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Last month, we saw the upcoming Apple Arcade unveiled on stage to much excitement, with Apple promising a monthly subscription service that would grant all-you-can-play access to dozens of premium games. The service, Apple says, is designed as a counterpoint to the rise of low-quality freemium games filled with ads and IAPs. Arcade, in theory, will be the polar opposite.
According to a report from the Financial Times, Apple is pretty serious about those claims – it’s investing a pretty big chunk of cash into its Arcade service. Several million dollars per game, which for a suite of more than 100 new games adds up to over $500 million in total.
That money will allow developers to focus their efforts on making great games, without the pressure of monetization or sales to worry about. Apple has a few big names on board, but it’s really supporting the indie games industry with this move, allowing dozens of games to be made that might never exist without its funding. In return, Apple will take the lion’s share of the profits from the subscription service, with developers making a small ongoing kickback based on the time spent in their games.
9to5Mac fills in a few details about the exclusivity of these games, something that was left rather vague following Apple’s initial announcement. Reportedly, Arcade games will be “mobile exclusives,” meaning they won’t be sold separately on the App Store, and they won’t be available on other platforms like Android’s Play Store, either. However, Apple will allow developers to sell their games on other platforms, such as conventional games consoles.
That goes to show that Apple isn’t trying to compete with the entire games industry, but does want to get one-up on rival Android smartphones and prove it’s the best platform for anyone interested in high-quality mobile games.
Apple is clearly betting big on its services, with billions spent already on original TV projects. Apple Arcade launches later this year, though the pricing has yet to be revealed. If it follows in the footsteps of Apple Music and Apple News+, you can expect $9.99/month, though we wouldn’t be surprised if Arcade was pitched a little higher.