What’s the Deal With: iOS Game Saves?

I’ve loved covering Apple Arcade games since the beginning of 2020 when I first reviewed Lego Builder’s Journey. I’m quite proud of the reviews and editorials I’ve been doing this year, and I’m proud of the work Apple Arcade has been doing with their platform – but I think we both have room for improvement. I’ve already talked about how developers and Apple need to be working together more on hyping up their games to the press and the public, so now I would like to talk specifically about game library functionality.

As things are now, downloading and uninstalling and reinstalling games on iOS is a particular sort of nightmare for game hoarders like myself. One must manually search the Purchased list or the Apple Arcade tab for specific games to reinstall them, with no hopes of organization into things like categories or tagging systems like on platforms like Steam. And don’t even get me started on game saves!

Or, instead, I will get started about my incredible amount of frustration and confusion on iOS game saves. I don’t know the exact programming logic behind it, but the standard rule is that on iOS devices any app that is deleted will also remove everything associated with it, from passwords to game saves to microtransaction purchases. We should understand this is for security purposes and consider that there are a hundred-zillion apps on the App Store, as we don’t want little scraps of information being left behind to do who-knows-what. But it’s still hella frustrating coming back to a game and losing all your progress!

But here’s the thing – some games will use a loophole, using some sort of witchery to remember players’ accounts through the cloud so when they do log back in, some content can be restored. Which games have this functionality? Heck if I, or any average App store user knows!

I find it insulting that Apple Arcade developers have to resort to the above-mentioned witchcraft to make their games more accessible on the Apple platform. You would think that on the Premium games service, there would be a universal way to back up my games?

My suggestion is one I’m sure many longtime fans of the App Store will see coming.

Bring back Game Center as its own app!

Use it to let us opt into different Apple Arcade game saves being on the cloud. Let us be friends with each other and compare achievements. Allow us to see a total list of achievements earned and those we haven’t yet grabbed. Dangit, just thinking about the potential, it’d be great.

Hi! I’m Sam Adonis, I’ve been featured on a number of indie game websites such as IndieGameMag.com, IndieGamerTeam.com, and EpicBrew.net. I’d love to hear what games you’ve been enjoying on Twitter!

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