Apple reportedly plans ‘Netflix for games’ subscription service

Apple is said to be planning to launch a subscription service for games. A report from Cheddar cites five anonymous sources that suggest Apple is talking to game developers to be part of a new subscription service.

Similar to Netflix, users would pay a set fee for unlimited access to a selection of titles. Further details like pricing or availability were not stated.

The talks apparently included Apple acting as a publisher for titles, which would see Apple talking a more hands-on approach in the release of new games.

The App Store top grossing chart is dominated by games. However, those games are almost exclusively freemium titles which are free to download, with banks of in-app purchases that can be bought repeatedly like an independent currency.

The freemium model doesn’t really translate to a $9.99/mo subscription service.

A gaming subscription service could potentially up new income avenues for more serious games titles, rather than titles like Candy Crush which favor addictive hooks over deep narrative and rich gameplay.

The A-series CPUs and GPUs found in iPads and iPhones are more than capable at rivaling home consoles like the Nintendo Switch. At the iPad Pro event last fall, Apple compared the power of the A12X to an Xbox One.

One possibility is that Apple signs developers with exclusivity deals that result in a series of gaming titles only being available on its platforms.

Apple’s existing game service, Game Center, is mostly abandoned. The Game Center app was removed from iOS in iOS 10; the service lives on as a ‘faceless’ achievements and leaderboards framework.

The Apple executive team has heavily indicated that services are at the front of Apple’s mind. Apple is believed to be launching a news and original video service this year, and perhaps games is another branch of that tree.

Financially, Apple has announced that it will double its 2016 services revenue by 2020, and is on track to achieve that goal.


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