Apple Arcade has shifted to focus on games with higher 'engagement'

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple is reportedly shifting its Apple Arcade development strategy by looking for titles for higher levels of "engagement," while dropping some existing contracts.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The Apple Arcade strategy shift is said to be a way for the Cupertino tech giant to retain current subscribers. The service, which costs $4.99 a month, first launched in September 2019.

In mid-April, an Apple Arcade creative producer reportedly told some game developers that their upcoming titles for the service didn't have the right level of "engagement," according to Bloomberg. As a result, Apple reportedly scrapped contracts with multiple game studios while informing them of the new strategy.

Although Apple still paid game studios for the development milestones they had hit, several game developers suddenly faced financial woes compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. The company also invited those studios that they'd like to work with them on future titles that meet the new approach.

Apple is reportedly increasingly interested in games that will hook users to stay beyond their one-month free trial periods, Bloomberg reported. One example of the type of game Apple wants, which was given during the mid-April call, is puzzle-action title Grindstone.

Developers who spoke with the publication said that the new approach may be a sign that Apple Arcade subscriber growth has been weaker than expected since its launch. Apple has not yet released subscriber count numbers for Apple Arcade.

Just recently, Apple sent out emails offering users who had canceled Apple Arcade another free month.

The news comes during increased antitrust scrutiny for Apple, and just a few days after The New York Times said they would pull out of Apple's Apple News service.

The services segment is still one of Apple's most important growth drivers. During the second quarter, Apple reported that the business had reached an all-time high of $13.3 billion in revenue. While it highlighted select services like Apple Music, the company didn't mention specifically Apple Arcade during its April 30 earnings call.

During its WWDC 2020 keynote, Apple announced new tvOS 14 features for its gaming service -- including multiple user profiles and synced save data. Apple also regularly adds new games to Apple Arcade.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Let's stop beating around the bush. THE GAMES SUCK.

    If Arcade cannot compete with traditional consoles or offer decent FPS games or games with loyal online bases like Fortnight or Halo, then really what's the point?

    Apple TV needs the latest chipset and big games like Tomb Raider or an exclusive GTA. Apple needs to stop playing. Either buy a big studio like Capcom or have an in-house developer that cranks out AAA games. Otherwise people will get bored with their bite-sized 2D crap and puzzlers.

    Apple IS NOT putting the same effort into Arcade that they did with iTunes, iPhone, iPad, Apple Card, Apple Music or even Apple TV+.
    OferlkruppmacplusplusSkylightActivedysamoriagregoriusmflyingdpCheeseFreezeelijahgDAalseth
  • Reply 2 of 43
    OferOfer Posts: 124unconfirmed, member
    Beats said:
    Let's stop beating around the bush. THE GAMES SUCK.

    If Arcade cannot compete with traditional consoles or offer decent FPS games or games with loyal online bases like Fortnight or Halo, then really what's the point?

    Apple TV needs the latest chipset and big games like Tomb Raider or an exclusive GTA. Apple needs to stop playing. Either buy a big studio like Capcom or have an in-house developer that cranks out AAA games. Otherwise people will get bored with their bite-sized 2D crap and puzzlers.

    Apple IS NOT putting the same effort into Arcade that they did with iTunes, iPhone, iPad, Apple Card, Apple Music or even Apple TV+.
    Agreed 100%! Apple has never really taken gamers seriously 
    Beatslkruppdysamoriachemengin1
  • Reply 3 of 43
    I really keep trying to like it, and justify what I'm paying each month, but I agree, the games just aren't any good. Many are beautiful (Skate City) but are just too basic and neither myself or my kids have wanted to play any one game more than once or twice.

    I was really hoping to find some good multiplayer games that we could play as a family. Not multiplayer online with strangers, but with family members on the same AppleTV to enjoy the experience together. I have only been able to find one game that 2 people could play, and it was really boring. Simple racing games like MarioKart would be a blast.

    Adding support for Xbox controllers was great, but I find the responsiveness not great, and so many games are impossible to exit with the controller! Frustrating. Our family will now go and try to decide between a Switch, Playstation, or Xbox.
    macplusplusgregoriusmmatrix077chemengin1entropys
  • Reply 4 of 43
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    stevemebs said:
    I really keep trying to like it, and justify what I'm paying each month, but I agree, the games just aren't any good. Many are beautiful (Skate City) but are just too basic and neither myself or my kids have wanted to play any one game more than once or twice.

    I was really hoping to find some good multiplayer games that we could play as a family. Not multiplayer online with strangers, but with family members on the same AppleTV to enjoy the experience together. I have only been able to find one game that 2 people could play, and it was really boring. Simple racing games like MarioKart would be a blast.

    Adding support for Xbox controllers was great, but I find the responsiveness not great, and so many games are impossible to exit with the controller! Frustrating. Our family will now go and try to decide between a Switch, Playstation, or Xbox.

    Exactly. Seems Apple stitched a bunch of .99 cent games into the service and expected gamers to come running in flocks. Doesn't matter how beautiful a game is if it's the same stuff you get on your iPhone 6 for a buck. You know, those 2D sidescrollers, endless runners and other over-played App Store crap.

    Apple TV needs to be on par with Switch content-wise. The same power is already possible yet Apple gets nothing meanwhile Switch has great first-parties like Mario Kart and we get garbage like Beach Buggy Racing or Real Racing which hasn't had a new installment since iPhone 5. Can you believe, to this day Real Racing 3 is on lists of "Top Apple TV Games". A freaking game with iPhone 5 graphics and praised as one of the most graphical games on the platform. Embarrassing.

    Apple TV 4K:
    4K
    Dolby Vision
    Dolby Atmos
    Crappy bite-sized games

    Switch
    1080P
    No Dolby certifications
    No HDR
    AAA Games

    Shame Apple has all the hardware advantages but guess which one I'm buying for gaming?
    gregoriusmaderutterentropysmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 43
    kkqd1337kkqd1337 Posts: 380member
    I’m not a gamer at all.

    But on the odd time I have dipped into a game I have been totally put off by

    - micro transactions 
    - in app purchases 
    - in app advertising 

    So I understand what Apple has tried to do.

    But from my point of view the fact that Apple even feel the need to do this say something about the general state of the gaming market. 
    mike54aderuttermuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 43
    Apple Arcade is going to evolve over time, just as their other services have. Looking at what games have been the most popular or engaging is what you're supposed to do. Why wouldn't you want a greater percentage of those types of games? For me personally, the $60 for a year of Apple Arcade has already been worth it. Oceanhorn 2 provided over 20 hours of play. Pinball Wizard provided 10-12 hours. Shinseki: Into the Depths was around 15-20 hours. I've played Towers of Everland for 15 hours. And I'm currently about 5 hours into Beyond A Steel Sky. That's a good chunk of time for the price...probably more than I expected. 
    cflcardsfan80macplusplusjony0lollivermikeybabesmatrix077firelockFidonet127Rayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 43
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Apple Arcade is going to evolve over time, just as their other services have. Looking at what games have been the most popular or engaging is what you're supposed to do. Why wouldn't you want a greater percentage of those types of games? For me personally, the $60 for a year of Apple Arcade has already been worth it. Oceanhorn 2 provided over 20 hours of play. Pinball Wizard provided 10-12 hours. Shinseki: Into the Depths was around 15-20 hours. I've played Towers of Everland for 15 hours. And I'm currently about 5 hours into Beyond A Steel Sky. That's a good chunk of time for the price...probably more than I expected. 
    Oceanhorn is a Zelda knockoff. Which is a shame because Apple is original. Apple would have been better off building something the scale of The Elder Scrolls.

    Also that game from Final Fantasy creator looks like crap. They brag about real environments but the characters do not blend well with the environments. Looks like a high school project. I think Apple screwed up when they required iPhone SE support. They should have been forward thinking and only supported X-series iPhones and above. Instead they wanted to cast a wider net but punish the content.

    I heard Beyond a Steel Sky is good but it's no where near as popular as a Call of Duty or Resident Evil. I hope you're right and we start getting some "must have" titles soon. Apple Arcade has none at the moment.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 43
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,096member
    Apple Arcade is going to evolve over time, just as their other services have. Looking at what games have been the most popular or engaging is what you're supposed to do. Why wouldn't you want a greater percentage of those types of games? For me personally, the $60 for a year of Apple Arcade has already been worth it. Oceanhorn 2 provided over 20 hours of play. Pinball Wizard provided 10-12 hours. Shinseki: Into the Depths was around 15-20 hours. I've played Towers of Everland for 15 hours. And I'm currently about 5 hours into Beyond A Steel Sky. That's a good chunk of time for the price...probably more than I expected. 
    Your post is informative in that you actually report how less-than-engaging the current top Arcade games. That is exactly what Apple is trying to resolve. A barely engaging game should keep you busy at least a hundred hours.

    This is not a tech problem, like a few years ago's "game studios don't support Apple platforms", "underpowered" or "no OpenGL" memes. Almost all of the mainstream game engines have been ported to Metal. Apple must just incentivize the development of a few great games for Apple Arcade.
    edited June 2020 gregoriusmRayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 43
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Apple Arcade is going to evolve over time, just as their other services have. Looking at what games have been the most popular or engaging is what you're supposed to do. Why wouldn't you want a greater percentage of those types of games? For me personally, the $60 for a year of Apple Arcade has already been worth it. Oceanhorn 2 provided over 20 hours of play. Pinball Wizard provided 10-12 hours. Shinseki: Into the Depths was around 15-20 hours. I've played Towers of Everland for 15 hours. And I'm currently about 5 hours into Beyond A Steel Sky. That's a good chunk of time for the price...probably more than I expected. 
    Your post is informative in that you actually report how less-than-engaging the current top Arcade games. That is exactly what Apple is trying to resolve. A barely engaging game should keep you busy at least a hundred hours.

    I think "engaging" would be more like those games that have an active online userbase. Think Fortnite, Minecraft, Splatoon, PUBG. These games have users who play an hour a day for years. Apple has ZERO games like this, all they need is ONE. Imagine if Fortnite was Apple Arcade exclusive for example.
    dysamoriagregoriusmelijahg
  • Reply 10 of 43
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 2,096member
    Beats said:
    Apple Arcade is going to evolve over time, just as their other services have. Looking at what games have been the most popular or engaging is what you're supposed to do. Why wouldn't you want a greater percentage of those types of games? For me personally, the $60 for a year of Apple Arcade has already been worth it. Oceanhorn 2 provided over 20 hours of play. Pinball Wizard provided 10-12 hours. Shinseki: Into the Depths was around 15-20 hours. I've played Towers of Everland for 15 hours. And I'm currently about 5 hours into Beyond A Steel Sky. That's a good chunk of time for the price...probably more than I expected. 
    Your post is informative in that you actually report how less-than-engaging the current top Arcade games. That is exactly what Apple is trying to resolve. A barely engaging game should keep you busy at least a hundred hours.

    I think "engaging" would be more like those games that have an active online userbase. Think Fortnite, Minecraft, Splatoon, PUBG. These games have users who play an hour a day for years. Apple has ZERO games like this, all they need is ONE. Imagine if Fortnite was Apple Arcade exclusive for example.
    In multiplayer games, I agree "engaging" means that. Since I wanted to base my comparison on the number of hours I've taken as model rather story/campaign based games.
    Beatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 43
    macplusplus said: Your post is informative in that you actually report how less-than-engaging the current top Arcade games. That is exactly what Apple is trying to resolve. A barely engaging game should keep you busy at least a hundred hours.
    The average console game doesn't provide 100 hours of gameplay. Not even close. 15-25 hours would be typical for the vast majority of single player story modes. Hundreds of hours would be largely limited to online multiplayer or large scale open world games that require 4-5 years of development.
    edited June 2020 dysamorialolliverrossb2watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 43

    Beats said: Oceanhorn is a Zelda knockoff. Which is a shame because Apple is original. Apple would have been better off building something the scale of The Elder Scrolls.
    Cornfox Brothers are obviously big Zelda and Nintendo fans, but those games are a lot more than knockoffs. You have to spend time playing them to understand why. For example, Oceanhorn 2 actually has a heavy sci-fi angle to it.
    lollivermatrix077watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 43
    Apple should really focus in creating a game that is high quality. There’s no easy way around it, you got to invest. The only thing that worked was Oceanhorn 2, but it also came with flaws. Overall, that was the only game I played on Arcade. Still subscribe, but there’s no titles like Oceanhorn 2 on there, so I stopped playing and will probably cancel soon to. It’s just not worth it. Feels like Indie game market place. But it doesn’t mean that those are bad games. It’s just not up to the level compared to your traditional offerings from studios like Blizzard, EA etc. 

    Apple would be better off setting up a studio and do it the right way, if they want to be serious about gaming. Doing things half the effort shows, and that’s what’s letting them down. I have a dedicated tower to play windows games. I just wished Apple was serious about games enough. 

    Beatsgregoriusmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 43
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    macplusplus said: Your post is informative in that you actually report how less-than-engaging the current top Arcade games. That is exactly what Apple is trying to resolve. A barely engaging game should keep you busy at least a hundred hours.
    The average console game doesn't provide 100 hours of gameplay. Not even close. 15-25 hours would be typical for the vast majority of single player story modes. Hundreds of hours would be largely limited to online multiplayer or large scale open world games that require 4-5 years of development.

    We know Apple devices are capable of Switch-like titles. We're disappointed that we have zero experiences like that.

    Apple TV is capable of running 4K HDR. Imagine these visuals but better and in 4K Dolby Vision:



    That's running on an old ARM chip.

    I'm not a graphics whore but it's infuriating seeing all that Apple power go to waste. With the A14 chip coming in months, new Macs and hopefully a new Apple TV. I want to see Apple do something great.
    gregoriusm
  • Reply 15 of 43
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    I hate game industry marketing jive. I also hate the industry. It’s almost all abuse like rest of the computer industry and laissez-faire capitalism.

    Also, Apple never took gaming seriously... nor gaming GPUs and thermals... 
    BeatsOfermike54rossb2
  • Reply 16 of 43
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,257member
    Lots of people seem to think its easy to crank out AAA games, and that all Apple needs to do is throw money at it.  I like their strategy of interesting indie-style titles.  Throw money at Lucas Pope instead, and get some good games.
    foregoneconclusionwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 43
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    I’ve seen some good reviews of Apple Arcade games, but I just don’t have the time to spend on games these days. More important things happening in the real world. To each their own!
    flyingdpmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 43
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    crowley said:
    Lots of people seem to think its easy to crank out AAA games, and that all Apple needs to do is throw money at it.  I like their strategy of interesting indie-style titles.  Throw money at Lucas Pope instead, and get some good games.

    Every console launches with at least one AAA game, some launch with 3. Apple doesn't even have a AA game.
    gregoriusmrossb2
  • Reply 19 of 43
    Apple Arcade was a breath of fresh air. My son loves his iPad and as a treat he gets to play anything he likes, after being good and doing his reading etc 

    All those reasonable games with crazy costs for coins and video plays as adverts were a nightmare.
    Apple Arcade removes all that shit for a reasonable cost.  He does not care AAA multiplayer games he wants to enjoy and hopefully learn puzzle solving and hand eye  skills.  My days a game was loaded and you play it no extra costs. 

    Maybe Apple has all the stats which will help the
     develop the platform for the better.  Giving it a chance is worth waiting for. To me it’s more value than AppleTv+ which I’m sure they spent a lot more on.

    matrix077Fidonet127mcdaveforegoneconclusionwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 43
    dedgeckodedgecko Posts: 169member
    There’s only so many touch based games that are enjoyable before you realize there’s only so much you can do tapping and sliding a screen that gets hotter and hotter the more you play it.

    Third party controllers are a nice addition, but nothing beats a PS4/XB1/Keyboard and Mouse for more advanced games that are native to the system you’re playing on.  Advances have been made so porting between console and PC are easier than ever before, but even then there can be gameplay issues when the controls are not taken into consideration.  Porting to Mobile?  Look at the terrible Slay the Spire port to realize that even in this day and age developers can still screw it up. 

    There can only be so many Match-Three gem games, Clash of Clans, and whatever else.  Apple needs better controllers if they want better games. If they don’t care about better games, then they’ll stay on the same tier they have always played on. 
    edited June 2020 BeatsOferelijahg
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