Report says that Apple Arcade "smells like death"

Report says that Apple Arcade "smells like death"
A report from (via AndroidAuthority) says that game developers are worried about Apple Arcade. One developer said there is "the smell of death" around Apple Arcade while other sources say to expect a reboot of the service to help it compete with Netflix's gaming service. The sources tell that payouts have been dropping for years and as a result, not too many new games are being approved.

Sources call Apple "famously vindictive" and "spiteful"

Another issue, say the sources, is Apple itself. Some sources accused Apple of being "famously vindictive" and "spiteful," but those adjectives were used to describe the tech giant after it discovered that some of the developers it has worked with on Apple Arcade have signed deals with Netflix's service. Not all of the chatter from these sources is bad as some developers said that they still have a positive relationship with the company.

For example, one company said that it would not exist without the support of Apple even though the latter can get demanding and unpredictable at times. Another developer said, "Despite its imperfections, we’re very very happy Arcade exists. It has made premium games viable on mobile." It could just be a case of these developers not wanting to bite the hand that feeds them and while Apple Arcade did do some positive things for their firms, the service is an old dog that isn't learning any new tricks. 

While there is talk of a reboot, as we noted, the last one in 2021 led Apple to cancel several projects drawing the ire of some developers including one who said that the tech giant "cancelled a shitload of projects and pissed off a lot of people."

One of the problems is that Apple has changed the focus of Arcade to games that the whole family can play. One developer, who received rave reviews from Apple on a particular title, said that the company suddenly changed its mind citing a change in strategy. The developer asked for feedback from Apple, promised to re-tool the game, and said he would lower the budget. But Apple never responded to him.

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And while we've already mentioned this, it bears repeating that developers detect "the smell of death" permeating throughout the air when they are around Apple Arcade. The head of one studio stated, "I got the sense they didn’t really know where they were going with it all – almost like they weren’t sure if they’d have jobs at the end of it."

The problem with Arcade starts at the top of Apple says one source

Apple has reportedly cut the advance fees it was paying for new games and bonus-pool payments have also decreased. "We’re going to see that amount decrease and decrease and decrease until it’s pennies," one developer said. "At that point putting a game on Arcade starts to become much less viable."

One source knows where the problem with Apple Arcade starts. "At the very top of the company there needs to be a passion and respect for games, and there just isn’t. It all depends on how much buy-in there is from those guys at the top, and I don’t think they really value Arcade or invest in it the same way you see them invest in music or TV."

Most developers are hoping that Netflix can put more pressure on Apple to help turn around Arcade. Another source said, "I really hope Netflix continues doing what they’re doing because it is requiring Apple to continue to try to be relevant and competitive. Google also needs to come to the space with something compelling – Google Play Pass is actually pretty good for developers, but is marketed terribly."

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