‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Swinging Its Way Towards $1 Billion Globally

With great movies comes great box office returns. Sony Pictures’ and Marvel Studios’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Spider-Man trilogy, has grossed over $751.3 million globally in its first week, giving it full steam as it chugs towards $1 billion globally.

“No Way Home” broke pandemic box office records, bringing in an estimated domestic $253 million in its opening weekend while passing “Venom: Let There Be Canarge,” which made $90.1 million in its debut. That return also made it the third-highest weekend opening of all time behind “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

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According to CNBC, estimates peg “No Way Home” to bring in about 50% to 70% of its opening haul this upcoming weekend, which could push it past the $1 billion mark. Even it that doesn’t happen, it should reach it within the next week.

Anticipation for the film grew for months, with fans speculating about what actors would be appearing in the film. When tickets first became available online, sites like Fandango and Regal experienced outages due to the influx of movie-goers attempting to secure their seats.

It culminated into $125.1 million in ticket sales on Friday, with $50 million from Thursday night previews. “No Way Home” then saw $73.9 million on Saturday before wrapping up with $64.1 million on Sunday.

If that wasn’t enough, “No Way Home” achieved the second-best five-day domestic gross total ($328.7 million) of all time, behind “Endgame” ($427 million) while also nabbing the best December five-day domestic gross total, beating out “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ($325.4 million).

While the film was always figured to do well, its bounties have still caught some box office analysts by surprise. Speaking to CNBC, chief analyst Shawn Robbins explained that the movie’s production shouldn’t be undersold.

“At every turn, this movie just keeps swinging above expectations. It’s a remarkable achievement for any time and, even more so, during the pandemic.”

Elsewhere in the box office last weekend, “Encanto” finished with $6 million, while “West Side Story” finished with $3.7 million. While next weekend will bring more punches — “The Matrix Resurrections,” “Sing 2,” and “The King’s Man” are all set to play — “Far From Home” will once again dwarf the competition.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” picks up where 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home” left off, with Spider-Man/Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) identity being revealed, throwing his life into chaos. Seeing his friends and family suffer from his consequences, Parker goes to Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) for help. Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, and Jon Favreau also star.

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The film made waves amongst the superhero’s fan base by bringing back old, villainous faces. Willem Dafoe, who starred in 2002’s “Spider-Man,” returns as the Green Goblin, along with Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus — from 2004’s “Spider-Man 2” — and Jamie Foxx as Electro, from 2014’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Rhys Ifan and Thomas Haden Church also reprise their roles as Lizard and Sandman, respectively, from previous Spider-Man films.

For fans that haven’t seen the movie yet, they can expect additional surprises along the way. Despite the crowded cast, “No From Home” manages to seamlessly blend different worlds together while keeping Spider-Man’s story fresh and invigorating – all while taking hefty, franchise-changing risks that more than pay off.

“No Way Home” has received critical praise from both viewers and critics alike. It currently sports a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes — the third-highest ranked MCU movie — a 9/10 on IMDB, and a 71% on Metacritic.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage Goes Full Violent Romcom Mode—And It Works

Lethal protectors unite! The typical notion that sequels don’t often live up to their successors didn’t affect Sony’s Venom: Let There be Carnage, as the blockbuster managed to rise to the top in a number of ways, from the income to character development.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage had a momentous outing in the weekend box office. It grossed $90.1 million, setting the record for the highest grossing opening weekend in the Pandemic era. Marvel’s Black Widow previously held the top spot, having grossed $80 million during July.

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Let There Be Carnage, directed by Andy Serkis, is the sequel to 2018’s Venom. Eddie Brock/Venom (Tom Hardy) must stop serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) after Kasady obtains his own symbiote, which turns him into the raging, sadistic Carnage.

Along the way, Brock must learn to cohabitate with his alien parasite, all while going through the continued heartbreak of losing his former fiancee Anne Weying (Michelle Williams). Naomie Harris and Reid Scott also star as Frances Barrison/Shriek and Dan Lewis, respectively.

Let There Be Carnage has a runtime of just 90 minutes, which is 50 minutes shorter than Venom. That’s an absolutely absurd number when considering how today’s superhero flicks operate.

That short of a length lead to initial fears about a lack of crucial character development and world-building, along with a rushed story. While the movie wasn’t able to quite achieve some of those factors, they did excel when it came down to the vocal point: Brock and his hen-raising, chocolate-eating black slime.

The incredibly cheesy but heartfelt development between Brock and Venom was the show-stealer of Let There Be Carnage. It was a big risk taking a typically gruesome and horrifying antagonist (or antihero in this case) and turning him into the “hurt girlfriend” of a relationship.

However, the move paid off in a huge way, thanks in part to the “silly” identity this franchise has taken (some of the best jokes come from Venom and Brock’s quips). It captured the real-life aspects and lessons of any couple, having to learn what the other’s needs are in order to make the relationship last, and resulted in a solid payoff towards the end of the film.

Some fans might be disappointed with how Sony adapted Carnage/Kasady, whose character made his cinematic debut. In the comics, Carnage has committed numerous gory atrocities that would leave even the most heinous impressed.

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Despite its major characters’ reputations, Sony again went with PG-13 as opposed to an R rating. Serkis did express the movie’s goal of “pushing the limits” of the PG-13 rating.

To Serkis’ credit, the movie did take creative ways of showing just how brutal Kasady and his parasite counterpart could be. However, Let There Be Carnage‘s awkward placing between PG-13 and R reflects the movie’s overall tone to a T: a mix of dark, grim violence and funny light-heartedness that was still trying to find its footing at times.

While the heart and soul of Let There Be Carnage prevails, the film does have noticeable downfalls that hold it back. The action, while enjoyable, did turn too predictable and mindless at times, and the film lost a good amount of its steam towards the final act- complete with Carnage literally yelling “let there be Carnage!” which resulted in a million eyeballs rolling to the back of heads.

Regardless of the bumps, the film managed to achieve the fast-paced, action-packed ride they desired while continuing to build up the characters of Brock and Venom. It’s a fun watch, and you’ll be rewarded greatly for your time at the end of the movie (if you’re curious and don’t care about spoilers, read on).

Major Spoilers Ahead!

The mid-credits scene of Venom: Let There Be Carnage leaves us wondering: where do Sony and Venom go from here?

Enjoying their fugitive status in a tropical paradise, Venom and Brock are relaxing on a bed watching television, when Venom starts telling Brock of the symbiotes’ awareness of other universes.

Then, a blinding light suddenly occurs, and the pair find themselves watching J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) as he reveals Spider-Man’s (Tom Holland) identity, which is right where Spider-Man: Far From Home left off.

It all but assures Venom and Spider-Man will be meeting on the big screen for the first time since Spider-Man 3. But when will it happen? Spider-Man: No Way Home, set to release in December, will be dealing heavily with the multiverse. It seems very likely that Venom could now make an appearance, if only just a minor cameo.

However, this mid-credits scene could be also be seen as Sony setting the groundwork to bring Holland’s Spider-Man back into their own cinematic universe. Sony and Marvel Studio’s licensing agreement has been unpredictable in the past, with the two major companies almost ending the deal in 2019.

For now, fans can look forward to the endless possibilities that could arise thanks to the web-slinger and his fearsome foe finally sharing the same timeline.


Olivia Wilde To Direct New Female-Centered Marvel Movie, Sony reports 

Sony Pictures has made it clear that they’re ready to expand their roster of Marvel characters, but want to make movies that show superheroes aren’t just a boys club. Olivia Wilde is currently one of the most sought out female directors in Hollywood, and according to insider reports she recently closed a deal to direct and develop a new untitled Marvel movie project. 

There’s not a ton of information on the project itself, however the few details that are circulating are truly exciting. The film is projected to center around a female character within the Marvel universe, and while it’s not confirmed, many Marvel experts are predicting the story to be centered around Spider-Woman; Sony currently has no comment on this. 

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Other reports claim that Katie Silberman – who wrote Booksmart (2019), Isn’t It Romantic (2019), and others – will be writing the film. Amy Pascal is set to produce the film, which makes sense considering she also produced Spider-man: Into The Spiderverse, the recent animated Marvel adaptation of Spider Man. Rachel O’Connor is also set be the executive producer, as she’s held that position on all of the Spider Man Marvel movie adaptations. 

Wilde, Silberman, and Pascal specifically have already worked together on multiple occasions. In fact the three are currently working on a new Christmas film at Universal studios, which they hope to finish before starting this new Marvel project; which mainly depends on the future of the pandemic. 

For those who aren’t fully engulfed in the Marvel universe, the Spider-Woman character has actually been around in the comics for quite some time. She’s acted as the alter-ego for several female characters in the Spider-Man timeline, including Mary Jane Watson herself, Gwen Stacy, and Jessica Drew. Jessica Drew was the first character to actually put on the Spider costume in the comics as well. 

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Wilde is set to completely revamp the Spider-Woman character with her adaptation of the film, however, details on how she plans to do this are still under wraps, as production is barely underway. Wilde was also apparently close to passing on the opportunity to direct this movie, however, she saw how priority this project was for Sony and Marvel and couldn’t walk away from the chance at bringing her own female superhero story-line to life. 

In Sony’s universe of Marvel Characters this will be the second film that’s fully based around a female character. Remember, Sony’s Marvel character adaptations are separate from the universe of Marvel Studios, so the only other female-centered film they’ve released has been Madame Webb. They’re currently planning on developing a Black Cat and Silver Sable movie as well as a part of a greater effort to diversify their superhero roster. 

Olivia Wilde has normally been known as an A-list actress throughout the past decade, however she shifted gears to directing in 2019 with the film Booksmart. The movie was one of 2019’s best reviewed films and earned Silberman a WGA nomination for best original screenplay; hence why the two are working together again. 

Ever since Wilde has been in high demand from many studios, as she plans on staying in the Director’s chair for the time being. For now, Marvel fans can look forward to what she does with this new character and the future of other female-led films. 

SONY Controller

Sony Gears Up For The Launch Of PlayStation Studios

The PlayStation Studios brand has been in the works for quite some time, and now that the massive gaming company is gearing up for the release of the PlayStation 5, they’re finally ready to launch their studio brand alongside it. 

Sony, which owns PlayStation, announced that they developed a “new umbrella brand to unite its first-party PlayStation titles,” as video game concepts begin to enter into America’s cinematic universe. The PlayStation Studios brand will be launched on the same day as the PlayStation 5 later this year. 

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“We are really excited about this, over the last few years — and even the last decade — the strength of the titles coming out from our studios has been stronger than ever. We have been thinking about how we unite all of these great games under one brand, and really the purpose of that is to make the consumer understand that, when they see this brand, they’re getting ready for a robust, innovative, deep experience that they’ve come to expect from games coming from PlayStation. So we came up with PlayStation Studios,” says Eric Lempel, senior vice president and head of global marketing at Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Those who purchase a PlayStation 5 later in the year will notice a brand new opening video sequence when they turn the device on. This video will feature classic PlayStation characters from games like Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, God Of War, and more, all of which are games that will be used as inspiration for future films released by the studio. 

The goal is to have these animated assets/features that PlayStation relies on for advertising their new brand in a lot of other places outside of just the PlayStation console itself. Lempel went on to discuss how he plans on expanding the branding of the new Studio to animated shorts and other products such as packaging and game discs to spread the word. “We think this is a good way to let consumers know that, if they see it, then the quality games they’ve come to expect from us are here,” he claimed. 

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Sony’s PlayStation 4 games/title sequence will also begin to carry out PlayStation Studios branding, however, that transition will likely take place after the initial launch, especially considering that the studio has its hands full with the launch of PS4 games The Last Of Us: Part 2 and Ghosts of Tsushima, which Sony is planning to release this summer. 

Lempel also explained that he wants the PlayStation studio brand to reach new audiences in the gaming world besides just PlayStation gamers. Specifically, Sony wants to call on work-for-hire game developers to work under the companies guidance to bring their visions to life. 

“If our studios are managing the production of these games and working with an external developer, it will still come out under the PlayStation Studios brand. It doesn’t mean that we outright own the developer, but it just means we brought it up as a first-party. In a lot of cases we don’t own the developer,” Lempel said. 

The goal is to expand the brand to a place it’s never been before, and what better way to do so than by bringing in the gamers who have been experiencing what the company has been releasing since its launch.


Rare “Nintendo Playstation” Prototype to be Sold at Auction

If you’re at all familiar with the world of video games, you know that Nintendo and Sony, which makes the popular Playstation series of gaming consoles, have been fierce competitors for many years. But before Sony entered the video game industry with the release of the original Playstation, it had actually cooperated with Nintendo to develop a gaming system, though the results of this effort never saw the light of day. In fact, the name “Playstation” comes from this collaboration, as Sony adopted the moniker for itself after its relationship with Nintendo fell apart. Engineers from both companies worked to develop a prototype, the so-called “Nintendo Playstation,” which had both a cartridge slot and a CD slot, taking advantage of Sony’s expertise with the then-new digital storage medium. Only about 200 of these prototypes were ever created, with nearly all of them thought to have been lost or destroyed; the only known remaining prototype was discovered in a box full of junk after being sold at an auction for $75. Now, the prototype’s owner has announced he would sell it at an auction, and it is expected to sell for over a million dollars.

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For technology and video game enthusiasts, the Nintendo Playstation prototype is a fascinating historical artifact that suggests how the world of video games today could be vastly different if the relationship between Nintendo and Sony hadn’t turned sour. The Nintendo Playstation was intended to be built on top of the wildly successful Super Nintendo console, adding the feature of a CD-ROM drive as well as enhanced processing power. The device would have been sold in two forms: an accessory to the Super Nintendo called the Super NES CD-ROM, and a standalone console, which would have been called the Playstation and would have offered full compatibility with Super Nintendo games. However, in large part as a result of the breakdown of negotiations between the two companies and Nintendo’s collaboration with Phillips, one of Sony’s main competitors at the time, plans to release the device were cancelled. In the aftermath, the Sony Playstation went on to compete directly with the console that succeeded the Super Nintendo, the Nintendo 64.

It’s unclear as of yet exactly how much the system will sell for at the February 27th auction, but the Diebolds are sure to profit handsomely from the sale.

Few people know exactly what ended up happening to the 200 or so prototypes that were developed. But one of them ended up being sold in an auction held by Advanta Corporation, a company connected with Sony’s former CEO, for $75, with no one at the time recognizing the real value of the prototype. It sat in a box in an attic for years before being re-discovered by the son of the man who bought the prototype, who then shared pictures of the device online, drawing the attention of a large Internet community that immediately recognized the device, who described it as “priceless” and a “piece of history.” Dan Diebold, the man who shared pictures of the prototype online, also posted a video showcasing the device, which ended up getting over a million views. But people still doubted the authenticity of his claim, accusing Diebold of having orchestrated a hoax.

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Dan and his father, Terry, recognize the historicity of their possession, and have done their best to preserve and study the device. Fortunately, it still works, though the software being developed for it was never completed and thus its functionality is limited. That being said, it is fully compatible with existing Super Nintendo games, and it is also capable of playing back audio CDs. The console’s owners brought it to Ben Heck, a technology expert, who tore down the console to learn more about how it was built and also fixed some small problems with the device. Additionally, the father-and-son team spent years touring the system around the world, giving global fans an opportunity to see the device in person, an endeavor which they claim made them no money. Someone in Norway offered to buy the device for $1.2 million, but the Diebolds refused this offer. The upcoming auction will be hosted by Heritage Auctions, which previously sold video game artifacts like a sealed copy of the first Mega Man game for $75,000. It’s unclear as of yet exactly how much the system will sell for at the February 27th auction, but the Diebolds are sure to profit handsomely from the sale.

Google Android

Google Introduces “Ambient Mode” for Android Devices

Google is known for their constant innovations for their various products, most notably the Android operating system that powers most smartphones. The newest version of Android, Android 10, introduces features like a system-wide dark theme, more sophisticated UI navigation controls, and improved location and privacy tools. While Android 10 continues to roll out to devices from a variety of manufacturers, Google is also looking to improve the Android experience in other ways, most recently in the development of a so-called “Ambient Mode,” which passively displays information on the phone’s display while it is charging and allows the user to interact with the phone in a limited way.

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Google unveiled the feature in a Youtube video which shows Ambient Mode running on a Pixel phone and details the various features of the update. The video describes Ambient Mode as “Android’s proactive Google Assistant,” and Google Product Manager Arvind Chandrababu said that the goal for Ambient Mode is to anticipate users’ needs and allow them to accomplish tasks as quickly as possible. In doing so, Google hopes to move users away from an “app-based” way of doing things, in which users scroll through their list of apps and choose the one that matches what they want to do, to an “intent-based” way of doing things, in which the phone is intelligent enough to adapt to the user’s intent. This is part of Google’s broad philosophy of “ambient computing,” the goal of which is to make the integration of computing into users’ lives as seamless and invisible as possible.

While this philosophy is certainly very ambitious, the announcement of Ambient Mode represents only a small step towards that lofty goal. Though Google has said that Ambient Mode will be available on Android 8.0 and above, the number of devices that are announced to support the feature is limited, including relatively esoteric devices like Sony Xperia phones, Nokia phones, and Xiaomi phones, with no mention of more popular devices like the Samsung Galaxy line of devices or even Google’s own Pixel phones. Additionally, Ambient Mode in its current form is surprisingly limited, as it offers no customization features whatsoever, allowing users to adjust a limited number of quick settings, control compatible smart home devices like lightbulbs and thermostats, and view notifications like weather and calendar alerts. 

While the extent of Google’s control over the smartphone operating system ecosystem is impressive, a number of factors prevent the company from offering the highest-quality products possible. For years, one of Google’s most damaging problems has been the fragmentation of its software lineup. The company has released  — and discontinued — a large number of messaging apps, for instance, and each of these apps is mutually incompatible with others. The problem is made worse by the fact that many smartphone manufacturers build their own messaging apps for their phones; for instance, the Samsung Galaxy s9 comes with an app called “Messages,” which, confusingly, is not the same as the “Messages” app developed by Google.

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For this reason, text messaging on Android phones isn’t nearly as sophisticated or robust as iMessage, the app that comes standard on all iPhones and allows advanced features like read receipts and typing indicators, which are by and large absent on Android. In an attempt to correct this shortcoming, Google has recently announced that it would activate RCS compatibility on its Messages app for all Android phones in certain countries, which enables many of the messaging features that iPhone users have enjoyed for years. However, the problem of app fragmentation remains, as only people who are using an app that incorporates RCS compatibility can use these advanced features. As of now, Ambient Mode seems to be plagued by this same shortcoming, due to the feature’s limited availability and functionality. If the company’s prior conduct is any indication of future events, the likelihood of Ambient Mode being rolled out to most Android devices in a timely fashion seems low, as most Android smartphone owners are still waiting for the latest version of Android and other features to arrive on their devices.

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Kojima’s Unique “Death Stranding” Met with Polarized Reception

Death Stranding has become an almost-mythical title in the video gaming world, owing to the legacy of its director, Hideo Kojima, its impenetrably weird style, and the years-long gap between its confusing initial announcement and its release. The title is perhaps the most anxiously anticipated game on the PS4, as it promises to offer a gameplay experience that represents a radical departure from titles that came before it. The game is the first one created by Kojima, famed for his work on the Metal Gear Solid franchise, after he left Konami and formed his own studio, Kojima Productions. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic America comprised of small, isolated communities which the player is tasked with connecting, Death Stranding is advertised as a new type of action game with a heavy focus on exploration and interaction with other players, as well as a strange, dense, and dream-like narrative.

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Though the game is not out yet, reviews have appeared on the internet, and critics have confirmed that the title is as unusual as its extensive marketing has made it seem. At its core, the game mainly tasks players with making package deliveries across expansive landscapes, while managing resources and navigating obstacles. But along the way, the player character, portrayed by Norman Reedus, must do things like carry around an infant in a pod that alerts him to the presence of enemies, which the player character can kill by crafting weapons made from his own sweat and blood. The game’s narrative weirdness doesn’t stop there, and its long story, which critics have complained was often unsubtle and pretentious, is nevertheless unique.

“Death Stranding could receive a review calling it a revolution in gaming, another could call it the most boring and pointless trash ever, and yet another could call it a middle-of-the-road effort that ends up being completely average, and all of those opinions might be right.” — Mollie L. Patterson, EGM

Despite these complaints, critics have praised the game’s deep metaphorical resonance, as it serves as a commentary on everything from the human cost of social media to the implications of climate change to the gradual collapse of American political norms. Fundamentally, reviewers agree, the game enticingly explores the theme of human connections through its narrative as well as its gameplay. The game integrates a social-media-like system, where the player can deploy useful tools in the game environment which can be used by other players who stumble across them, and players can give “likes” to objects placed by other players that are particularly useful. And while the story may be at times overwrought, reviewers preferred it to the even lengthier and more complex dialogue scenes of Metal Gear Solid titles, claiming that Kojima has refined his unique brand of interactive storytelling. The acting, represented in-game through motion-capture technology, was also praised.

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What’s notable about the reviews for Death Stranding is how disparate they are. Some publications ranked the game as merely mediocre, while others described it as among the best video games ever made. Video Games Chronicle, for instance, gave the game 3/5 stars, calling its story “a bloated heap of half-baked twists, laboured morals, armchair philosophy and boneheaded sci-fantasy metaphors,” whereas Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu gave it a rare perfect score. USGamer described Death Stranding as simultaneously bold, interesting, and tedious, and its reviewer had a broadly positive opinion of the game while struggling to recommend it, awarding the title 3.5/5 stars. Similarly, Game Informer gave the title a 7/10, praising the project’s ambition but commenting that its repetitive gameplay left a lot to be desired. EGM, meanwhile, gave the game a perfect 5/5 and heralded the title as a profound technical and artistic achievement. Despite giving it a perfect score, though, EGM’s reviewer characterized the game by saying “Death Stranding could receive a review calling it a revolution in gaming, another could call it the most boring and pointless trash ever, and yet another could call it a middle-of-the-road effort that ends up being completely average, and all of those opinions might be right.” Ultimately, it seems as though Death Stranding will be enjoyed mostly by a very particular kind of audience of people who have the patience for at-times tedious and boring gameplay and who aren’t turned off by an arguably pretentious and obvious narrative.

Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade Creates a Niche for High-Quality Phone Games

For years, games for smartphones have broadly fit into one of two categories – either they were free-to-play, oftentimes packaged with obtrusive advertisements and microtransactions built into an experience designed to get you to fork over real money, or they were premium titles, requiring players to invest a nominal up-front fee. While the latter category usually offers more polished and fun titles, few smartphone users are willing to spend money in the App Store, making the former category substantially more profitable for developers. As a result, the number of premium games on offer for both Android and iOS devices has dwindled in recent years, and smartphone users looking to play video games on their devices are often left with titles that subtly encourage them to part with real money for in-game advantages. Looking to address this problem in the gaming environment on their devices, Apple announced the subscription service Apple Arcade, which for $4.99 per month provides iOS users with a selection of high-quality, ad-free mobile games with no microtransactions present.

The service, which launched just a few days ago, is already being praised by media outlets for offering a solution to the dearth of quality games available for smartphones. For the price of a typical premium smartphone game per month, Apple Arcade gives access to more than 70 titles, many of which were custom-designed for the service. This wide selection of titles, which subscribers have unlimited access to for the duration of their subscription, ensures that gamers can find titles that match their specific interests as well as explore other genres of gaming without investing money in titles they’re not sure if they’d like. Apple has leveraged the service to fund the development of indie titles that otherwise would not have been realized, as their designs aren’t conducive to the free-to-play model that currently dominates the industry. As an example, Card of Darkness, a game which combines dungeon-crawling mechanics with a virtual card game, was developed by a ten-person studio paid directly by Apple to be featured exclusively on the Apple Arcade service.

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Card of Darkness has already received rave reviews, as media outlets praised its dynamic and addictive gameplay unencumbered by ads or in-app purchases. The success of this title, in addition to the others on the platform, bodes well for the future of the service, whose innovative approach to game development is likely to produce titles of similar and even greater acclaim as time goes on. Because the funding of titles is handled up-front by Apple on a per-app basis, developers don’t have to worry about generating a return on their investment, freeing them to explore risky but unique game design options and package them into a visually appealing and polished product. 

Developers creating experiences for the Apple Arcade platform have to contend with a number of rules and restrictions that Apple places on developers, though. Game creators are required to ensure that their titles function well on a variety of devices Apple offers, many with radically different form factors, and must localize their games for 14 different languages to ensure that all markets have access to the same selection of titles. For many developers, however, the trade-off is worth it, as the service makes possible titles that wouldn’t be financially viable under the standard App Store model. Where Cards Fall, for instance, has been in development for long before the announcement of Apple Arcade, but seeing as the game offers 20 hours of narrative-driven content, the developers would have charged roughly $20 for the title, which is a substantially greater cost than the vast majority of App Store titles. Apple Arcade ensured that the title, which otherwise may never have seen the light of day, would be financially viable.

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For Android users, Google offers a competing service called Google Play Pass, which for an introductory price of $1.99 per month grants access to a collection not only of games, but of other apps, like weather and photography programs. While the competing service is superficially similar to Apple Arcade in its structure, the selection of games available on Google Play Pass is not as strong. Android is a more difficult operating system to develop games for, as a staggering variety of hardware combinations need to be taken into account as different manufacturers support different features. Additionally, Google Play Pass pays developers based on users’ engagement with their apps, meaning developers who create titles that users play for long periods of time make substantially more money than developers who create short titles. As not every game has to be long-lasting to be fun, this practice discourages developers interested in creating shorter experiences. It’s unclear exactly how Apple decides how much to pay developers for titles on their service, but developers have expressed satisfaction with the deals they’ve made with the software giant.

With the advent of Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass, the once-bleak market for smartphone games seems to be making a resurgence. As consumers shift towards preferring a Netflix-style of content delivery generally, wherein they pay a monthly fee for unlimited access rather than paying for titles individually, services like these take advantage of this change in customers’ mindset. Given the surprising early success of Apple Arcade, and the introduction of similar services from Nintendo and Sony for their respective platforms, the subscription model of video gaming seems poised to reshape the industry as a whole.