Apple has scrapped contracts for some in-development games planned for its Apple Arcade subscription service, shifting its focus to titles that it feels stand a better chance of retaining subscribers. That's according to a Bloomberg report from earlier today.
Apple is said to have contacted developers in mid-April to tell them that their games didn't offer the level of "engagement" now being sought after. Some developers whose contracts were cancelled have since faced financial woes, though these studios were paid based on the development milestones achieved up to that point.
Many of Apple Arcade's games have been single-player experiences with brief runtimes and limited replayability (neither is inherently a bad thing, mind). With an Apple representative having listed Grindstone as a game that meets the new requirements, it's quite clear that the likes of Sayonara Wild Hearts, Manifold Garden, Mutazione, and the recently released Beyond a Steel Sky likely aren't the types of games we'll be seeing from the service going forward.
While many of the above titles are genuinely terrific, the reality is that you could quite easily subscribe for a single month (or nab yourself a free trial) and blast through the lot. So it makes sense that Apple has decided to switch its attention to games with naturally longer tails
That being said, many of the service's single-player offerings have regularly put out fresh content for free, including Neo Cab, Over the Alps, and Oceanhorn 2. The latter two still have single-player content in the works for later this year, though it should be noted that Over the Alps is also available on Steam and that Oceanhorn 2 is likely headed to Nintendo Switch.
While none of this comes as a major surprise, it still stings and has me concerned that this attempted saviour of premium mobile gaming will now turn away some of the most interesting titles of all.