Apple announced its new gaming service at its media services event this week along with a number of other services. Apple Arcade was announced without any associated prices. But while the subscription game is not considered as Apple’s greatest investment among its new services, rather it does reflect the company’s willingness to experiment with its most significant current content revenue stream.
With Apple Arcade, Apple is trying to expanding its presence in the video games industry with its own game subscription service–designed to provide access to a variety of titles that will be accessible on mobile or desktop. Unlike Google’s Stadia or the Shadow service, Apple Arcade won’t be a cloud streaming service.
Monthly Subscription Service
Essentially, Apple Arcade will work on monthly subscription that provides unlimited access to a curated selection of paid titles on the App Store. It uses a more traditional “pass” model that has matured on consoles services such as Xbox Game Pass. Development partners include Sega, Konami, Disney, Sumo Digital, and Cartoon Network, and more than 100 exclusive games will become part of the Apple service. Additional games will also be added “all the time,” the company said, although an exact information about new releases was not shared.
But there are several differences between Apple Arcade and the other console-based services, including the scale of the market, the diversity of the platforms supported, the exclusivity of the games, the nature of the subscription content, particularly in place in the platform marketplace. Xbox Game Pass, which offers more than 100 titles just as Apple expects to, includes a range of popular titles within proven franchises.
Apple Arcade will work on Mobile, Laptops and TV
Apple Arcade will work on devices like iPhones and iPads. Beyond that, you’ll be able to play on MacOS and Apple TV, meaning these games can be played on all three segments mobile, laptops, and TV. Similar to Google Stadia feature you can also move from playing something on your phone to your TV or laptop without losing your progress. Apple went on to state that every game would be playable offline, while future game updates would be included at no extra cost and the games will be free of ads and microtransactions. One key bit of information—the cost–has not yet been shared. Apple says pricing and more details are yet to come.
Apple has said that games on Arcade will be exclusive. After press release among the confirmed games are Sonic Racing, Lego Brawls, Oceanhorn 2, Overland, Fantasian (from Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi), and Beyond the Steel Sky.
Ultimately, Arcade may not do much to shift the share of revenue away from in-app purchase. It can provide extra revenue to Apple from people who spend heavily on gaming. However, Arcade could provide many benefits to Apple consumers, developers, and, of course, to the Apple itself. For one, it could make the difference for a developer about deciding whether a game that doesn’t work well for in-app purchase gets published. It could also provide a strong alternative for parents who are ok with predictable spending on a game and want to avoid exposing kids to more.