With about 2.3 billion mobile gamers in 2018 and a majority of those in Asia, Apple is looking for a slice of the pie.
While its biggest competitor, Google’s Android, retains an impressive market share in the region, with about 83% to Apple’s 14%, Apple is counting on its powerful phones, the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, to give gamers the most optimal experience.
Packed with the powerful A12 Bionic processor, large fullscreen displays, and stereo sound, these iPhones are perfect for gamers, despite their expensive price tag. And while you can game just fine on midrange Android devices, some esports pros, such as those playing Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, train and compete on iPhones.
But it’s not just the iPhones that Apple is counting on; the ecosystem the tech giant has built around iOS is another thing to consider. Apple claims it has 1 billion gaming customers, with the App Store featuring 300,000 free and paid games.
Come fall, it will also launch a new Apple Arcade subscription service in 150 countries, with Asian countries likely on the list as well. It will feature 100 curated games from the likes of Konami, Lego, Mistwalker Corporation, Sega and more.
Besides the service, the company also has editors all over the world that try out games and highlight them for users to try in the Today section of the App Store. It’s an approach that provides a more personal touch for its user base — something Google doesn’t do.
With the App Store, Apple also tailors the content for each country, with editors giving the spotlight to games made by local developers along with AAA titles.
ONE Esports recently had the opportunity to try out some upcoming games made by developers in Asia. One such title is WarPods, a brick-breaking RPG made by Malaysia’s Weyrdworks Studio. The two-man indie studio’s free to play game is an interesting mash-up of Puzzle Bobble and RPG mechanics and makes its money through in-app purchases. The game has been pretty successful so far but Weyrdworks isn’t resting on its laurels. The studio is already working on a shoot-em-up game set in the same universe as WarPods called StrikePods.
We also tried the award-winning Cat Quest II, made by Singapore-based studio The Gentlebros. The open-world “Skyrim with cats and dogs” game is a sequel to Cat Quest, and features a new storyline that sees you playing as a cat or dog solo or with a friend in local co-op.
The last game we tried has plenty of potential for esports. Made by Thai developer True Axion Interactive, Invictus: Lost Souls, is a fighting style card game that sees you battling other players in real time, selecting cards to attack or defend. The game will feature weekly clan tournaments, while Axion plans to create general tournaments in the future.
While Apple did not give hints as to whether these games will be included in Apple Arcade, it would be a surprise if any of the three are left out. These games are a showcase of the strengths of the developers in Asia, and we expect a lot more such games to come out of this region in the near future. Apple’s push into gaming makes a lot of sense right now, but they will have to figure out how to sell their phones to an Asian population that tends to favor cheaper Chinese and Korean models.