Video game fans have several different subscription service options across everything from Xbox One to PC, including Xbox Game Pass, EA Access, and PlayStation Now, but thus far Mac and iOS players have been left out of the fun. That will change soon with the launch of Apple Arcade, an ambitious program that will feature more than 100 games, including several exclusives.
Whether you’re playing on your phone, computer, or television, you’ll be able to access Apple’s vault of games, which includes titles from some of the biggest designers and studios in the industry. Here’s what we know about Apple Arcade, including its game lineup and unique features ahead of Apple’s special iPhone 11 event — where we anticipate even more news will be shared.
What is Apple Arcade?
Before we discuss what Apple Arcade is, it’s important to clarify what it isn’t. It is not a game-streaming service like the upcoming Project xCloud or Google Stadia, which means a stable internet connection isn’t required to enjoy your favorite downloaded titles. Of course, some kind of data plan or internet connection will be necessary to access Apple Arcade and download the games. Apple assures, however, that once the game is installed, you’ll be able to enjoy it offline at any time.
Apple Arcade is a monthly subscription service that gives its members unlimited access to a wide variety of games, all of which will receive free updates and content automatically. The service will be available across iPhone, iPad, Mac, as well as Apple TV, and the games included support cross-save. This means games you start on your Mac at home can be continued on your phone or tablet via the cloud.
Apple Arcade games will feature no ads, and there will be no microtransactions in any of them. A subscription to the service will give you access to the service along with up to five other people, and new games are promised to be added “all the time.”
Apple Arcade will support parental controls, so younger players can enjoy the age-appropriate games included in the program without accessing more mature titles. To find games for downloading, you will be able to use a new Apple Arcade icon located in the App Store itself, which will make finding the latest titles a breeze.
None of the games included on Apple Arcade will be available on the Google Play store, and Apple is reportedly paying quite the price to make this happen. According to the Financial Times, the company budgeted more than $500 million solely for securing games. Developers will reportedly receive a percentage of the program’s revenue based on the amount of time users spend playing their games.
Apple Arcade is being designed specifically for Apple devices, but certain games will still support physical controllers. As Apple said every game will be playable offline, we’re led to believe that there will be a single-player or local multiplayer component to all titles included on the list. Apple also said that its games will “respect user privacy,” which is a hot-button issue, particularly for mobile games.
It has also been reported that though Apple Arcade games will never be allowed on Android devices, developers will have the option to also bring them to consoles or PC after a timed exclusivity period expires.
At launch in fall 2019, more than 150 countries will have support for Apple Arcade on iOS, Mac, and Apple TV.
Apple Arcade games look to take full advantage of the Apple ecosystem and the short, simple experiences that often dominate mobile gaming. However, titles are being designed by some major third-party partners, including Disney, Sega, Konami, Cartoon Network, Annapurna, Finji, Blowfish, Klei, Platinum Games, Cornfox & Bros, Mountains, Versus Evil, Devolver, Lego, Sumo Digital, and many more.
Apple also stressed that storytelling and design will be “pushed further than ever before,” so don’t expect an Angry Birds clone to make it into the program. Designers involved in the production of Apple Arcade games include Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons, Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, Monument Valley designer Ken Wong, and The Sims designer Will Wright. Developers interested in being considered for inclusion can apply on the official developer website.
Below are the games confirmed for Apple Arcade.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm
Beyond a Steel Sky
Kings of the Castle
Sayonara Wild Hearts
Frogger in Toy Town
Down in Bermuda
ATONE: Heart of the Elder Tree
No Way Home
The Bradwell Conspiracy
UFO on Tape: First Contact
Enter the Construct
Projection: First Light
The Artful Escape
Where Cards Fall
Apple has not formally announced a price for Apple Arcade yet. However, with Apple Music, the company charges $10 per month and $15 for a family plan. Given that Xbox Game Pass is the closest comparable service and also charges $15 per month, we have our money on Apple taking the same approach.
During their Spring event in March 2019, it was announced that Apple Arcade is scheduled to launch in Fall 2019. While an exact release date has not been given yet, we can expect for it to arrive sometime between September and November 2019, a timeframe that it usually reserves for announcing new phones. At launch, Apple Arcadia will be available in more than 150 countries.