Developers Think Apple Arcade is Dying Because Apple Doesn’t Respect Gaming

Apple Arcade Dying
Image Courtesy: Mohit Singh/Beebom
In Short
  • Developers have voiced their concerns about Apple's misplaced priorities in gaming.
  • Apple Arcade's payments to developers are declining and so is the bonus pool. Moreover, Apple is reluctant to approve a project unless it comes from a well-known developer.
  • It is highly likely that Apple is planning a reboot of Apple Arcade as it did previously in 2021.

Services is a growing category for Apple if we look at the rising revenue over the past few years. Apple’s investments in TV and Music have grown considerably, from bagging exclusive TV rights for Major League Soccer for a huge sum of $2.5 billion to announcing 10% additional royalties for songs with spatial audio. However, there is one product that Apple has been ignoring for a long time now and it seems to be dying, at least what developers believe. According to the latest report, game developers smell death around Apple Arcade.

Apple announced the Apple Arcade subscription service in 2019 and it became an enticing platform for game developers quite quickly. During its initial days, Apple was offering generous payments to developers and there were per-play payments as well to attract more developers to contribute to the service.

Apple Arcade
Image Courtesy: Apple

According to, several game developers have voiced their concerns about the deteriorating state of Apple Arcade. As per a source, payouts for gaming titles have been falling for some years now and there are very few gaming titles that are being accepted by Apple. Developers allege that Apple is reluctant to greenlit a title unless it comes from a well-known “family friendly IP”.

The decline started around October 2020 when Apple Arcade’s per-play ‘bonus pool started shrinking. In the spring of 2021 when Apple planned a reboot of its gaming subscription service, it canceled a host of projects which irked several developers.

A major reason why developers are vexed with the company is because they’ve not been open about about the strategy shift around gaming. When questioned by developers about declining payments, the company has been more or less mute. A major gripe of the developers is that Apple doesn’t really disclose how it calculates bonus pool payments.

“One studio boss told us that after months of glowing feedback on one particular game, the Arcade team suddenly withdrew its interest in the title, citing a change in strategy. When the developer asked for feedback and offered to reduce the budget and re-tool the game to better fit Apple’s needs, the Arcade team simply stopped responding to their emails.”

As of now, Apple’s focus is only on family-friendly titles coming from well-known developers. Additionally, Apple also offers one or two ‘App Store greats’ per month. However, the new Apple Arcade games are simply repurposed games sans ads and promotions.

Multiple developers are concerned about the future of Apple Arcade. A game developer said, “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.”

Netflix’s entry into the gaming scape has worsened the situation for Apple. Currently, Netflix is paying generous upfront payments to game developers and the video streaming company is easier to work with as compared to Apple, claimed developers.

A studio boss said that Apple has no passion and respect for games which is clearly shown in the stark difference in the strategy they have adopted for gaming and music and TV.

“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.”

As the situation is worsening, many believe that Apple is gearing up for another reboot but things are not looking positive for the gaming subscription service as of now.

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