3 years after launch, Apple Arcade loses 15 games

For the first time since the service launched in 2019, games that were previously available as part of the Apple Arcade subscription service have been removed.

Fifteen titles have been dropped, all of them are games that were introduced in the early days of the service. Since mid-July, these games had appeared in a "Leaving Arcade Soon" section of the Apple Arcade tab in the App Store. That section is now gone, suggesting that these are the only games that will be removed in the immediate future.

Apple revealed that these games would be leaving Arcade within that section, so players had a little over two weeks' notice. But there's a little more time for those currently playing the games.

Further Reading

Microsoft pushed Apple for compromise to get Game Pass on the App StoreA support document released by Apple clarifies that the games will remain playable for an additional two weeks for users who previously downloaded the games. Once the games are no longer playable, users will be presented with a pop-up explaining they're unavailable.

The games are leaving the platform because the agreements between the developers and Apple have concluded, but those agreements don't prevent developers from making those games available as direct purchases or downloads through the App Store outside of the Arcade subscription. Advertisement

In some cases, the games on the open App Store could be almost identical to their Arcade counterparts, but in others, there could be differences. And sometimes, the developers may opt not to re-introduce their games in the App Store.

Apple provides the infrastructure for players to import their saved progress from the Arcade versions to the App Store versions, but developers must choose to support that, so that may not always be a possibility.

As with TV subscription services like Netflix, the deals developers signed with subscription services are not typically permanent, so expect the Arcade library to shuffle over time, just as we've seen with Xbox Game Pass.

There's no clear path to long-term preservation for games removed from the service, but Apple and app developers may extend expiring agreements in some cases.

Here's a full list of games that have not been renewed:
  • Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree
  • BattleSky Brigade: Harpooner
  • Cardpocalypse
  • Dead End Job
  • Don't Bug Me!
  • Dread Nautical
  • EarthNight
  • Explottens
  • Lifeslide
  • Over the Alps
  • Projection: First Light
  • Spelldrifter
  • Spidersaurs
  • Towaga: Among Shadows
  • Various Daylife