Apple’s Netflix for games: Your life for rent
Apple’s services model appears more and more to be predicated on offering you all the fun stuff you’ve ever wanted in your life for a rental fee.
Apple’s Netflix for games
A report on Cheddar claims Apple is in exploratory talks with games developers to develop a subscription service for games.
I guess it works like this: You pay a fee to access a bundle of gaming titles.
The report does stress that these discussions are at an early stage and notes that it is possible nothing will come of them.
When you stop to think about it the move makes sense, given Apple already offers iCloud and Apple Music services, and is expected to expand these with Apple Movies and TV and its Texture-based magazine service and access to subscriptions within Apple News this year.
This covers most of the bases when it comes down to digital appetite, so a move to offer a games subscription service is a logical step – though I’d argue that it may make more sense to acquire someone else already in the space.
AR for the rest of us
In the longer term, I imagine Apple wants to offer a subscription-based gaming service in order to support the next evolution of its AR platforms, after all, in the event the company ever does ship AR glasses it will do so in conjunction with a bunch of new developer APIs and an App Store for AR experiences. (That’s been its pattern so far).
Given this focus I expect people will begin to wonder if Apple will attempt a purchase or partner Valve/Steam, but I see little indication that is the hand Cupertino wants to play.
Cheddar also claims Apple has approached games developers offering to partner with them as a publisher, signalling a willingness to handle all the distribution, marketing and other costs of pushing out games.
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Designed in California?
Publishing its own content is also a natural evolution. After all, even online food delivery services maximize profits by creating their own kitchens on places like industrial estates and marketing food from they make over their existing distribution systems.
Netflix and Amazon both do this by offering up their own content alongside music and movie services (not to mention the Amazon Basics range). Apple has also hired dozens of journalists to staff its music and movie reviews pages, so I do wonder if it will ever use those hired talents to publish its own titles– though it will have to think deeply about how to do so without stifling competition, given its market size.
A bigger picture
Apple has disclosed aggressive targets for its services arm.
Meeting these targets will depend on the company offering up all the digital products any of its billion users need in formats and at prices they can afford.
And while we’re focused on digital media entertainment today, it’s pretty clear the company also has opportunities to think a little more deeply – what about enhanced services such as iCloud Enterprise, FaceTime AR, not to mention release of more of its services to other platforms.
You cannot underestimate the importance to Apple of enhancing its service income, given the company already seems to think the worlds about to endure some pretty big challenges under the noose of political incompetence, economic emergency and climate change.
I might just keep my Apple VR glasses on until it’s all over.