File this one under things you probably didn’t ask for: At its conference today, Apple announced Apple Arcade, a multi-platform sub service “that will feature over 100 new and exclusive games, including original releases from renowned creators Hironobu Sakaguchi, Ken Wong, Will Wright and dozens more.” It looks to be competing more with existing console platform subs and exclusives than with Google’s recent Stadia announcement, though it too will be working alongside developers to help fund games.
“Paid games are often critically acclaimed and beloved by the people who play them, but competing with free is hard, so even the best of these games have only reached a smaller audience. With the simplicity of a single subscription, Apple Arcade will bring games like these to the App Store’s more than 1 billion gaming customers. Apple Arcade is the perfect complement to the already enormously popular catalog of free games on the App Store, making iOS the premier gaming platform for players of all ages.”
Expect it in fall 2019 on iOS, Macs, and Apple’s TV service.
Some online games developers are already taking a grim view on the turn in the market. Here’s former Diablo and Marvel Heroes dev David Brevik.
I'm very worried about the future of the gaming market. All of these services where developers get paid by the minute are going to have radical impacts on design motivations and predatory practices. If you thought Free-to-play was bad, you haven't seen anything yet.
— David Brevik (@davidbrevik) March 25, 2019