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Report: Apple plots subscription service for games

Report: Apple plots subscription service for games

Tech giant Apple is plotting a new subscription serviced for games, according to a report.

Five people “familiar with the matter” have told Cheddar of the alleged plans, stating it would work much like Netflix does for TV and film. There, users pay a set monthly or annual fee to consume all the content they want.

Apple is said to have already begun privately talking to developers as of the second half of 2018.

On top of that, the report claims the iOS giant could also act as a publisher for developers. It’s not quite clear exactly what this would mean in practical terms for studios.

While it could mean developers will not have to fork out for high user acquisition costs, for example, exactly how much promotion a game would get and what the terms of such a deal would be pose big questions.

It's also not clear yet if the service would provide a platform solely for premium games - since free-to-play games are already easily accessible on the App Store - and if it would utilise streaming technology.

A close example to a platform that already does this on mobile is Hatch, backed by Rovio. Paid, ad-free subscription for this service is planned for the coming months.

Apple already offers better revenue splits for subscriptions than it does typical in-app purchases. For the former, after one year Apple drops its cut to 15 per cent, while for IAPs it takes a consistent 30 per cent share.

Growing services

If reports are to be believed, Apple appears to be moving toward streaming on a number of fronts. It already has Apple Music, while a video streaming service is also said to be in the works.

Apple is likely looking for ways to boost its services revenue as hardware sales plateau. Earlier in January Apple CEO Tim Cook said China’s economic slowdown, combined with fewer iPhone users picking up regular upgrades, had impacted its financials.

It all caused the firm to revise its guidance to investors for the first time in over 15 years. Apple remains hugely profitable, however.

Services meanwhile hit an all-time high in China, despite the economic slowdown in the country. Globally, App Store users spent $1.5 billion on games and apps between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. On January 1st 2019 alone, customers spend $322 million, which marked a record for single-day sales.


Senior Editor

Craig Chapple is Senior Editor of PocketGamer.biz and InfluencerUpdate.biz. He was previously Deputy Editor at Develop and Online Editor at Nintendo of Europe.

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