Developers losing faith in Apple Arcade, new report says getting support like 'squeezing blood from a stone'

Apple Arcade game promo
(Image credit: Apple)

A gaming service lives and dies by its developers, and it’s a worrying sign for Apple Arcade that the people who make its games aren’t pleased with how the service is being run.

Apple Arcade, to those who pay for it, is almost like the Xbox Game Pass of mobile games — a collection of cool titles that you can play on your iPhone for a small monthly subscription. 

For developers, however, it seems like it’s becoming more and more of a nightmare as time moves on, with a new report from revealing considerable discontent among Apple Arcade’s game development partners.

Delays, cancellations, and more’s article paints a grim picture of the state of Apple Arcade — one that’s very different from the sparkly videos and impressive best Apple Arcade game awards that Apple pumps out every year. One of the biggest issues that developers apparently face is regarding payouts from Apple, as developers receive less and less kickback from the games that they publish on the service.

Apple is choosy about the games as well, avoiding new games for the Arcade’s library “unless they are attached to a big family-friendly IP”. Developers that talked to also say is difficult working with Apple even at the best of times. Some even went on to say that Apple is “‘famously vindictive’ and ‘spiteful’ in its dealings with developers.” Not a good look for the firm.

Bonuses from the service have dropped, while getting recognized and supported on the App Store’s Arcade tab is “like squeezing blood from a stone” — the list goes on, and the complaints are many and detailed.

Developers are also moving in droves to Netflix’s game streaming service, taking what games would have gone to Apple to a new platform that seems to pay better. Developers who do this aren’t in Apple’s good books, with the firm treating them worse once they’ve started offering their game on the alternative. Developers are finding Netflix easier to work with — something that takes the edge off the service's lack of bonus payments.

Not all of it is doom and gloom however: There are still some developers happy with the service, stating that it got their game in front of more users than it would have otherwise seen in what has become a packed marketplace. However, they seem to be the minority, if’s article is anything to go by — and that’s a concern.

The future of Apple Arcade

Apple would have you believe that Apple Arcade is a massive success, citing 200+ games, a lack of ads, and playing offline as boons for users. Those making content for the service, however, reckon that Apple Arcade is on the way out — that there’s a “smell of death” hanging over Apple’s mobile gaming service.

Some wonder if it means that Apple will reboot the service, and make it something new to garner more interest in the service from users.

Without seeing numbers, it’s hard to know for sure what’s going on — but there is a significant enough number of developers hard done by to wonder what will become of Apple Arcade.

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Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.