A new report from the Financial Times claims Apple is throwing big bucks to set up a robust Apple Arcade library, potentially even enticing developers with bonuses to make their titles temporary exclusives to the service before rolling out versions for Android.
The report details how far the Cupertino brand is willing to go to eke out a strong lineup of games to encourage players to subscribe to Arcade. Unveiled this past March, Arcade lets gamers play anything within its library for a set monthly fee.
Games will have no additional purchases or upsell, no limited levels, and most importantly, no ads. These games will be available across iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, and Macs, and they'll have cross-platform sync for save progress via iCloud. They're downloaded and installed on the device, not streamed, which means they can be played offline.
It sounds promising, but clearly Apple needs a strong game portfolio for Arcade to be successful. The report says it's spending "several million dollars each" on more than 100 titles, which puts Apple Arcade's budget in excess of $500 million. Apple is offering additional incentives for developers if their game remains exclusive to the service.
According to another report, all Apple Arcade games will not be offered on the Google Play Store. The deal is essentially "mobile exclusive," which means developers would still be allowed to release versions of their game on consoles such as Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch, just not on Android.
Additionally, Apple Arcade games will not be offered on the App Store as normal downloads.
When Apple announced this service, it mentioned big names such as Sonic and Lego being involved. Mostly, though, the company focused on indie titles. There's no telling if Arcade could become successful. But it's an interesting take on the concept of video game streaming, minus the "streaming" part. Besides funding efforts, Apple is also believed to be assisting with engineering and helping developers deploy their game engines across Apple's operating systems.
With $1 million to $3 million advances paid upfront, developers will be able to invest toward high-quality games without worrying about money.
As for the revenue model, it's believed developers will receive an ongoing stream based on how much time users spend playing their games.
Apple Arcade launches this fall, likely bundled with the inevitable iOS 13 update. Pricing hasn't been announced yet. Analyst expect it to cost $9.99 a month, similar to the Apple News+ service.