• A screenshot from Mage Gauntlet, one of the games on GameClub. GameClub
  • There are individual game pages in GameClub with screenshots, trailers, and other info—they look similar to Apple's App Store pages. Samuel Axon
  • Tapping that "Play" button takes you to the app's page in the App Store, where you then download the game normally. Samuel Axon
  • GameClub has achievements of its own. Samuel Axon
  • And it has its own editorial-curation feed very similar to the main one Apple maintains for the App Store. Samuel Axon

Yesterday saw the launch of GameClub, a long-in-development subscription-based service that revised older, deprecated iPhone games for modern software and devices. Curated by former TouchArcade Editor-in-Chief Eli Hodapp—a prominent voice in the world of mobile games who has long opined on the need for quality premium games on the platform—the service offers a 30-day trial and will charge $4.99 per month thereafter.

The service offers a downloadable app for managing games, but games are downloaded separately from the App Store. The GameClub app can link out to those App Store entries as you browse, however. You can subscribe directly on the device, meaning Apple will get a cut of the subscription as it does for other app subscriptions in the App Store.

Titles offered include premium iPhone and iPad classics like Sword of Fargoal, Orc: Vengeance, and Super Crate Box. $4.99 per month is the same price as Apple Arcade, Apple's recently launched game-subscription service that offers around a hundred carefully curated, premium games—many from prominent creators—across all of Apple's device categories. However, work on this service had been underway long before Apple Arcade was announced.

As is the case with Apple Arcade, though, none of the games on GameClub contains ads or in-app purchases (IAP). Many are early premium hits from the App Store before timer- and IAP-based games came to dominate the charts. Some of those early classics were quite good but got left behind as the App Store transformed. Some even became unplayable on more recent devices thanks to changes to Apple's operating system and hardware. Those games have not only been updated to work on new devices but have seen upgrades like an increase in resolution.

GameClub has promised to update the service weekly with new games, though it's unclear how many will be revived classics and how many will be new titles.

Services like this and Apple Arcade might end up being more consequential for iOS than they first appear. As I noted in my review of iOS 13, Apple has long seemed displeased with the dominance of free-to-play (F2P), retention-mechanic-based games in the App Store. Its initial volley to solve this problem was an overhaul of the App Store in iOS 11, which removed the focus from automatically generated charts and put it instead on editorial curation. Apple's editors sometimes highlighted F2P games, but they typically focused on those made with quality in mind. They also often pointed out premium games that would easily be lost in tRead More – Source


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