Sat. Sep 24th, 2022

Yesterday, GameClub was launched, a subscription service that has been in development for a long time and overhauls older, outdated iPhone games for modern software and devices. Curated by former TouchArcade editor-in-chief Eli Hodapp — a prominent voice in the mobile games world that has long felt the need for high-quality premium games on the platform — the service offers a 30-day trial and costs $4.99 per month thereafter.

The service offers a downloadable app for managing games, but games are downloaded separately from the App Store. However, the GameClub app may link to those App Store items while browsing. You can subscribe directly to the device, which means that Apple gets a portion of the subscription, just like for other app subscriptions in the App Store.

Titles on offer include premium iPhone and iPad classics such as Sword of FargoalOrc: Revengeand Super crate box† $4.99 per month is the same price as Apple Arcade, Apple’s recently launched game subscription service that offers about a hundred carefully curated, premium games – many from prominent makers – across all of Apple’s device categories. However, this service was being worked on long before Apple Arcade was announced.

As is the case with Apple Arcade, none of the games on GameClub contain ads or in-app purchases (IAP). Many are early premium hits from the App Store before timer- and IAP-based games dominated the charts. Some of those early classics were pretty good, but were left behind when the App Store changed. Some even became unplayable on more recent devices due to changes to Apple’s operating system and hardware. Those games have not only been updated to work on new devices, but have seen upgrades such as an increase in resolution.

GameClub has promised to update the service with new games weekly, though it’s unclear how many classics will be revived and how many new titles.

Services like this and Apple Arcade may end up impacting iOS more than they first appear. As I noted in my review of iOS 13, Apple has long seemed dissatisfied with the dominance of free-to-play (F2P), retention-based games in the App Store. The first salvo to fix this problem was an overhaul of the App Store in iOS 11, removing the focus from auto-generated charts and putting it on editorial curation instead. Apple’s editors sometimes emphasized F2P games, but they mostly focused on games made with quality in mind. They also often pointed to premium games that would otherwise easily be lost on the charts.

With Arcade, Apple has introduced a new way to directly improve games that focus on positive player experiences rather than addiction mechanisms and aggressive IAP earnings. Initial reactions from critics and players to Arcade’s lineup have been generally very positive, thanks in part to Apple’s focus on curating games from established, previously acclaimed or successful creators or on games that have already attracted a lot of interest at game festivals such as IndieCade. .

While people have praised the game selection, the service itself is barebones in terms of features. Aside from another focus on management, GameClub aims to provide some features that Apple Arcade does not. Arcade doesn’t give players or developers much insight into which games are the most popular, for example, but GameClub claims it will be “transparent” with developers about revenue, as TechCrunch noted in an interview with a GameClub executive.

In an effort to increase service revenues to offset slowing iPhone sales, Apple had already urged developers to switch to a subscription model when it made sense. But services like Arcade and GameClub are challenging longstanding assumptions about what a mobile app ecosystem looks like. If Apple and others brought similar services to non-game apps, as Google has, the App Store could look very different in a few years.

Google also offered a subscription service called Google Play Pass, but voices from the gaming industry criticized it for linking engagement within the apps directly to revenue rather than an upfront payment to developers for inclusion. This can encourage the wrong kinds of games, some argue. And while the lineup includes some classics, it didn’t get as much positive attention for curating new quality titles.

List image by GameClub

By akfire1

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