Apple Arcade: 3 years later

Apple Arcade: 3 years later

Apple Arcade

These days the third anniversary of the presentation of Apple Arcade occurs: it was March 25, 2019 when Apple amazed the world (but not so much the fans, given the rumors that have been going on for some time about it) with a grand entrance into the world of video games through a subscription service dedicated to its iOS platforms, but not only.

Two and a half years after its launch and more than 200 games launched within the catalog later, we can begin to outline a bit 'the results obtained by the Cupertino company with its particular project, although it is not easy to have precise ideas given that the numbers released are still very incomplete.

First, we specify that we are talking about three years since its first announcement: the actual launch of the service took place in September of the same year, therefore the third anniversary of Apple Arcade will only take place in September 2022, but it is still an anniversary to remember. On the other hand, enough time has passed to attempt an initial assessment of this Apple initiative, which in the meantime continues its path.

We do not have precise data regarding the amount of users subscribed to Apple Arcade, and this is a very important lack if you want to have an idea of ​​the success of the initiative and its impact on the market, but the fact that it continues to expand should be a clear sign of the success of the operation. On the other hand, the cold numbers do not exhaust the discourse, which also includes the influences of a different production model within the mobile landscape.

The beginnings and exclusive productions

Fantasian: an image of the game by Hironobu Sakaguchi, father of Final Fantasy In March 2019, Apple Arcade really seemed to usher in a new season for the home of Cupertino, which until that moment had never considered the videogame market much, except for the curious and unfortunate paranthesis of the now mythological Pippin with Bandai. With the size now reached by this market segment, many were aiming at Apple's entry into this area and the launch of Arcade seemed to be the solution adopted to be able to have their say, without necessarily having to propose themselves as a dedicated hardware manufacturer or as a publisher. actual third party.

The ideal solution was to focus on the iOS and iPadOS universe, thanks to a huge user base and already well established in the use of video games, given the size reached by the mobile market. Apple Arcade then presented itself as a very promising program for developers and the 500 million dollars invested in the launch games were a clear confirmation of this. function ready (fn) {if (document.readyState! = 'loading') {fn ()} else {document.addEventListener ('DOMContentLoaded', fn)}} ready (function () {window.addEventListener ('message', function (event) {let target_origin = ''; if (event.origin! == target_origin) return; if (typeof == "object" && ( "type") && == "embaff") {let embed_id =; if (embed_id == '624') {document.querySelector ('#_ aff_embed_624'). setAttribute ('height ',;}}}, false);}) More than a simple way to access a large catalog of games in a relatively convenient way, given the rather low price of 4.99 euros per month, the interesting aspect was the evident desire to create a real development environment: Apple actively invested in production of games, providing economic and technological support to more or less independent teams, moreover with a certain attention to the originality of the ideas and the quality of the titles. Games such as Fantasian by Hironobu Sakaguchi and Mistwalker, Shinsekai: Into The Depths by Capcom, Sayonara Wild Hearts by Annapurna, The Last Campfire by Hello Games, The Pathless and Beyond a Steel Sky showed a considerable ferment of ideas, without neglecting strategic planning. in offering different genres and games suitable for many different tastes, taking into account the size of the audience to which iOS devices are addressed, also in demographic terms.

Transformations and trends

The Last Campfire: an image of the game by Hello Games, authors of No Man's Sky Apple made it clear from the beginning that his project was not about putting himself on the same level as console producers: the Arcade plan is always was set on the mobile dimension, rather far from the triple A scale of games for consoles and PCs, in line with the style of use that characterizes iOS and iPadOS devices. From this point of view, there is a notable coherence in the evolution of the service, which has continued on this philosophy without deviating from the initial guidelines. For those who expected, therefore, an entry into the field of a new and powerful competitor to upset the equilibrium established in the videogame market, the results after even two and a half years could seem disappointing, but we must always consider how the mobile market is actually enormous. and the choice to focus exclusively on this is far from limiting.

However, there is no doubt that there has also been a downsizing on the part of Apple, at least as regards the push to produce exclusives: after the first florilege of original productions, which showed a truly remarkable average level from a qualitative point of view, the panorama has begun to change and normalize, with a catalog that remains expanding but probably less lively and active than the original one.

World's End Club: an image of the game by Too Kyo Games that also demonstrates the attention to the Japanese landscape of Apple Arcade From the 70 games proposed at launch, already towards the end of 2019 there were over 100 in the catalog, about 150 a year later and 200 games according to the latest official tally released in September 2021, on the occasion of the second anniversary of Apple Arcade. In the meantime, similar to what happens with other subscription services, the releases have been organized through a new cataloging in "Originals", "Timeless Classics" and "App Store Greats" and the basic principle continues to be the will to contact to a wider and more variegated audience as possible, even if the attention and care shown in the choice of the initial productions seem to have been somewhat lost, in favor of a regular flow of titles that now allows even fairly anonymous games to pass.

Positive Influences

Disney Melee Mania, in the image, is a MOBA that seems built for microtransactions, but has none. are somewhat lowered, even in a physiological way, some undoubtedly positive principles of Apple Arcade remain, which have brought beneficial influences to the entire mobile market. A fundamental aspect to keep in mind regarding the catalog of the service is that all the games present are in fact "premium" titles, ie complete and without forms of microtransactions or in-app purchases inherent in the gameplay structure itself. It is an aspect that may seem secondary but, in a market such as the mobile one, it ends up being characterized by the gaming experience of an entire platform: for years we have witnessed - and still today - the spread of productions built specifically for push to compulsive purchases, with the construction of new genres based precisely on these principles, such as RPGs with gacha elements and the like.

In light of this, it is clear how a service that places among its basic principles the the fact of proposing games that do not require further outlays or perverse mechanisms of various kinds represents a breaking point for the mobile market, which, although not intended to change the general structure of the mobile market and its trends, can always constitute a sort of port safe for those looking for complete gaming experiences without hidden pitfalls, since the return to the "premium" gaming experience has long been invoked.

Sayonara Wild Hearts, in the image, is a musical game that remains among the best in the genre Another feature in favor of the user experience is also the uniformity with which the titles are presented within the catalog: with the assured compatibility for the most common controllers and the various alternative solutions, the use of even more "console" style titles is facilitated, as well as the possibility to play directly from Mac which was introduced with the Apple service extension Arcade to MacOS platforms. Faced with the typical fragmentation of a market as vast as the mobile one, the introduction of some standardized technical characteristics such as these represent undoubtedly positive elements.

Future prospects, between emulators and competitors

What the Golf? An image of one of the major Apple Arcade phenomena There is no doubt that Apple Arcade is languishing a bit recently, if compared with the attitude it had instead in its first year of life, but given the centrality of iOS and iPadOS devices for the home. of Cupertino and the importance of video games in the mobile market, which by far represent the main items of expenditure by users, we can consider the future of the service quite secure. On the other hand, although perhaps they are not destined to become dominant, subscription services in this area are proving to be increasingly popular and appreciated, starting with the famous Xbox Game Pass on consoles. From this point of view, emulators and competitors are also emerging in the specific mobile sector, which could revive the situation a bit.

One of the first was Google Play Pass, an obvious direct rival of Apple Arcade in the field. Android. It can count on a catalog of considerable breadth but the main difference is the fact of being a less well-kept list of games, a somewhat shapeless selection made from the gigantic total of games on Google Play. Perhaps a more challenging opponent could be Netflix, which recently started rolling out mobile games as add-ons to its video subscription.

Card of Darkness, in the image, is an excellent example of the originality that characterized the first Apple Arcade games Although in this case the catalog is extremely limited, the approach of the streaming giant is very interesting because , unlike the others and in a more similar way to the console area, it is carrying out team acquisitions in order to guarantee a constant supply of original and probably exclusive productions.

This last point is what it is richer in perspectives, also for the possible influences on Apple Arcade: after the initial push in which the service seemed a sort of laboratory of ideas and an ideal channel for the production of new indie games aimed at quality and originality, this impulse seems to have worn off somewhat in the following months. At the moment there are no signs of a possible expansion of Apple in the field of videogame development, but it would certainly be interesting if the company decided to make team acquisitions, or at least if it started solid and significant collaborations with developers on a more regular basis. in order to allow the arrival of a greater quantity of titles and with more peculiar characterizations.

Have you noticed any errors?

Powered by Blogger.