Apple Arcade, Apple’s new paid game subscription service for mobile, desktop and on Apple TV, was officially showcased at an event in Cupertino on Monday. Apple Arcade, when it becomes available later this year, will offer over 100 original and exclusive games in a dedicated section of the App Store for a monthly charge.
It is not similar to other cloud-based gaming services or like the recently announced Google Stadia games streaming service. In fact, with Apple Arcade, all games are handpicked by the company and the option to play and access these will be limited to the company’s devices. And all games will be available to play offline too.
We answer all questions around the Apple Arcade service.
Apple Arcade: What will this service offer to consumers?
The idea with Apple Arcade is to offer a subscription service for games as part of the App Store. The Apple Arcade tab will be there on iOS, macOS and tvOS in the App Store itself. Original paid games will be available to users via a paid subscription model.
So, instead of a user having to purchase individual games on iOS or macOS, the Arcade service will give them access to a variety of paid games. Apple says these games will be originals, exclusive to its Arcade service.
Apple Arcade: What game developers are on board for this partnership?
Apple is partnering with acclaimed indie developers like like Hironobu Sakaguchi, Ken Wong and Will Wright and major studios for the service. Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series, and his studio Mistwalker will be creating a game called “Fantasian” for Apple Arcade. Wright is best known for his creation of the ‘Sims’ and ‘Sim City’, though the name of his Apple Arcade game has not been revealed. Ken Wong was the lead designer for the hit game Monumental Valley.
In fact, the service will have over 100 new and exclusive games from Annapurna Interactive, Bossa Studios, Cartoon Network, Finji, Giant Squid, Klei Entertainment, Konami, LEGO, Mistwalker Corporation, SEGA, Snowman, ustwo games and more. Apple has not only handpicked these games but will also share the development costs and work closely with creators to bring the games to life.
Apple Arcade: How much will this service cost? Will it come to India
Apple Arcade will launch in fall 2019. Apple says it is bringing the service to more than 150 countries so it is expected that India will get this as well, when it starts rolling out. The price for Apple’s gaming subscription service has not been announced for now.
Apple Arcade: Will it work on other platforms?
The company is restricting Apple Arcade to just iOS, macOS and tvOS platforms for now. The idea is to create a service, which offers exclusive gaming titles, not available on other mobile platforms or subscription services.
Apple Arcade: So what exactly is the advantage of the service?
Subscribers of Apple Arcade will get access to all the games in the bundle rather than having to purchase each individual game. This model is new to the gaming world. Paid usres will get access to the full experience, including all game features, content and future updates.
There will be no additional purchases needed inside the game, which is something offered by many popular games right now. Apple says this will help discovery of some of the great games that otherwise don’t reach end users. This would also mean Apple will share the revenue with the developers.
Some of the games will offer support for game controllers. More importantly, a user will be able to play any game part of this service in the offline mode as well. This will free users from data restrictions when playing a game on Apple Arcade.
Apple says with the Arcade service, a user will be able to pick up where they left off in a game, even if they switch devices, from say iPhone to the Mac.
The company is promising they will add new games to the service on a regular basis. Apple also stressed that there will be no ads, ad tracking or additional purchase with Arcade and they will respect user privacy with its gaming service.
Disclaimer: The author is in San Jose, California at the invite of Apple India.