CUPERTINO, Calif.—Apple today announced a new subscription service called Apple Arcade for games on its platforms, including iPad, iPhone, Mac, and Apple TV. The service will debut “this fall.” Its exact price has not yet been confirmed.
The paid-subscription service will include games “unavailable on any other mobile service,” Apple confirmed, and it will launch with “over 100 new and exclusive games.” A sizzle reel of flashy games appeared at today’s Apple event, and it largely focused on indie games that haven’t yet launched on either traditional or mobile platforms yet. One notable exception: there was a brief shot of an apparently unannounced Sonic the Hedgehog game.
By paying the subscription fee, players will have access to all games for as long as they want with no limits or microtransactions attached. Shared family accounts will have access to the titles and parental controls for no additional charge. And the service’s multi-device support extends to letting iOS gamers suspend an Apple Arcade game on their phone, then resume playing it on another device, or vice versa.
Apple’s approach here differs significantly from some of the new games services we’ve seen announced lately, particularly Google’s Stadia service, which was unveiled at the 2019 Game Developers Conference last week. Stadia is aimed at streaming core games like Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and Doom Eternal to mobile devices with streaming technology. Apple will simply offer free downloads of games that users would otherwise have to buy individually. Apple pointed this fact out, saying its games will work “regardless of your Internet connection.”
For mobile game developers, securing a position in this service could prove very attractive. That’s because mobile games often live and die by if, how, and when they are featured in the App Store—a call made by Apple. Mobile developers commonly implement features that Apple wants to prioritize, like augmented reality modes or Shortcuts, in order to entice the company to feature them. By joining the subscription service, these games could essentially secure a featured spot—at least, as long as there aren’t too many games in the service crowding them out.
This story is breaking, and we will update it as more information becomes available. Apple’s event is still in progress, and you can follow everything in real time through our liveblog.
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