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Report: Apple scraps deals with some Apple Arcade devs in pursuit of more engagement

Apple is reportedly moving toward a retention-focused revamp of Apple Arcade’s future library, a shift that seems to indicate the $5 per month subscription isn’t sticking quite as well as the company had hoped.

Apple is reportedly moving toward a retention-focused revamp of Apple Arcade’s future game lineup, a shift that seems to indicate the $5 per month subscription isn’t sticking quite as well as the company had hoped.

According to sources speaking to Bloomberg, Apple reached out to a number of developers it had previously pursued for Apple Arcade exclusives to cancel their agreements due to those titles lacking enough of a hook to lure and retain subscribers.

For Apple, those in-development titles lacked the level of Grindstone-like engagement it was after, implying that it'll chase games with some hook to keep subscribers coming back for more day after day (thus requiring them to keep an active Apple Arcade subscription).

Those sources say suddenly losing out on their contracts with Apple one month into the coronavirus pandemic made for a financial crisis, despite the fact that Apple still reportedly paid developers for the milestones they’d already achieved.

Apple Arcade itself launched in September 2019, angling itself as a $5-per-month subscription library filled with premium-caliber, ad-free, and, in some cases, exclusive mobile games. That library has continued to grow in the months since its debut and currently boasts around 120 titles, though the experiences of Bloomberg’s sources suggest that setup hasn’t quite kept paying subscribers around month after month. 

While the shift looks to only be happening behind the scenes for the time being, a portion of Apple’s statement to the publication notes that “the vision has always been to grow and evolve the Apple Arcade catalog, and we can’t wait for our users to try the games developers are working on now.”
 

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