Following a sneak peek inside the walls of Apple’s new Arcade, it looks like we now have a price for the service too.
According to 9to5Mac’s Guilherme Rambo, who also revealed the employee early access program over the weekend, Apple is planning to launch Apple Arcade at a price of $4.99/month — half of what the company currently charges for its Apple Music and Apple News+ services.
The service will also offer a one-month free trial before users start being billed, and it looks like all of the members of your Family Sharing account will be able to access Apple Arcade for the base subscription price.
This differs from Apple Music, which requires customers to pay for a higher service tier for family sharing as compared to an individual account. However, it’s looking like that may be the exception, and one that has probably been influenced by the music industry. Apple News+, released earlier this year, also allows access by all family members for the same standard subscription price, and in the case of Apple Arcade, Apple itself directly controls all of the pieces.
With the service likely to be unveiled as early as next month’s iPhone event, it’s not surprising that Apple’s new gaming subscription service is starting to come together, with at least some internal Apple employees are already being offered an opportunity to sign up and try the service — and the fact that they’re being told that the early access program will end with the release of iOS 13 suggests that this is when the ball will drop and the actual Arcade doors will open.
Apple has some fairly ambitious goals for the new subscription gaming service, which will be made up of over 100 original game titles that will be exclusive to Apple Arcade — at least for their initial launch — and has already brought in some heavy-hitters to make sure that the games that it’s able to offer will be of premium quality.
For example, Apple already has legendary Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi on board, along with Will Wright of SimCity fame, and Ken Wong, the designer of the award-winning Monument Valley. There’s also LEGO, Konami, Cartoon Network, SEGA, Snowman, and others that have all committed to producing games for the service.
And why not? Apple has already committed to spending over $500 million to fund game development on the platform, and that’s probably just the beginning. It’s also been courting even more developers to come on board, and most recently snagged one of the creators of the original Xbox who has a background in VR engineering, suggesting that Apple Arcade could easily become a core platform for Apple’s augmented reality ambitions.
Although what we’ve seen from the initial peek inside may not seem all that impressive yet, it stands to reason that Apple is holding back the flagship titles for the actual unveiling, and everything promoting the service is still promising over 100 games to be available at launch.
It’s worth noting that Rambo obtained his information not through any sources inside Apple, but rather by examining one of the APIs used by the App Store app, which contained a promotional message showing the pricing for Apple Arcade. So it’s possible this could still be a placeholder and the final pricing may change, but if it’s accurate, and if Apple can deliver on its promises of over 100 quality games, Apple Arcade stands ready to turn the whole mobile gaming industry on its head.