FAQ: What’s Apple Arcade? Is Apple’s Gaming Subscription Worth It?

Apple Arcade
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Apple’s latest keynote contained a wealth of information about new products like the updated iPad Air, and new services like the long-expected Apple TV+ streaming service. But Apple also announced something that’s gotten a little less attention – a video game service called Apple Arcade.

If you’re a gamer, or you have kids that play games, or if you’re casually into mobile games, you have good reason to wonder just what Apple Arcade is and if it’s worth your money. Let’s go over the details.

What Is Apple Arcade?

Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade is a subscription game service, a bit like EA Access or Xbox Game Pass, etc. You pay a monthly fee, and Apple provides you with unique games that you can download and play as often as you’d like.

We don’t know how much Apple Arcade is going to cost, but it’s likely to be significantly less than the TV streaming service; so under or around $10 is likely. But we do know that Apple is planning to make these games available without ads, ad tracking, or additional purchases.

That last bit makes it look like Apple will be avoiding the annoying freemium revenue model, and it’s a smart move, especially since more countries are cracking down on it.

What Games Will Be in Apple Arcade?

Apple Arcade 2

Apple hasn’t provided all the details yet, but the company has stated that Apple Arcade will be filled with a curated selection of games. Some of these will be games that are already available via the App Store, except you’ll be able to download them for free. Apple has said they will only be picking the best, most creative games.

Many of the games appear to be originals – specifically, Apple says that over 100 of the games will be new and exclusive, made by the likes of Hironobu Sakaguchi, Ken Wong and Will Wright. Companies involved in making these games include LEGO, Konami, Cartoon Network, SEGA, Snowman, and others.

This raises a lot of questions about just what kind of games Arcade exclusives will be. It doesn’t sound like Apple will be trying to mimic console/PC games at all. It also doesn’t look like any will be particularly “mature” content, since Apple has also said they want Arcade to be great for families and fun for all ages. Beyond that, we only have a few examples, such as “Sonic Racing” from SEGA and a platformer called “Hot Lava” by Klei Entertainment, which look like traditional indie game offerings.

How Can I Play Apple Arcade Games?

Best Summer Games 2018

Apple Arcade isn’t mobile only, and it doesn’t appear to be associated with any particular device or controller (unlike the Google Stadia, for example). Instead, Apple is making the service available on iOS, macOS, and tvOS, letting consumers decide how they want to play from there. It appears that Apple intends to have all the games available on all of these platforms in equal fashion, but that leaves a whole lot of questions about game controls: A game designed for an iPhone touchscreen is going to play much differently than a game developed for a Mac keyboard.

When Will Apple Arcade Be Available?

Apple Arcade 3

Fall 2019 – that’s all Apple is willing to say for now. This gives them a window to announce the launch of Apple Arcade during one of the company’s renown fall presentations. Apple is also currently accepting developer applications for Apple Arcade, so there’s certainly room for the service to change or improve between now and then.

Should I Get Apple Arcade?

Apple Arcade 1

At this point, it’s impossible to tell. Apple needs to identify the specific types of games it will be offering, and what exactly makes these games worth playing compared to other gaming services that already exist. We’ll hear significantly more about that in the fall. For now, it looks like Apple is trying to slip in between purely casual mobile games and console indie games, creating a service that gamers may be interested in buying for their kids to expose them to higher-quality games in a safe environment. We’ll provide more details as they emerge.

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