According to a new report by Jason Schrier and Mark Gurman on Bloomberg, Apple appears to be changing its strategy with the games it is seeking for Apple Arcade. Speaking with sources close to the situation in their report they share that an Apple Arcade executive has told several developers that their games didn't have the level of 'engagement' that Apple is seeking.
According to the report, Apple is focusing more on titles that will keep players hooked, and stay subscribed after the free trial of the service. While many mobile games use daily drip-feed rewards, progression gates, and other methods to keep players coming back, the Apple Arcade titles move away from pushing people to pay to make progress or similar engagement methods. While over 120 games have released on the platform, none of them have managed to be a breakout hit that drew subscribers to the platform en-masse.
As for what they are looking for in particular, Apple cited Capy Games' Grindstone, as a title that was doing well in engagement. Grindstone is an action-puzzler that resonated with audiences, and launched with 150 levels, with more having been added since launch. The high number of levels, combined with compelling gameplay has made it a game that subscribers come back to.
In a statement to Bloomberg, Apple said that it always planned to make changes to their Arcade lineup based on subscriber feedback. Spending up to $5 million per title, they stated that they believe that Apple Arcade redefined what a gaming service can be, and that Apple Arcade is the first mobile game subscription service with over 120 games.
With Apple increasingly banking on subscriptions for growth as smartphone sales plateau, it seems the company is figuring out what works for them in the subscription model. Lacking the internal studios of Microsoft or Sony to create high-quality first-party games, and the uphill struggle faced with redefining what mobile games can be, and that they should be paid for, it promises to be interesting to see where Apple goes from here.