Welcome to our regular roundup of all the Apple news you missed this week, in a handy bite-sized summary. We call it Apple Breakfast because we love it with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, but it’s also cool if you want to read it over lunch or dinner.
Leaving the arcade
Apple has announced that some games are out Apple Arcade Service. You can view the list of disapproved titles by opening the Arcade tab in the App Store and scrolling down to a new section called Leaving Arcade soon. There are currently 15 titles headed for the chopping block.
This is sad news for fans of Dread Nautical (a turn-based tactical RPG with great atmosphere), Cardpocalypse (a neat card fighter with a nice storyline), and the rest of the games headed for the exit door. But it’s probably worth pointing out that most of them would be among the less appealing options on the list: Spidersaurs, for example, ranks last in our Arcade rankings, while Various Daylife can really only be described as busy work. There is a reason why Apple has reportedly chosen not to renew these specific licenses after three years.
When I first heard about Apple’s plan to add games to Arcade regularly, I assumed others would disappear at about the same rate. That has not been the case; a few have disappeared, but this is the first time Apple has dropped so many at once. Still, even without these 15, the total number of games will remain much greater than the 100 originally promised.
It was never really sustainable for the service to simply expand and expand without increasing the price. As the number of games increases, the amount of time spent on each game inevitably decreases, meaning Apple gets less value for its investment. In other words, I have no problem with games disappearing from Arcade, and I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often.
But there are concerns that are worth it. The first is that Apple didn’t handle the announcement very well. At first, no one knew what would happen to the games after they discontinued the service. Would they remain in the App Store under a separate post? Would they start incorporating ads and in-app purchases? Would players be able to keep their save data and transfer it to this new version?
A few days later, Apple updated a support document (spotted by MacRumors) to clarify some, but far from all, of these questions. For starters, there is a two-week grace period after a game is removed from Arcade, during which players who have downloaded the game can continue to play. Stored data is transferable to someone else –if the developer chooses to keep it out of Arcade in the App Store.
And there are bigger problems around Arcade. Namely, what does Apple want the service to be?
At first, I assumed it was a Hail Mary to save the App Store from the clones and freemium junk that flooded it: a bold concept in which creative risk takers would be rewarded with centralized funding, rather than being dependent on download numbers or ad clicks. Instead, Apple was shocked by the low involvement and pushed hard with classics, remakes and sequels. It became an exercise in rewarding the massive developers who made the App Store what it is, rather than identifying and funding the indie talents that hold the key to the App Store’s future.
The current round of takedowns will be sad for the players who have enjoyed these games, and of course for the developers who created them. But there’s a chance to refocus on Arcade’s mission. Nobody has time to play 200 games; instead, Apple should build a unique library of innovative, groundbreaking titles that showcase what the medium has to offer. Following the same playbook, in other words, the company used for TV+.
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Podcast of the week
Apple will be operating system updates this fall, but why wait until then? We’ve got our hands on iOS 16, macOS Ventura, and iPadOS 16, and we talk about what we like and hate about the new operating systems in this episode of the Macworld Podcast.
You can watch every episode of the Macworld Podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, the Podcasts app or our own site.
Software updates, bugs and issues
Michael Simon explains why the latest iOS and macOS updates are from Apple more important than they seem.
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And with that, we’re done for this week. If you would like to receive regular round-ups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news stories. See you next Saturday, enjoy your weekend and stay Appley.