The Apple Arcade subscription service for games is just the latest sign of Apple getting on the gaming bandwagon – with a curated list of quality titles all set to come to your iPhones, iPads, Macbook computers and even Apple TV at an affordable monthly cost.
That’s what it looks like, anyway – the official Apple Arcade pricing hasn’t been confirmed, but a leak from Apple’s internal preview of the platform points to a pretty low $4.99 (£4 / AU$7) pricing. Who are we to complain?
It’s Apple’s take on the whole “Netflix-for-gaming” approach – tying gamers into a monthly subscription that gives them access to top-quality videogaming adventures that aren’t available anywhere else. Apple Arcade has a good heritage behind it – Apple was arguably the first company to take mobile gaming seriously and make it financially viable, and as a result it’s now got the backing of some of the most important names in mobile game development.
It’s also great news for Mac owners, who have always played second fiddle to PC gamers when it comes to finding top-notch game experiences on their platform.
Apple Arcade was unveiled with over 100 unique (read ‘indie’) titles, exclusive to Apple’s devices, including Beneath a Steel Sky, a remake of the classic adventure game, with art by Watchman comic book legend Neil Gibbons.
In addition, the collection of games available is set to be curated by experts, will be updated monthly, and will include original releases from renowned creators Hironobu Sakaguchi, Ken Wong, Will Wright and more.
All these exclusive games could cost Apple a pretty penny, with some reports suggesting that Apple is set to spend over $500 million on the new service – while Google Play’s own plans for a similar gaming service, and possibly even one from Samsung, could eat into their profits somewhat. But with a new iPod Touch being released in the same year, Apple seems to be intelligently luring youngsters to its new service.
We haven’t heard much about Apple Arcade since it was announced earlier this year, but we’re expecting to get all the juicy details during tomorrow’s iPhone 11 launch including an official price, when exactly the service will launch and more about what games are going to be on offer.
So ahead of the big event, we’ve rounded up everything we know so far about the Apple Arcade subscription service and what we expect to see tomorrow.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Apple’s mobile and Mac gaming subscription service
- When does it launch? Autumn 2019 (Between September and November 2019)
- What can I play it on? iPad, iPhone, Mac, and Apple TV
- How much will it cost? Likely $4.99 (£4 / AU$7), but pricing isn’t yet official
Apple Arcade release date
Apple Arcade is due to release in “fall 2019”, which means we can expect it to launch between September and November 2019. Apple has promised the service will be supported in 150 regions at launch.
We’re currently in September, so we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple Arcade launches alongside Apple’s new iPhone range on September 10 – if not in the coming weeks.
- iPad OS: release date, features and public beta details
Apple Arcade price
Surprisingly, it looks like Apple Arcade is going to buck the trend for Apple’s usual pricing strategies. While Apple Arcade will offer a monthly subscription plan in the vein of Apple News Plus, Apple Music, and Apple TV Plus, it is rumored to cost only $4.99 (£4 / AU$7) per month rather than the $9.99 cost of its sibling platforms.
That may reflect on the size of the library at launch, or just be Apple trying to find a competitive foothold in a pretty packed market – with the likes of Xbox Games Pass and PS Now already out there, and Google Stadia on the way, even Apple Arcade could have trouble becoming established.
It’s worth noting this price point isn’t official and we’re expecting official price confirmation at the iPhone 11 launch event – but it’s likely to be in and around this price.
Apple Arcade trailers
Apple revealed the Apple Arcade service during an Apple special event on March 25, 2019. You can check out the first trailer for the service below:
Apple Arcade controllers
Any good gaming platform needs a great controller – but Apple Arcade is in a rather unique position of having to work across multiple hardware platforms and input devices – be that over a touchscreen for iPad and iPhone, a keyboard and mouse for Mac, and a remote for Apple TV.
But when it comes to gaming, nothing beats a gamepad. At WWDC 2019, Apple announced that, if you’re playing Apple Arcade games on an Apple TV device, you’ll be able to pair the excellent Sony PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 pad, and Microsoft’s Xbox One gamepad up with the TV box too.
Now, potentially, there’s not much preventing Apple from extending this support to Apple Arcade for mobile devices, and surely to Mac too – there are already many workarounds to make both devices usable as a controller for Apple’s computers. Fingers crossed Apple will expand native support for both pads to Apple Arcade, no matter what device you’re playing on.
Apple Arcade features
No ads, no ad-tracking and no additional purchases
Apple Arcade will be a single subscription service – pay your money each month, and you won’t have to endure any adverts on the service. There will be no ad-supported version at launch, and Apple has given no suggestion that that will ever be on the cards.
Over 100+ games
Apple Arcade will give users access to over 100 games, all of which will be Apple Arcade exclusives, curated by experts and updated monthly. “You can try whatever you want, whenever you want,” according to Apple.
Games available offline
According to Apple, all the games on Apple Arcade will be available to play offline, so no need to worry about losing access to them if you’re on the subway or out in the middle of nowhere away from a mobile connection.
The Apple Arcade service offers a Family Sharing plan so all household members can play the game for a single subscription cost. That’ll make it attractive to households that have bought into the Apple ecosystem with iPads, Macbooks and iPhones – especially if it means mum and dad don’t have to hand over the iPhones so that the kids can play.
What’s Apple Arcade available on?
iPad, iPhone, Mac, and Apple TV. You’ll also be able to pick up where you left off in a game, even if you switch devices.
Private and secure
Apple Arcade games cannot collect any data about you without your consent.
Push for indies
While we know that Apple Arcade will include games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Beneath a Steel Sky and Where Cards Fall, Apple promises games from the likes of Bossa Studios, Cartoon Network, Annapurna Interactive, Finji, Giant Squid, Klei Entertainment, Mistwalker Corporation, SEGA, Snowman, ustwo games, Konami, Lego, and many more.
Apple isn’t just handpicking the games
The company is also contributing to the development costs and working closely with creators to bring their games to Apple devices. Apple’s never really had much success (or, arguably, interest) in being a game developer itself, so this marks a rare moment where the company is getting directly involved in the industry.
Here’s what Phil Schiller has to say…
“The App Store is the world’s biggest and most successful game platform. Now we are going to take games even further with Apple Arcade, the first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and the living room,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“We are working with some of the most innovative game developers in the world to create over 100 new and exclusive games to play across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV.
“Apple Arcade games will be great for families, respect user privacy and will not have ads or require any additional purchases. We think players of all ages are going to love Apple Arcade.”
Apple Arcade news and rumors
Early access program
9to5Mac gained access to the internal early testing program for Apple Arcade which is reserved for employees. The early access program charges a subscription of just $0.49 per month, with one month free trial – but don’t expect this for the full service.
According to the site, Apple Arcade’s early access program finishes in mid September – meaning its launch is likely to coincide with the launch of iOS13.
How to download
According to the same report by 9to5Mac, users are offered a one-month free trial period. Once you’ve signed up for your Apple Arcade subscription, you can simply download a game by pressing the ‘get’ button – a bit like with downloading an app on your iPhone.
Apple Arcade: what we expect to see
We’re expecting to hear more about Apple Arcade during Apple’s iPhone 11 launch on September 10, but what information are we hoping to gather from the event?
We’ll almost certainly get an official launch date for Apple Arcade during the event. We already know the service will launch “fall 2019”, so we wouldn’t be surprised if it launches alongside iOS13 later this month.
We also expect to get official confirmation on global subscription pricing for Apple Arcade including a potential family plan. The service is rumored to cost only $4.99 (£4 / AU$7) per month and we think it’s likely the official price be far off.
We already know some of the games coming to Apple Arcade but we’re expecting well over 100 titles to grace the service (mostly indie). It could be that since Apple announced the service earlier this year, that it’s got some bigger names on board.
Explanation of how it’ll work
9to5Mac may have provided us a look at the early access program, but we’re hoping to see exactly what Apple Arcade’s UI will look (maybe with iOS 13?) plus a look into how we can actually download games using the service.
Apple TV hardware?
A possibility, though unlikely, there are rumors circulating that there could be new Apple TV hardware on the horizon that could complement the Apple Arcade service. But we’re not holding out hope.
Apple Arcade games
These are all the games that have been officially confirmed for Apple Arcade:
- Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree
- Beyond a Steel Sky
- Box Project
- Doomsday Vault
- Down in Bermuda
- Enter The Construct
- Frogger in Toy Town
- Hot Lava
- Kings of the Castle
- Lego Arthouse
- Lego Brawls
- Little Orpheus
- Mr Turtle
- No Way Home
- Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm
- Projection: First Light
- Sayonara Wild Hearts
- Shantae 5
- Sneaky Sasquatch
- Sonic Racing
- The Artful Escape
- The Pathless
- The Bradwell Conspiracy
- UFO on Tape: First Contact
- Where Cards Fall
- Winding Worlds
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