Apple’s Strategy Shift to Retain Subscribers means Canceling some Arcade Games

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Apple cancels some Arcade games as a strategy to better retain its subscribers. 

Apple Inc. decided to shift the strategy of its Apple Arcade service by canceling some contracts for games that were being developed and shifted its focus on finding other titles that the company thinks will help better retain subscribers. 

Earlier this year, the company canceled development contracts with a few game studios and informed them of its new strategy, according to people familiar with the story. 

On mid-April, an Apple Arcade creative producer warned the developers the company was working with that the games they are working on don’t have the level of engagement that the company is expecting. The company is increasingly showing interest in game titles that will make users hooked so that they stay beyond the free trial of the service. 

Apple Arcade is struggling to keep users hooked 

The video game subscription service from Apple Inc. was launched in September 2019 with a one-month free trial after which it charges $4.99 a month. The service provides unlimited access to a wide range of games, including some games that support hardware controllers. 

Since it was released, the game service won a lot of praise from game critics thanks to its approach to promoting its titles. The Arcade titles don’t promote intrusive ads and also don’t push players to keep on playing to win or to progress in the game. 

The video subscription service releases new games every month. However, although the service is already home to more than 120 titles, none of them has become a significant hit. According to developers, the strategy shift hasn’t changed subscriber growth that much. Yet, the company hasn’t made any official announcement on how its game service is performing, but recently, the service started to offer a second free trial month to users. We guess that some users don’t remain subscribers after the free trial and the company is trying to get them hooked with another month of its service for free. 

Apple’s efforts to make Apple Arcade a hit  

Since it was launched in September last year, Apple has made great efforts to make its game service a hit. It invested tens of millions of dollars to support the creation of games for the service and has also spent $1 million to $5 million so far for several titles. 

Moreover, the company claims that its forever strategy is to make adjustments to its game service lineup based on the feedback it gets from its subscribers. 

Thus, in April, when the Apple Arcade representative sensed that the service isn’t performing well in terms of retaining subscribers, the company decided to make some changes and add more engaging games to its lineup. 

As a result, the company canceled a few of its contracts with multiple developers which were developing games that the company believes that won’t bring the level of engagement that it’s seeking from its subscribers. However, the company told developers that future work might happen for titles that will meet the company’s new requirements.