Apple doesn’t make games or dedicated gaming hardware and doesn’t report its gaming revenue. The Wall Street Journal estimates that in 2019, Apple generated $8.5 billion from games in its app store, at least $2 billion more than Sony, Activision, Nintendo and Microsoft earned in that same time period. Details: The game from Suzuki and his team is called Air Twister and features a princess-warrior who flies through fantastical environments to zap airborne enemies.
Yu Suzuki, one of Japan’s most renowned game creators, has revealed that his next game would be developed for Apple Arcade, the tech giant’s mobile gaming subscription service. What’s at stake: Apple is a mysterious but important participant in the game industry, with the resources to achieve almost whatever it wants and recruit some top talent in the process.
He left his full-time role at Sega in 2011 and raised over $6 million over Kickstarter to release 2019’s Shenmue III, but he had not revealed a new project since then. What they’re saying: “When I went to the Apple headquarters, we had a talk — and we actually had a really good talk about what if I was to do a really straight-forward game you want to play over and over again, like old-school arcades,” Suzuki told Axios through an interpreter during a video call today.
It’s an arcade-style throwback to Suzuki’s earliest works, particularly the mid-’80s shoot-em-up Space Harrier. It is credited as coming from YS-Net, Suzuki’s independent development company. Suzuki is an industry pioneer and Hall of Famer. From the mid-1980s on, he oversaw the development of dozens of acclaimed games, including After Burner, Virtua Fighter and Shenmue, all for iconic Japanese publisher Sega during its rivalry with Nintendo.
One of Apple Arcade’s most acclaimed releases, 2021’s Fantasian, was made by a team led by Final Fantasy architect Hironobu Sakaguchi. Last September, Apple Arcade launched a game from Konami’s classic but recently neglected Castlevania franchise. Yes, but we can only guess how well this is working for Apple. The company doesn’t share Apple Arcade subscription stats. What’s next: Air Twister is set for release on June 24. And even before that, another classic Japanese series is en route: A new Frogger will be released on Arcade later this week.
He declined to elaborate on whether he set up the meeting or if Apple approached him. But Apple’s openness to do business was clear. Another developer on the call, who was showcasing an Apple Arcade-exclusive sequel to the long-running Cooking Mama series, told Axios that the project started with the plan to make something for the subscription service, with the game idea following. Between the lines: Apple keeps quiet about how it builds its game business, but it’s clearly finding a way to tie its Arcade service to some game creators and brands who have name recognition with hardcore console players.