How a 14-year-old’s game found a home in Apple Arcade

What you need to know

  • Operator 41 was an Apple Arcade launch title.
  • The game was designed by a 14-year-old.
  • VICE interviewed the developer about how the game came to be.

Sometimes the stories about games are as interesting as the game stories themselves.

Operator 41 was a launch game for Apple Arcade and VICE has an interview with its 14-year-old developer, Sprice Campbell. It’s a long piece with some great tidbits including the fact that the game was built specifically with Apple Arcade in mind.

“When I saw the Apple Arcade announcement in March I dropped everything and decided to build a whole new game for Arcade,” Campbell told VICE via email. “I thought that the games that really fit Apple Arcade will probably be designed for it from the ground up, so I came up with a stealth game that would work on all the Arcade platforms.”

Campbell goes on to explain how he tought himself to code when he was just eight years old. He even won a BAFTA award for the game CyberPNK when he was just 12. Things progressed even more when he received a scholarship to attend WWDC this past June, giving him the opportunity to pitch Operator 41 to Apple. The rest, as they say, is history.

Even at his young age, Campbell appears to already have figured out what App Store developers have been saying in recent years – they just can’t make money selling apps and games outright anymore.

“The advantage of the App Store is that someone, like a 14-year-old, can just publish their own game, and I love having the creative control and speed I can put new content out to my players,” said Campbell. “The disadvantage is that in today’s App Store people expect games for free and so every design I make has to have monetization baked in, which kind of hobbled the diversity of ideas I could build.”

We’d really suggest reading the full piece over on VICE. It’s an interesting look at how things went down at WWDC and it’s surprising how some of these deals are done.

Yyou can dowload Operator 41 now, but you’ll need to be an Apple Arcade subscriber to do so.