I’m chuffed about today’s news from Cheddar’s Alex Heath, who reports that Apple is building a game subscription service.
Details are pretty scant right now: all we know is that you’ll be able to pay a monthly fee to access a bundle of titles, à la Netflix; the report doesn’t specify, but it’s almost certainly going to be for iOS rather than macOS (the former has way more games, and a significantly larger user base). And I can’t wait.
Apple is believed to be interested in this model because it offers developers of premium games arguably a better way to earn revenue than through outright purchases in the current mobile gaming market. That means better quality games for discerning players, with a mode of payment that more people can get on board with.
I’m into this because I generally prefer single-player titles to multiplayer ones; I enjoy well-crafted stories and puzzles more than competitive action. As such, the majority of my spending on mobile games is on standalone titles, and not in-app purchases. So if there’s a way for Apple to serve up more premium games on my phone, count me in.
The news of Apple’s new venture comes at a time when several major tech companies and game publishers are working on ways to stream titles to your device, so you don’t a high-end PC or console, and won’t have to download and install them before playing.
This is less of an issue with mobile titles that have smaller file sizes and are generally optimized to run on a wide range of devices, so I don’t expect Apple to build this functionality into its subscription offering. However, it sounds like these other services could get more people used to the idea of paying a monthly fee for access to games, and pave the way for Apple’s offering.
It could also prove lucrative for Apple, as its services sector is currently the company’s fastest growing business segment. The company is hoping to grow its revenue from services (which includes Apple Music, iCloud storage, and the like) by a little over $10 billion from 2018 to reach a target of $50 billion by 2020. It’ll be interesting to see if the mobile gaming ecosystem has evolved enough to contribute significantly to that figure in the near future.
Your move, Google.