Technology

It Will Be a Shame If Apple Arcade Fails

If Apple wants Arcade to succeed, I think there is much more that they could do.

Anthony Lawrence
Jul 14, 2020 · 4 min read
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Photo by Korie Cull on Unsplash

Apple Arcade is Apple’s subscription game service. It currently costs $4.99 a month and can be shared with up to five family members. It has no ads, and none of the games are allowed to have in-app purchases. The games can be played on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV, including the ability to start on one device and continue on another. It supports many popular game controllers, including Xbox Wireless Controllers with Bluetooth, PlayStation DualShock 4, and MFi game controllers.

That all sounds great, but apparently, Arcade isn’t pulling its weight in Apple’s spreadsheets.

Recently, several tech news sites have reported that Apple is unhappy with the low numbers of people who have signed up after their free trial. To combat that, they are apparently pushing developers to create more “engaging” games; that is, they want games that will make people want to buy a subscription.

There’s more here than meets the eye. While Apple is supposedly paying big money to the Arcade developers, having a contract canceled might negate the value of that. A developer has to wonder if this is really such a good deal.

I am not a gamer or developer. I have played a few computer games from time to time, but I generally have other things I prefer to do. That may change someday; Augmented Reality glasses might change my mind, or my leisure time preferences could change as I get older. I do not subscribe to Apple Arcade, and I do not play any other games

Despite my current disinterest, I want Arcade to succeed. Part of that desire comes from being a stockholder, but I also feel that what Apple offers in Arcade is worthwhile and should enjoy more success.

Ensuring Success

It may be that Apple’s strategy of demanding games with more engagement will provide that success. However, I don’t think it’s enough. They need good games, of course, but they also need to attract players, and that is where I think they could do much better.

Multiplayer

Arcade does have multiplayer games. You might not know that from a quick scan of the Arcade page at the Apple site. Apple may assume that having multiplayer games is obvious, and experienced players would indeed assume so, but experienced people will be the hardest to attract to Arcade. The pitch to new players should spell everything out.

In-App Purchases

Speaking of spelling things out, Apple does mention “no in-app purchases.” Unless you are even less aware of gaming than I am, you know how annoying and expensive those in-app purchases can be. If you have children who play these games, you are very aware of that annoyance. Again, a new player, and especially a new player who is a parent, may not know this. Apple should play that up: “Unlike many other games, arcade games have no additional costs.”

Recording and Streaming

There is no reason that Arcade games cannot be recorded and streamed. In fact, people are doing that now. Streaming is a very important part of the most popular games; watching skilled players perform has become extremely popular.

Why isn’t Apple promoting this by showcasing the best players? Why aren’t they offering prizes to get the best players interested in the first place? Apple does have a “how-to” page for new Arcade players, but they could do much more.

How about having a “tricks and strategy” site and paying for the best submissions? Even better, why not contests?

“Show us your best tricks and get a chance to win a new MacBook Pro”

They’ve done that for photos, so it’s not at all out of character.

If Apple wants Arcade to succeed, I think there is much more that they could do. Most of the ideas I’ve presented here cost virtually nothing and could be implemented quickly. Apple Arcade is a good idea; they just need to promote it more.

Mac O’Clock

The best stories for Apple owners and enthusiasts

Anthony Lawrence

Written by

Retired Unix Consultant. Kicking back and enjoying writing now. Not seeking work, not selling anything. No longer responsible for my old aplawrence site.

Mac O’Clock

The best stories for Apple owners and enthusiasts

Anthony Lawrence

Written by

Retired Unix Consultant. Kicking back and enjoying writing now. Not seeking work, not selling anything. No longer responsible for my old aplawrence site.

Mac O’Clock

The best stories for Apple owners and enthusiasts

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