Resident Evil and Assassin's Creed on iPhone Flop Big Time – Inverse

Games like Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Resident Evil 4 failed to find an audience on Apple’s newest line of devices.
Apple dedicated a significant portion of its efforts in 2023 telling everyone about their next big push into gaming. They flaunted the newest iPhone’s ability to play real blockbuster video games in series like Assassin’s Creed. They even dedicated an entire presentation to the new MacBook and iMac’s ability to accommodate high-end gaming. However, it seems that the effort was for naught, as all of the traditional games that launched on iOS since last fall have flopped.
Newly released sales figures obtained by Appfigures and first reported on by Mobile Gamer, show that impressive iPhone ports of Resident Evil 4 Remake, Resident Evil 8, Death Stranding, and Assassin’s Creed Mirage, barely cracked a few thousand downloads each.
Resident Evil 4 Remake and Resident Evil 8 sold 7,000 and 5,750 copies respectively, according to Mobile Gamer. Assassin’s Creed Mirage moved under 3,000 units. The iOS port of Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding fared the best on Apple’s App Store, earning 10,600 downloads since its release back in January.
Playing games like Resident Evil 4 Remake is nothing short of a miracle. But sales suggest few people want to pay to do so.
All of the games offered iPhone 15 Pro owners a limited free trial to try the game on their new devices before being prompted to pay for the full experience. The prices for these games ranged from $15 to a more substantial $50.
Mobile is far and away the most popular way people play games around the world. In fact, profits from mobile gaming made up nearly half of all gaming revenue last year alone. But Apple’s low sales numbers suggests that demand for big-budget video games typically reserved for PC or console simply isn’t there — at least not yet.
To be fair to Apple’s efforts, plenty of factors worked against the success of these mobile ports. For one, these games only functioned on the highest tier of iPhones and iPads released last fall. While it’s an impressive feat of engineering that tech wizards at Capcom, Ubisoft, and 505 Games could run graphically intense games on devices small enough to fit in your pocket, the potential audience was pretty small.
Playing something as large in scope and complex as Assassin’s Creed Mirage can feel cramped on the tiny screen of an iPhone or even an iPad.
There are other reasons for the dismal sales. All of these games are playable on hardware sold for a fraction of the price of the iPhone 15 Pro’s $1000 asking price. An Xbox Series S for example, where you can play three of the four flagship games Apple is touting, is just $299. If Death Stranding is your bag, a used PlayStation 4 Slim is just $180 on the used market. That doesn’t even account for streaming subscription services from Nvidia, Microsoft, and Sony.
These iPhone ports are also the worst ways to play each of the games on offer — by a pretty definitive margin. Graphics and performance scaled back compared to their console and PC versions. And playing these huge, complex experiences using touchscreen controls proves to be a cumbersome affair.
Opting to use a controller is an option. But by shelling out $60 for a controller to play Assassin’s Creed Mirage, you’re essentially paying twice as much to play a poorly optimized version of a game that’s on sale regularly everywhere else.
Gaming on mobile devices is bigger than ever. But it doesn’t seem like players aren’t looking to fit console-sized experiences in their pockets just yet.
There’s a real chance that Apple is willing to take the hit on these meager sales figures if it means providing the feature to a wider audience. In five years, as millions of people upgrade their aging iPhones, the ability to play these games on a pocket-sized device may prove more worthwhile. Apple is taking a similar approach with its mixed-reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro.
Apple’s failure to make a dent in the AAA gaming market doesn’t spell doom and gloom for the rest of the mobile market though. In May, a job listing showed that PlayStation is ramping up its push into the mobile market with a focus on mobile-specific game development. Earlier that same month, Xbox President Sarah Bond announced that the company is working on a mobile gaming store that will launch next month. The library would include legacy mobile hits like Minecraft and Candy Crush.


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