 9 of 13
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,805unconfirmed, member
    2.5M is couch change to Apple, so why doesn't Apple give a shit?

    Apple should pump 5M and bring all the classics back and even own them. iPhone was a revolutionary device and these games are part of Apples history.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    curtis hannahcurtis hannah Posts: 1,814member
    2.5M is couch change to Apple, so why doesn't Apple give a shit?

    Apple should pump 5M and bring all the classics back and even own them. iPhone was a revolutionary device and these games are part of Apples history.
    Apple isn't in the business of updating other peoples Apps for them. With that said it wouldn't be that surprising that Apple Arcade might bring back some previous games and they have a contract with all the developers to keep all their games up to date as long as they are on the service moving forward.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    frantisekfrantisek Posts: 751member
    Maelstorm and other Ambrosia titles :-)
  • Reply 12 of 13
    xbitxbit Posts: 370member
    Let's hope that the smartphone has matured far enough that this won't be a significant problem for today's best.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    waverboywaverboy Posts: 106member
    My list of most wanted no-longer-supported games/apps:

    Flappy Bird
    Falling Stars
    Shape Shift
    Koi Pond
    Monsters Ate My Condo
    Slingshot Racing
    Manos: The Hands Of Fate
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