Apple Arcade’s black box

Apple Arcade is a new kind of App Store. One where eclectic, indie and original content can shine. A place where gamers can play without being hounded by ads or strong-armed into spending on in-app purchases. But unlike the original App Store, Apple Arcade’s marketplace is a black box. There’s no way for consumers or developers to find out if Arcade produces a breakout hit game or even which app everyone is playing right now.

That’s because Apple Arcade has ditched one of the App Store’s core components: the Top Charts.

Traditionally, the App Store’s Top Charts highlighted which games are most popular, based on downloads, velocity, and other signals Apple never disclosed. On the main App Store, users can browse these top-ranked apps and games, including both free and paid titles. And through APIs, app store intelligence firms like App Annie, Sensor Tower, and others gain access to even more data — like top grossing apps and games, for example.

However, following the Apple Arcade subscription service’s launch, these firms told TechCrunch that Apple is not exposing any of the data that providers such as themselves have typically had access to in order to generate download and revenue estimates. There is some expectation that could change in time, but it’s not clear if or when that will be.