Apple Canceling Some Apple Arcade Game Contracts to Focus on Hit Games That Will Draw Subscribers

Apple is shifting its Apple Arcade strategy and canceling contracts for some games while pursuing titles that it thinks will help it better retain subscribers, reports Bloomberg.


Apple earlier this year ended contracts with multiple game studios and let them know about its new approach to choosing games for the service. Some upcoming games Apple had planned to support didn’t have a high enough level of “engagement” as Apple is now looking for games that will “keep users hooked.”

In one call, Apple highlighted Grindstone as the type of game that it wants to see on the platform. Grindstone is a multi-level match-3 puzzle game.

So far, no ‌Apple Arcade‌ games have become major hits, and there’s no word on how well ‌Apple Arcade‌ is doing. Some developers have speculated that Apple’s strategy change indicates subscriber growth is weaker than expected, and Apple also recently began offering some people a second free trial month, which perhaps suggests that users aren’t remaining subscribers for a long enough period of time.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Apple said that its vision has always been to try to “grow and evolve the ‌Apple Arcade‌ catalog” and that it has always planned to make changes to the game lineup based on feedback from subscribers.

“‌Apple Arcade‌ has redefined what a gaming service can be, putting unlimited play at the fingertips of subscribers and their families across all their Apple devices,” Apple said in a statement. “We are proud to have launched the first-ever mobile game subscription service that now features more than 120 games, many of which are award-winning and widely celebrated for their artistry and gameplay. The vision has always been to grow and evolve the ‌Apple Arcade‌ catalog, and we can’t wait for our users to try the games developers are working on now.”

Apple unveiled ‌Apple Arcade‌ in September 2019, pricing it at $4.99 per month. ‌Apple Arcade‌ games are available to all members of a family at that price point, and contain no ads or in-app purchases.

Since ‌Apple Arcade‌ launched, Apple has added new games on a near-weekly basis, and there are now more than 120 titles available. Apple has funded work on many games that have been created for ‌Apple Arcade‌, spending between $1 million and $5 million on several titles so far.