Although the subscription business model is now the norm for videos and music, it has yet to catch on in the gaming industry. This is especially true on mobile, where the quality of games and their prices make paying a monthly fee seem ridiculous. That’s why, even for Apple, Apple Arcade was a bold and risky move — and, for a time, it appeared to be quite successful. However, as with many other streaming services, particularly video platforms, titles come and go, sometimes quietly. Following in the footsteps of Netflix, Apple appears to be publicly listing games that will be leaving its subscription service, which raises some concerns about what happens when an Apple Arcade title is removed.
It isn’t necessary, but it has become common practice for videos and now games to leave certain platforms after a certain period of time. This could be due to the expiration of a license agreement or a period of exclusivity. On the one hand, this implies that a game or video could be made available on other platforms, reaching a larger audience. On the other hand, they can sometimes simply vanish.
In the past, Apple Arcade has said goodbye to some exclusive titles, but only one or two games have left at a time. That isn’t the case this time, as Apple has added a new Leaving Soon tab to Arcade, alerting subscribers to titles that will be removed in the near future. Based on that section, it appears that up to 15 titles will be pulled, possibly all at once (via TouchArcade).
New Apple Arcade section raises some big questions
“Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree,” “BattleSky Brigade: Harpooner,” “Cardpocalypse,” “Dead End Job,” “Don’t Bug Me!,” “Dread Nautical,” “EarthNight,” “Explottens,” and other titles can be found under the new Leaving Arcade Soon tab. So far, Apple has not stated when these titles will be removed or if they will be removed all at once. There could be a new support document or announcement coming soon, but for the time being, there is complete silence.
However, there are more serious concerns about these and future games leaving the service. Will these titles be available for full purchase in the App Store, or will they simply vanish? Will game save data be restored if they are sold separately later, or will that information be lost forever? Although games have previously left Apple Arcade, this is the first time such a large number has been listed, so naturally, there are concerns about the titles’ future.
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The availability of games after Apple Arcade may be case-by-case, but it would be helpful if Apple provided some guidance on how it will handle the transition. Better yet, similar to what Xbox does, it could offer discounts to subscribers who want to purchase the full game. There are certainly many unanswered questions, particularly about the overall future of Apple Arcade, and subscribers may want to keep an eye on what could be the start of major changes to the service.