Subscriptions have made playing on iPhone fun again

Subscriptions have made playing on iPhone fun again

Once upon a time, my smartphone doubled as the most used gaming platform. It’s hard to believe now, but there was a period when app stores felt like a new frontier, and game developers had the fun of trying a little rectangle with a touchscreen that was always in your pocket. Then the economy changed. Games slowly got cheaper before finally becoming completely free. New releases had to choose between a dwindling audience for premium games or download their game with in-app purchases. Things got terrible. But recently, I’ve been enjoying my phone again – almost entirely due to the subscription services.

I came to this realization recently when I switched from Android to iPhone and started loading my new gadget with games (this is always the first order of any device I get). I started by downloading titles from the subscriptions I own – Apple Arcade and Netflix – and before I knew it, I had over twenty games in a folder, from old favorites to ones I’d still mean to try. Subscriptions, even on mobile, are not an entirely new phenomenon. Arcade launched in 2019. But now they are so mature that I feel like it’s the best way to play on iPhone.

Let’s start with Arcade, which might be the best deal in games that people never seem to talk about. Launched with a huge assortment of games, things went fairly quiet for a while and then in 2021 it got a big boost with the introduction of classic games. There is a good mix between typical mobile time wasters (at the moment, I play a lot grindstoneAnd the good sudokuAnd the Skate City) and bigger experiences like an old school RPG imagination Or Yu Suzuki’s amazing alien rail shooter Air Twister.

Netflix, on the other hand, is off to a quieter start. There wasn’t much to play when mobile games were first added to the service. But this is slowly changing. I’m really starting to notice a version in the breach, an amazing mechanical versus kaiju strategy game that originally launched on PC in 2018 but debuted on mobile via Netflix earlier this month. It fits perfectly on your phone, and as I was wandering around Netflix’s limited game library, I found several titles that I really enjoy. This is a set of colorful climbing game Poinbee (From the creator of the excellent fall game Downwell) to dungeon crawler / item shop simulator moon light To the super fun arcade shooter antiquities hunters.

moon light.

I wouldn’t recommend subscribing to Netflix for games only at this point; The library is very small and limited. But as an addition to the service and a homage to Arcade, it’s great. Also, the games on these services are completely free from the heavy microtransactions that often plague mobile games these days. (This is part of what makes it ideal for families.)

This doesn’t mean that these are the only options for gaming on the phone – far from it. I also play many games without subscription like KnotAnd the Bikmin BloomAnd the Super Mario RunThe recently launched prequel to Octopate Traveler. My finger was hovering over the download button for Jinshin effect, scared of what would happen to my spare time if I clicked. But the bulk of the games I play now, and the games I plan to play in the future, come from these two subscription services.

Now, I have no idea what the future holds. Subscriptions are still a relatively recent phenomenon for gaming, and it’s unclear how they will affect developer economies in the coming years. We’re already seeing games leave Arcade as the service changes its tactics to focus more on engagement. And given that neither Apple nor Netflix are essentially gaming companies, there’s always a chance they’ll decide to switch gears at some point and focus on their core products. Also: Given the abundance of subscription services for just about everything, I’m sure most people aren’t looking to add more to the pile.

But for now, and for the foreseeable future, things look just fine. Arcade has been adding new titles of varying quality on a weekly basis, and Netflix announced upcoming releases from creators Monument Valley And the Alto Adventure. Just today, I installed a narrative adventure from Netflix in which you control the flicker. We haven’t quite gone back to the glory days of early iPhone games, but we’re getting a lot closer — as long as it lasts.

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