Apple Arcade’s latest additions show Apple is looking back, not forward

Zoom in / Vampire Survivors On iPhone. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it sure is addictive.

Samuel Axon

Apple recently announced new games coming to Apple Arcade, its gaming subscription service for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Vision Pro headphones. The headline is Vampire Survivorsa successful indie game that combined the gameplay of a shooter with the addictive quality of a clicker game to become a huge hit two years ago. It will also be released Temple Run: Legendsan updated version of the popular game from 2011.

Vampire Survivors The game was already available on the App Store, but it was ad-supported, with the option to spend in-app money for additional content. The Apple Arcade version, called Vampire Survivors+closer to the PC or Xbox versions that don’t have ads. Both paid expansions will be included at no additional cost.

while, Temple Run: Legends It is a completely new game (not just a remake of the original game) Being) which defies the “endless runner” label by breaking the gameplay down into individual levels – although there will be some sort of optional endless mode as well.

If you don’t play Vampire Survivors Before that, it was worth a try. Both titles will launch on August 1st.

Arcade may need some fresher, more adventurous choices.

These new additions are the latest in a long line of Apple Arcade titles that have been designed with a risk-averse, proof-of-concept mentality, more or less ensuring that the subscription service won’t have the kind of surprise hits that draw people to it.

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When Apple Arcade launched, its initial lineup was a nice mix of casual and indie games, some of which became popular on other platforms once Arcade’s exclusivity ended. However, there were early reports that Arcade wasn’t gaining the traction Apple had hoped for, so the company quickly changed course. It shifted to consistent, ongoing engagement as its primary metric for judging success, favoring games-as-a-service over standalone or narrative experiences. It began releasing games based primarily on established intellectual properties like Hello Kitty or Star Wars, as well as re-releasing games that had already proven successful elsewhere in the App Store.

Many of these new releases were more than a decade old, dating back to the early days of the App Store when premium titles were the norm and free games and free services weren’t.

This week, Apple launched a new game as a service on a mobile IP dating back to 2011, and it’s been a huge success after months of being out of print. I’m not saying that no one cares about the game or plays it. Vampire Survivors Now, imagine how much more iPhone owners would have been drawn to the Arcade if this product had been around when it first started making headlines.

It only took a short time for Apple to abandon its initial strategy of going with creative new developers who were showing off interesting work at events like IndieCade, and relying only on games that had already proven to be successful, intellectual property that had already proven to be popular, or experienced developers who had already made waves on the App Store. Apple probably didn’t give this strategy enough of a chance.

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What we have now is a secure subscription service that curates the best of what others have already discovered and (thankfully) excludes ads and microtransactions. That’s a good enough value proposition, especially for the price. But we’re unlikely to see big hits on Arcade that generate buzz among gamers, influencers, or the press because Apple is, for the most part, following the headlines with this service, not leading them.

This limits Arcade’s place in the landscape a bit, and limits its potential for growth. That’s not to say it’s not a good value for the right type of gamer, but it does mean that those looking to play the next best thing are likely to look elsewhere, and by the time something hits Arcade, they’ve moved on to the next trend. Your mileage may vary on whether this is right for you, but with increased competition from other mobile game subscription services, Apple may need to accommodate more types of gamers. A greater balance between proven hits and more experimental or ambitious games on other platforms could help it capture both categories.

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