In April, Apple announced Apple Arcade, a video game streaming platform for Mac and mobile users. The company hopes that Arcade will be a dominant player in gaming subscription services. With Google and Amazon scrambling to establish their own services, Apple has reportedly put serious cash into Arcade. Estimates believe the budget to total nearly $500 million.
Apple Arcade boasts a confirmed total of 100 games for launch day. Developers that have already signed on to support the platform include Will Wright, of Sim City fame, and Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy franchise.
In addition to these established names, the company promises that Apple Arcade will provide greater exposure for indie games, giving smaller developers a major platform for representation.
However, while many people are excited about Apple’s new service, some developers have expressed concern. They fear that the model might actually hurt indie companies in the long run.
Smaller Studios Vs. Larger Studios
Mike Rose, the founder of indie game publisher No More Robots, believes subscription platforms will ultimately grow to a size where developers will have little say in a competition for a smaller pool of revenue. In a post on social media, Rose stated that he’s worried about the nature of revenue, in which companies are paid per hour played.
Little thread of potential horror:
I am getting very, very worried about the future of Netflix-like subscription models. In the last 6 months, I have been contact by over a dozen different services, who all want to put No More Robots games on their upcoming platforms.
— Mike Rose (@RaveofRavendale) February 6, 2019
“If bigger studios begin adopting this style of platform, which they already kind of are with things like Xbox Game Pass, Discord Nitro, etc., it forces smaller devs into a position where they may have to start being a part of these platforms.” Rose and other developers believe this would create a Spotify-like platform concept. If so, major studios with greater brand and exposure would make the majority of the profits, while indie developers and smaller studios would make less.
Apple’s Role in Indie Development
Others, however, see Apple Arcade as a benefit. Subscriptions would take the risk away from gamers to try newer and more innovative games. Sean Krankel, founder of indie company Night School Studio, believes more people will play his games as a result. “It’s awesome because our game is getting played by people who might not otherwise care about story games,” he said on social media.
Others counter that the pay-per-hour model might not be how Apple intends to pay developers. Competitors to Apple Arcade, such as Discord’s subscription service, Nitro, is known for paying developers to license their games. In addition, Apple also plans to contribute to development costs, giving independent developers more access to resources.
Apple Arcade – Coming Soon.
The Financial Times reports that Apple will pay for title exclusivity. By doing so, developers will allow their games to only be played on Arcade for a specific amount of time. Financial analysts believe Apple Arcade could be a multi-billion dollar business for the company in the future.
Soon, consumers will get to determine for themselves if Apple’s new platform is a plus for developers. At its Keynote, the company stated that Arcade will release in the fall of 2019.