Apple Arcade expands game catalog to over 180 titles in new content push

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2
Apple Arcade added 35 new games to its lineup on Friday with a mix of new exclusives and classic titles.

Apple Arcade now has over 180 titles
Apple Arcade now has over 180 titles


Apple Arcade was announced two years ago and has had little fanfare or major hits. The subscription service launched with the promise of over 100 ad-free games, but never quite delivered a AAA experience.

Until Friday, Apple's approach to Arcade has been similar to Apple TV+ -- quality experiences that are exclusive to Apple. That rule has been broken as classic games have been brought to the service without ads.

Along with the new content comes new categories: Timeless classics and App Store Greats. The Timeless classics involve classic board games like checkers or chess while App Store Greats include Monument Valley or Mini Metro. Both categories consist of games that already existed on the App Store denoted by a plus to show there are no ads.

New exclusives, remastered games, or Apple Arcade specific versions of games are all considered "Apple Arcade Originals."

New original titles launched on Apple Arcade:

  • Fantasian
  • Wonderbox: The Adventure Maker
  • World of Demons
  • NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition
  • Clap Hanz Golf
  • The Oregon Trail
  • Star Trek: Legends
  • Simon's Cat - Story Time
  • Cut the Rope Remastered
  • SongPop Party
  • Taiko no Tatsujin Pop Tap Beat

Classic titles available now without ads:

  • Tiny Crossword+
  • Threes!+
  • The Room Two+
  • Sudoku Simple+
  • Spell Tower+
  • Solitaire by MobilityWare+
  • Reigns+
  • Really Bad Chess+
  • Monument Valley+
  • Mini Metro+
  • Mahjong Titan+
  • Good Sudoku+
  • Fruit Ninja Classic+
  • Flipflop Solitaire+
  • Don't Starve: Pocket Edition+
  • Chess - Play & Learn+
  • Checkers Royal+
  • Chameleon Run+
  • Blek+
  • Badland+
  • Backgammon+

Upcoming titles include:

  • Frenzic: Overtime
  • Legends of Kingdom Rush
  • Leo's Fortune+
Apple Arcade is available for $4.99 per month or in every tier of Apple One. Games are available on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac with touch and controller support.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    Fidonet127Fidonet127 Posts: 214member
    Personally, we found good value in Apple Arcade. I still think Apple Arcade is a success. Several reasons, as part of the bundles, people can enjoy different games without thinking if the cost is worth it. Two people can enjoy games will out all the ads. Three, developers can try new things, which may not be commercially viable otherwise. Four, there is really good titles on here, which people can spend hours on. Five, these are games that are not just on the iPhone or iPad, but also on the Mac and Apple TV. Many of these games have ASi native code. Now Apple has managed to add even more titles.
    n2itivguymcdaveBeatsforegoneconclusionbyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 8
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,591member
    Shame they haven’t produced an Apple Arcade+ with AAA titles but perhaps that could showcase new silicon (ATV/iPad/Mac). Perhaps games could require ‘standard’ (for compatibility) and ‘extreme’ (for showcasing) graphics profiles.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 8
    Apple Arcade is terrible for developer earnings. Being an industry professional, knowing from very successful developers, they are all really disappointed in the Apple Arcade earnings and they’re unhappy with the level of transparency Apple provides. 
    What Apple needs to do is stop trying to “port” regular iOS games to Arcade and buy some studios to develop AAA content. Take the Microsoft and Sony model, and apply that to more mobile free content.
    Similarly, invest in a stronger Mac gaming ecosystem. Arcade on macOS is a joke, and the overall offerings on either their App Store or through third party stores is disappointing.
    Beats
  • Reply 4 of 8
    Fidonet127Fidonet127 Posts: 214member
    What exactly are developers expecting from a service that is $4.99 per month, per person, spread over so many games? For those using the bundle, the amount going to the Arcade would be even less. 

    Is Fantasian a AAA game or made by a AAA maker?
    asdasdwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 8
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,050member
    Looks like only Fantasian may be a AAA title. Maybe.

    I don’t like the classics being added. Even though games like Leo’s Fortune and Cut the Rope(one of my favorite games of all time) are good, I prefer Apple Arcade to be like TV+, a bundle of Apple exclusives you can’t find elsewhere. Maybe this was a desperate move due to low subs?


    Apple Arcade is terrible for developer earnings. Being an industry professional, knowing from very successful developers, they are all really disappointed in the Apple Arcade earnings and they’re unhappy with the level of transparency Apple provides. 
    What Apple needs to do is stop trying to “port” regular iOS games to Arcade and buy some studios to develop AAA content. Take the Microsoft and Sony model, and apply that to more mobile free content.
    Similarly, invest in a stronger Mac gaming ecosystem. Arcade on macOS is a joke, and the overall offerings on either their App Store or through third party stores is disappointing.

    Apple wants to support as many devices as possible and that strategy backfires. Apple needs to do BOTH. Have simple games like Chess, pretty much all games currently being offered now that I think of it and high end exclusives for iPhone 12, new iPad Pro, M1 Macs and Apple TV 5. Otherwise we’ll never see the caliber of games we see on Xbox etc.

    i repeat this often so I apologize but... Switch is no where near as powerful as current Apple devices but look what it puts out in comparison:

    https://youtu.be/NoILEalxniA

  • Reply 6 of 8
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,430moderator
    What Apple needs to do is stop trying to “port” regular iOS games to Arcade and buy some studios to develop AAA content. Take the Microsoft and Sony model, and apply that to more mobile free content.
    They could make some high quality exclusives if they had a few decent internal studios. Google tried this with Stadia. They hired 150 people to make exclusive games but shut it down due to cost and time:

    https://www.engadget.com/google-stadia-game-studios-shut-down-montreal-los-angeles-201811811.html

    "Creating best-in-class games from the ground up takes many years and significant investment, and the cost is going up exponentially," Harrison wrote. "Given our focus on building on the proven technology of Stadia as well as deepening our business partnerships, we’ve decided that we will not be investing further in bringing exclusive content from our internal development team SG&E [Stadia Games and Entertainment], beyond any near-term planned games."

    Big companies still have to weigh each department's profits against their costs to determine if they will be sustainable long-term. Stadia didn't get enough subscribers to justify the internal development costs.

    Apple is probably in a better situation with Apple Arcade and they have plenty of capital to invest anyway. Even 10 million subscribers (out of 1.5 billion iOS users) at $5/month gives them a $50m/month budget. That's easily enough to fund a major AAA game every 1-2 months:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/entertainment/gaming/former-playstation-boss-says-aaa-game-development-is-unsustainable/ar-BB15TcdU

    "Now, the cost of most AAA games is between $80 million and $150 million, he said, and that's before marketing expenses are factored in."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_video_games_to_develop

    It's probably hard to find the talent capable of and willing to produce the games and have them exclusive on iOS. A lot of the time good games pop up unexpectedly. Take Genshin Impact:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genshin_Impact

    "Development of Genshin Impact began in June 2017, with an initial team of 120 people, which grew to 400 by the end of that year, and reached 700 by February 2021. The game had a development and marketing budget of around $100 million, which was recouped quickly after release."

    This game was made with the Unity game engine and was the fastest mobile game to reach $1b in revenue (revenue from IAPs):

    https://gamerant.com/genshin-impact-fastest-mobile-game-1-billion-revenue-march-2021/

    Apple couldn't hire 120-700 people internally and guarantee that they'd make a hit like that after 3.5 years with zero profit before then and they wouldn't put IAPs in Arcade. That kind of development time is long for companies like Apple and Google that are trying to sell new things every year and if they started development now, it wouldn't reach the market until 2024.

    Some games that are being added to Arcade now were projects that were started 3 years ago, Fantasian for example is described here:

    https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/culture/article/hironobu-sakaguchi-fantasian

    "Fantasian came about three or so years ago, when he and his colleagues – some of the original team from the Final Fantasy days – replayed Final Fantasy VI together."



    https://www.bluegartr.com/threads/133611-Fantasian-(Apple-Arcade)-New-JRPG-from-Mistwalker-2021





    This looks like a similar strategy to Apple TV content in that they are attracting industry heavyweights (Fantasian founder made RPG games for over 35 years and created Final Fantasy) for exclusive content but on a scale that will have manageable timeframes and costs. For Apple TV+, they aren't buying movie production studios, they just buy the rights to the content.

    It would be good to see companies like Crystal Dynamics do remakes of the original Tomb Raider series like Resident Evil has had. There's a fan remake of Tomb Raider 2 here (just one level). That kind of content would work well on Arcade:



    http://tombraider-dox.com

    The Apple Arcade trailer from last year was highlighting the opportunity for game makers to make experimental games:



    That makes sense because no matter what games they make, they don't have to worry about recouping the investment through sales, they just get put onto the platform. The revenue has already been collected from the subscriptions.

    Apple Arcade was launched in late 2019 so is only 1.5 years old. If they started funding major AAA developments at that point, I wouldn't expect to see the results until 2022/2023 and there will be the possibility to add more powerful hardware before then.

    Their strategy seems to be commissioning exclusives from talented teams instead of buying studios. That's probably easier to control because they can have agreements where they require deliverables at regular times to make sure the projects are progressing as expected and cut funding to the project if not. Epic is doing something like this with Remedy and other studios:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remedy_Entertainment#Diversifying_portfolio_(2016%E2%80%93present)
    https://www.videogameschronicle.com/news/epic-will-publish-games-from-remedy-playdead-and-gen-design/

    "Epic Games Publishing will cover up to 100% of development costs, from developer salaries to go-to-market expenses such as QA, localization, marketing, and all publishing costs.
    Finally, Epic said it would share profits 50/50, once its development costs have been recouped."

    Apple's subscription model could be more sustainable because they don't have to be making games at a loss. They can just take the budget from the subscribers and allocate it to the projects.

    It's good to see quality additions to the service, it shows that they have commitment to the service and there's nothing wrong with adding popular older titles. People still play the popular titles and the exposure attracts new players. Apple TV+ and Arcade will be services that expand content slowly over time due to the timeframes involved in producing quality content. As long as the investment is sustained, the content libraries will become more substantial in a couple of years.
    asdasdFidonet127watto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 7 of 8
    i repeat this often so I apologize but... Switch is no where near as powerful as current Apple devices but look what it puts out in comparison:

    https://youtu.be/NoILEalxniA

    Apple isn't preventing developers or publishers from releasing those kinds games on the standard App Store. The issue with iOS/iPadOS is the pricing mentality of customers who use those platforms for games. People who buy a Switch or a Playstation or an Xbox are expecting to pay $60-$70 for AAA games and $15-$25 for indie games. People who use iOS/iPadOS consider $9.99 to be the high-end for game prices. Typically that means that iOS/iPadOS customers have an advantage for indie games (they get released for lower prices) and a significant disadvantage for AAA games (the market doesn't support the higher prices they require). 

    However, I do think one of the strategies for Apple Arcade was to get users more accustomed to gaming on larger screens like Macs and TVs. That can potentially move the needle towards customers being more willing to support the higher prices of AAA games since it's more similar to consoles like Switch/Playstation/Xbox. I think there is a higher perceived value for games if they can be played on larger screens. That's kind of how the market has always worked: smaller screens = smaller prices = smaller games.
    edited April 3 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 8
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,620member
    Excellent post Marvin. I would add that Apple is really into their bundles and I think they can absorb a loss in part of their bundling ( i.e. Apple TV and Arcade) for a few years. 

    Its all about monetising the existing base. 1 billion people spending $5-$30 recurring per month, as well as the profits from the hardware and accessories they continue to sell and pretty soon you are talking about real money. 
    watto_cobra
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