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Mobile devs worried that Apple Arcade is dying

Multiple studios shared their concerns that Apple Arcade might be dying, citing reluctance to invest in original IP and poor communication.

Apple Arcade dying: A graphic of an iPad with a Hello KItty Island Adventure spring picture on it, overlaid on an Apple Arcade red background

Testimonies from a number of game developers suggest that Apple Arcade may be dying, taking hundreds of premium mobile games with it. Axed projects, confusing marketing pivots, and decreasing payouts for devs all contribute to the growing uncertainty around the platform’s future.

Thanks to mobilegamer.biz’s insider sources, we’ve had a peek under the hood of Apple Arcade, the tech giant’s mobile gaming subscription service, and found that it’s in need of more than just a simple oil change. Since the service’s launch in 2019, it’s undergone a soft reboot and developers report receiving slowly declining payouts for their games.

One source specifically called out Apple’s unwillingness to greenlight original projects for the service “unless they are attached to a big family-friendly IP.” We’ve seen this with Tamagotchi Adventure Kingdom taking the spotlight for Apple Arcade’s January 2024 releases and the ongoing support for Hello Kitty Island Adventure. The majority of publicized games on the platform are “plus” versions of existing premium games like Gris, Monument Valley, and Dead Cells.

According to mobilegamer.biz, “What the Car is one of few original indie games left on Apple Arcade to receive notable marketing support,” and several studios describe Apple’s team as “unpredictable and demanding to work with.” Devs also report needing a six-week lead time to get a single tweet promoting their game, whereas the family-friendly IP titles receive constant support. For example, at the time of writing, Hello Kitty Island Adventure appeared on Apple Arcade’s Twitter at least four times in the past two months.

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Other mobile subscription services like Netflix Games and Google Play Pass make the market increasingly competitive, so if these negative trends continue, it wouldn’t be surprising to see studios jump ship.

That’s everything we’ve heard so far about Apple Arcade dying. While the service is still around, make sure you check out our picks for the best Apple Arcade games next. Or, if you’re still left asking, “What is Apple Arcade?,” we’ve got a guide for that too.