After a year and a half of life, Apple has finally figured out the right direction to take for the Apple Arcade service.
A “new” Apple Arcade
This mini revolution began a little over a week ago, when Apple not only unveiled a series of first-rate original titles, but also activated two new sections that make Apple Arcade a perfect place for all types of gamers.
In addition to the many Apple Arcade Original titles, including “NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition”, “Star Trek: Legends” and “The Oregon Trail,” the service now offers two new game categories: Timeless Classics and App Store Masterpieces. The Timeless Classics category includes games and genres popular with most users, with titles such as “Good Sudoku by Zach Gage”, “Chess – Play and Learn” and “Backgammon”, while Masterpieces from the App Store showcase some of the best games award winners available on the App Store, including “Threes!”, “Mini Metro” and “Fruit Ninja Classic”. Together with the new Arcade Originals, these categories bring the catalog to over 180 games.
The recent release of over 30 games represents more than just a superior amount of new content. It’s a huge change in the company’s policy: the new approach for Apple Arcade is just what it took to make the service much more interesting for millions of iPhone and iPad users around the world. After the “fresh start”, Apple must now continue on this path and only in this way could Apple Arcade truly become one of the most interesting subscription game services on the market.
Not just quality and originality
When it was first announced in March 2019, Apple immediately stated that only high-quality exclusive games would be coming to Apple Arcade, instead of simple match-threes and hit-and-run games. After a few months of launch, Apple has begun to understand that games that work well on mobile devices don’t always have to be similar to the triple-A titles found on consoles and take a long time to develop. In short, it was impossible to keep up with the pace required by mobile users, by subscribers to a service from € 4.99 per month and by the desire to offer only great games.
Really important titles like Necrobarista had already come out on Apple Arcade, but most mobile users don’t ask for this genre of games on their smartphones. And like this one, there were many other “console” games that, however, did not attract a sufficient number of Apple players.
And here is that the change in recent months, and especially in recent weeks, goes precisely in this direction: alongside the triple A titles that will continue to be offered on Apple Arcade, now much more “mobile” and quick to use titles are also offered. Those classic games that keep you entertained even for 5 minutes without too much effort. And often, even core gamers want to have fun with games of this type, without necessarily having to always play console-style games that require much more effort, perseverance and time.
With the “classic” and “masterpiece” games now available, the company has inundated Apple Arcade with many hit-and-run titles, both old and completely new. A necessary move, which makes Apple Arcade much more sensible on iPhones and iPads.
Goodbye to the old Apple Arcade
Apple Arcade has a number of rules and expectations associated with the service, and some still make perfect sense. For example, Arcade games may not contain ads or in-app microtransactions of any kind. This is a great approach for those who want to enjoy the full experience of all the games available, without advertising and at no additional cost. But there are also some things that weren’t right, and Apple is fixing the shot.
Apple’s policies had drawn a clear line: games on Apple Arcade could not appear in the regular App Store. They could not appear on any other mobile platform. And they couldn’t appear on any other subscription service (on any platform). For a developer, this was bad news: working for months on a high-quality game (otherwise no Apple Arcade), but having to give up the Android market and all subscription services on PC, Xbox and Playstation such as Xbox Game Pass (a godsend especially for smaller developers).
In the end, this policy proved to be a boomerang not only on the developers side, but also if we think about the users. The idea of subscribing to a subscription service that contains original titles, but no games present on many other platforms such as Android, probably gave less value to Apple Arcade.
With the new launch last week, Apple not only brought several original titles, but fundamentally changed policy. Many of the new titles available now on Apple Arcade can also be found on the App Store and Android, among those games that have made the history of the mobile sector.
Let’s take a very simple title like “Threes!”. This copy of the famous 2048 has had a great success on the stores, but costs € 6.99 on the App Store and is also available on Android. It is that classic game that adds value to Apple Arcade (famous, perfect for mobile devices, fun), but which was previously not allowed by the old rules. Technically, the Apple Arcade version is a separate app called “Threes! +”, Because the exact same game cannot exist in two places in the App Store at two different prices. But it is in effect the same title.