Apple shared more details on the Apple Arcade subscription service, hailed as the “Netflix of games.”
There were no surprises. Almost all the information about the service presented yesterday had been known either from leaks or from Apple’s earlier statements.
But first things first.
iOS 13 will be available for download on September 19. One of its key features is the Apple Arcade subscription service.
Apple Arcade’s many partners
Subscribing to Apple Arcade gives you access to a library of premium games. These are the platform’s mobile exclusives. The development of some of them was funded by Apple .
At launch, the library will have 100 titles. However, over time, there will be more. Apple says that new games will appear in the catalog every month.
No Apple Arcade exclusive will have micropayments or ads. In all cases, we are talking about full and complete versions of games. Once downloaded, the games will be available to play offline.
Apple Arcade will not be limited to iPhones. All games of the service will also be available on tablets, Apple TV consoles, and Apple desktop devices (but not right away).
Multi-platform service within the Apple ecosystem
Some games of the service will support third-party controllers. Via Bluetooth, you will be able to connect Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers. Apple Arcade games will also be compatible with MFi devices.
The first month is free. Then subscribers will be charged $4.99 for every 30 days.
Yes, the Apple Arcade button will appear in the bottom menu of the App Store. In other words, now two out of five store buttons will lead to gaming content.
Users will now be able choose between free-to-play and premium in the menu
Not all launch titles have been named so far. As part of the presentation of the service in Cupertino, three projects were highlighted.
Konami presented the new Frogger (the original came out in 1981). This is a simple arcade game about a frog that must reach a destination while dodging obstacles.
Capcom showcased survival platformer Shinsekai: Into the Depths. In the game, the player must explore the seabed and fight monsters.
Shinsekai: Into the Depths
Annapurna Interactive showed Sayonara Wild Heart gameplay. Visually, the game resembles a neon music runner.
Sayonara Wild Heart
In the press release, Apple mentiones 15 more projects that will appear on the platform. The most notable of them are:
- RPG Various Daylife (Square Enix). Apparently made by the people responsible for Octopath Traveler;
- platformer Shantae and the Seven Sirens (WayForward). Continuation of the cult niche series;
- tactical Overland (Finji). In short, it is X-COM on small maps. The project has been in development since 2015.
Prior to this, Apple also announced:
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm – Finnish “Zelda” by Cornfox & Bros.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm
Beyond a Steel Sky – a sequel to Charles Cecil’s cult quest that lost some of the original’s style but beefed up its visuals
Beyond a Steel Sky
…and a number of smaller titles. By the way, the last two will not be exclusive to Apple Arcade. They will also appear on Steam.
Speaking of the content, there are two main concerns so far.
Firstly, it’s clear that Apple is trying to diversify the portfolio. And that’s great. However, the general family-friendliness of the service, as well as its mobile nature, will probably preclude the platform from embracing the more mature games that dominate the premium market.
Secondly, while most of the games are interesting, no exclusive blockbusters have been announced. Typically across entertainment industries, it is massive exlusive hits that drive subscriptions (Like Game of Thrones did for HBO).
Other than that, all is good. The price is adequate. The diversity of the roster of games is exciting.
What we are yet to find out is how developers will be able to monetize through the service.