Musings from Dennis: Apple needed/needs to offer more info about games separating Apple Arcade

This is my (mostly) weekly column in which I round up my weekly musings about whatever’s on my mind. Sometimes it will have nothing to do with Apple, but this week it does.

I thought that once a game was part of Apple Arcade, it was part of it forever. Apparently not, and I find that upsetting. 

Of course, I should have known better. In this age of endless streaming services, movies, shows, and games don’t stick around indefinitely, but Apple hasn’t handled this situation very well.

As noted by MacRumors this week, Apple Arcade will be losing 15 games in the near future, according to a new section in the Arcade area of the App Store titled “Leaving Arcade Soon.” 

When the gaming service launched, there was no mention of games leaving the service or of limited availability. That’s something that Apple should have mentioned. And even after adding the “Leaving Arcade Soon” section, Apple didn’t offer an explanation of why some games were leaving. It took MacRumors to find the answer.

From MacRumors: This isn’t the first time Apple has removed a title from Arcade, but it has not previously officially revealed which games are leaving and in such large numbers.

Apple did not provide details on why the games are leaving or what happens to the games downloaded onto the devices of ‌Apple Arcade‌ customers, but MacRumors spoke to an inside source that was able to offer some insight into what’s going on.

When ‌Apple Arcade‌ first launched, Apple signed three-year deals with a number of developers, entering into contracts that provided a fixed payment and ongoing royalties. Those contracts are now ending, and Apple is opting not to renew some of them. Many of the games that are being removed were launch titles or were added to ‌Apple Arcade‌ soon after it debuted.

Developers retain the rights to their games and can re-release them on the ‌App Store‌ and/or through other platforms, but games that are removed from ‌Apple Arcade‌ won’t be accessible under the ‌Apple Arcade‌ service.

Games can be re-added to the ‌App Store‌ on the same day that they’re removed from ‌Apple Arcade‌, but the games will be uploaded with a new bundle ID. That means ‌Apple Arcade‌ subscribers can redownload the games, but they won’t have access to the same game that was available through ‌Apple Arcade‌.

Kudos to MacRumors for finding some answers for Apple Arcade fans. And Apple finally published a new support document on June 21 that clarifies what happens when games are removed from its Apple Arcade subscription service.But there are still questions to be answered. When will the games announced as departing be leaving? How many more games can we expect to depart? Will —as Jason Cross of Macworld asks — will saved progress on departing games transfer over or can developers offer some sort of save transfer process?

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Have a great weekend.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.