Apple has dropped support for 32-bit iPhone and iPad apps with the release of the iOS 11 software back in September 2017, prompting some developers to simply leave their old games behind rather than update them to be playable on newer iOS device models. But there’s some hope left for these legacy titles as a startup named GameClub has managed to secure $2.5 million in investment to bring a bunch of classic iOS games back to life.
GameClub will be working with the original developers of the games they’re planing on modernizing to ensure players get precisely the same experience as in the original title.
Some of the older and classic iOS titles GameClub is or will be making playable on newer iOS releases include Super Crate Box, Space Miner, Incoboto, Run Boo Run, Cubed Rally World, Chopper 2, Zombie Match Defense, Wooords, Sword of Fargoal and Hook Champ.
GameClub raised $2.5 million in seed funding from several venture capital firms, including Watertower Ventures, BreakawayGrowth Fund and Ride Ventures, reports VentureBeat.
These games don’t run on modern iOS versions because too many things have changed since their last update. Besides, they were built with older software development kits and use services, like third-party analytics, that are no longer available or have long shut down.
“In some cases, GameClub has the challenge of dealing with the legal ownership of some titles, as the games may have been produced as part of a studio or publisher who no longer existsmor the rights holder may have exited the industry entirely,” AppleInsider explains.
GameClub CEO Dan Sherman:
We started with a list of our favorite premium games that are no longer available anywhere. There’s a surprising amount of detective work involved in identifying who owns the rights and who has the source code.
Sometimes those rights are in two different places or were part of a studio or publisher that is now defunct or in the process of winding down as the original owners move on to other ventures, jobs or leave the industry entirely.
In some situations, the games were effectively forgotten or the rights were at risk of disappearing into legal abyss, leaving them one step away from the source code being lost forever.
But why are they doing this?
What I will say is that a big part of our inspiration for GameClub comes from knowing that many great premium developers have been driven away from mobile, despite a lot of demand for their games, because of the lousy monetization models available to them.
He’s right about that. The subscription model has ruined iOS gaming, making the vast majority of potentially quality titles virtually unplayable unless you’re OK with purchasing various upgrades through the In-App Purchase mechanism.
Apple itself admits that the freemium model is disadvantaging some of the best App Store developers, as evidenced by this excerpt from the Apple Arcade press release (emphasis mine):
Paid games are often critically acclaimed and beloved by the people who play them, but competing with free is hard so even the best of these games have only reached a smaller audience.
GameClub’s Sherman continues:
We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that GameClub can make premium mobile game makers successful again. We’re building this for them and their fans.
The titles will rerelease on App Store as new standalone downloads rather than being packed as a single app. The first batch of modernized classic iOS games will be hitting the store in the fall. GameClub will also be making its own original games for iOS, the report added.
App Store has nearly 300,000 free and paid games.