Apple Arcade faces developer backlash over payments, transparency

In recent years, Apple Arcade, Apple’s game subscription service, has faced growing criticism and concerns from game developers regarding declining payments and uncertainty about the service’s future. A series of reports from various sources have shed light on these issues, painting a complex picture of the challenges faced by both developers and the platform itself.

Apple Arcade

Will Apple Arcade survive? The struggle to attract and retain developers in a competitive market

According to reports cited by, payments made to game developers for their Apple Arcade releases have seen a significant decline over the years. This decline encompasses both upfront payments for new releases and the “bonus pool” payments, which are tied to a metric known as a “qualifying session.” However, the exact calculation of this metric remains opaque, leaving developers unsure about how to address their concerns with Apple.

As one developer expressed, the lack of transparency surrounding these payments makes it difficult for developers to understand why their earnings are decreasing. This uncertainty has led to concerns about the long-term viability of releasing games on Apple Arcade, with some developers fearing that the platform may become less financially viable in the future.

Reports also suggest a shift in Apple Arcade’s strategy, with a focus on commissioning family-friendly games with prominent intellectual property (IP) attached. This shift has reportedly led to the cancellation of projects and a decrease in support for original games that don’t meet these criteria. Developers have expressed frustration with Apple’s apparent lack of clarity and communication regarding these changes, with some describing the service as having the “smell of death.”

Apple Arcade - August

Furthermore, developers have highlighted challenges in obtaining marketing support and features on the App Store, even when their games are struggling to gain traction on Apple Arcade. The difficulty in securing features from Apple has added to developers’ concerns about the platform’s support for their games.

The emergence of competition from Netflix’s gaming subscription service has added another layer of uncertainty to Apple Arcade’s future. While some developers view Netflix’s entry into the market as a positive force that could incentivize Apple to improve its service, others worry about the potential impact of competing with a platform that offers different payment structures and terms.

Netflix games

Despite the challenges and concerns surrounding Apple Arcade, some developers remain optimistic about the platform’s potential. They acknowledge the platform’s role in making premium games viable on mobile devices and hope that Apple will address the issues raised by developers to ensure the long-term success of the service.

About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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