It’s hard to overstate how powerful smartphones have become — particularly the latest iPhone models — in recent years. Case in point, at its big event this week, Apple revealed that multiple console games will be released on the iPhone 15 Pro in the coming months. Later this year, you will be able to download and play Death Stranding, Resident Evil Village, and Resident Evil 4 on your phone. Then, early next year, Ubisoft is bringing the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Mirage to the App Store. Is Apple about to kill video game consoles?
As exciting as this development is, I’m pretty sure that the teams at Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox don’t have anything to worry about. Apple has had many opportunities to take on the top game publishers and console makers. Every time, the company declines.
Backing up a bit, the arrival of four modern triple-A titles on iOS is genuinely surprising because Apple has never quite committed to mobile gaming. Sure, the iPhone maker is more than happy to collect its 30% commission from every app developer that sells games and microtransactions on the App Store, but how much effort does it put into marketing Apple Arcade?
Furthermore, premium games are all but extinct on mobile platforms. Take one look at the top-grossing iOS games on the App Store via market intelligence firm Sensor Tower. Every single game in the top 25 is free to download with in-app purchases.
There are exceptions, as bestselling console and PC games like Minecraft, Stardew Valley, and Grand Theft Auto found sustained success on the App Store, but lucrative premium titles are few and far between. I don’t believe Resident Evil Village and Assassin’s Creed Mirage can reverse this trend, no matter how great the iOS ports turn out.
Furthermore, it’s not entirely clear if these console-quality games will be exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. I have an iPhone 14 Pro, and while I’d really love to take Death Stranding on the go with me, I’m not spending another $1,000 on a new phone this year for that privilege. The A17 Pro chip might be that significant of an upgrade, but Apple is going to leave plenty of gamers behind if these games are unplayable on older hardware.
It’s also unclear if these games will be playable with touch controls or if iPhone owners will need a third-party controller. The lack of details was yet more proof that gaming still isn’t a real priority for Apple. That’s not to say that a port of Resident Evil 4 should have taken precedence over the reveal of the iPhone 15, but the fact that the latest Assassin’s Creed game is coming to iOS just months after it hits PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC seems like a pretty big deal! But we didn’t get a release date, a price, or any other details at all.
As such, console makers can rest easy knowing that Apple has bigger fish to fry than trying to convince gamers to sell their Switch or PS5 for an iPhone 15 Pro.