App Store drought continues as we wait for Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade

It has been a weird year for games on the App Store. There seems to be a shortage of quality titles each week, making selecting an App of the Week a difficult task. Perhaps developers are waiting for Apple's new subscription service Apple Arcade. If that is the case, it is going to be a long year for mobile gamers until the service is available in the fall.

Apple may be gambling on the App Store by offering the subscription service. For years they have allowed developers to condition their users to think they deserve everything for free. The race to the bottom mentality of freemium games and micro transactions have plagued the App Store from day one. After years of of not having to pay for games Apple now expects its users to pay a monthly fee.

Developers quickly discovered that it is a difficult task to convince users to pay a premium price for a game when so many other games are available for nothing. This has forced many to adopt the free-to-play model using in-app purchases to make their money. It is hard to release a quality title for $2.99 while freemium titles like Candy Crush are raking in millions. The big question is will developers switch their mentality and abandoned microtransactions for Apple's subscription service?

Another big question is will titles like Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm be an Apple Arcade exclusive? If the answer is yes, then the App Store may be in trouble. If all the quality titles are going to go behind Apple's paywall then the App Store will most likely be a graveyard of only free-to-play games.

It's hard to bet against Apple, but asking people to subscribe to yet another subscription service is asking a lot in 2019. There are so many other options such as Nintendo Switch Online, Steam and PlayStation Now. Apple is also competing against Netflix, Disney Plus and other subscription services including their own such as Apple Music and Apple TV+. If people aren't already willing to pay for mobile games why would they now be willing to pay a monthly fee, especially if free games are still availble on the App Store.

Hopefully Apple won't cannibalize their own App Store for those who are still willing to pay for the occasional premium title. I guess we will find out this fall.