The mobile gaming industry is in a tough spot. As free-to-play games have overtaken their premium brethren, the design of those games has changed—and not necessarily for the better. The newly announced Apple Arcade aims to improve iOS’ gaming ecosystem by providing a paid subscription service filled with quality, premium, offline games. But will it work?
When game developers discovered that free-to-play games—laden with enticing microtransactions—made more money than pay-once premium games, the industry started to shift. Now, most of the big-budget games in the App Store are free to play, but are excessively grind-y or limiting, encouraging you to buy in-app purchases that make it faster to progress. This doesn’t exactly make for a fun, engaging experience, but if a developer can get even a small number of players to shell out large amounts of cash, they can make more money than they did with the $5 premium games of yore.