Several sources told the paper that Apple is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure that the best games come to Arcade, and crucially that they are also coming with a window of exclusivity to give the company an advantage over Android, and fully-fledged games consoles.
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The report states that Apple is offering incentives to developers who agree to release their titles exclusively on Arcade, although it adds that they will be free to publish on console after a few months of Apple-only publishing.
The Financial Times understands this is “several million each on most of the more than 100 games,” meaning a total budget estimated to be over $500 million. That may sound like a small amount for a company of Apple’s enormous resources, but remember that the company stated that it’s TV+ original content only had a budget of $1 billion, and a different picture is painted.
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Whether that gamble will pay off remains to be seen. While the move is broadly approved of by games communities as a way of pushing back against aggressive free-to-play models by allowing long-form, narrative and culturally important games to survive, it’s unclear whether the titles will have the draw to pull in a generation of mobile gamers used to getting their fix for free, or for 79p. One games industry executive wonders if the push of indie games above all else will pay off, telling the Financial Times that “it’s Sideways, not Marvel.”
Much will depend on pricing, and as yet Apple hasn’t published any details over how much Arcade will set you back each month.
Is Apple on the right track with a subscription games model or are people just not prepared to pay any more? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.