Ideas & Insights
Apple’s New Apple Arcade

In the same showcase that highlighted the iPhone 11 series, Apple has confirmed the price model for its gaming platform, "Apple Arcade." After experiencing the platform for one entire month as a free trial, a subscription to Apple Arcade will run a monthly fee of $4.99.

While many were wondering what sort of model Apple would use during the announcement earlier this year, the next issue is just how big of a gaming library the platform will feature; even $4.99 can be a big ask if the games are not that thrilling or intriguing. After an initial assessment of the service's library, there is an overwhelming feeling that its games are amusements that might not otherwise have a reason to exist. One of the first things that becomes apparent is that Apple Arcade is not trying to compete with the same increasingly-crowded space that other game subscription and streaming services fill. It will not contain any notable AAA titles nor anything graphics intensive. In reality, Apple Arcade seeks to provide simple, enjoyable titles that are easy to start up and enjoy, effectively bringing the usual walled garden approach Apple is known for to the realm of video games. While Apple has its hands in a number of entertainment subscriptions, some may worry about the fatigue of yet another Apple branded service for consumers. Interestingly, a lot of Apple Arcade's initial offerings are reminiscent of how Nintendo's Wii console became such a hit with consumers-its games seek to be simply, easy and alluring enough to attract parents and other non-traditional gamers. There is also the confidence of knowing that the games will always work on their Apple devices. There remain some murky bits to this whole situation. Apple is not a standalone platform but is a tab within the App store that downloads titles to the home screen of a user's device. In order to try and play a game, you have to download it; run out of space on your hard drive and you will have to figure out what needs to go if you want to get any more. Interface aside, the service is quite simple to use, regardless of device. As of now, 47 titles have been announced for the platform including some notable names like a new "ChuChu Rocket," the fifth "Shantae" game, a pair of "LEGO" branded games, a new "Pac-Man" and "Rayman" title, "Sonic Racing" and even "Steven Universe: Unleash the Light." While Apple has been quiet about its guidelines for submissions to Apple Arcade, all titles must be in development, safe for all ages and able to function across all Apple devices. More games are set to be added each month. One of the real head-scratchers of Apple Arcade's library is exclusivity. While some titles are completely exclusive to it, others are launching on other platforms, though none of those titles have been announced for Google Play nor Android...yet.

Verdict

Apple Arcade gives off the vibe of a venue for mobile gaming that is not helped with the simple, slow gameplay and stylized art in many featured games. Despite this appearance, declaring it as such does a disservice to the service's potential. Currently, at least one game on the library was intended as a title for smartphones and tables; having a game on Apple devices when said game was intended to compete with them seems like a circular loop of design. It is important to remember that this review covers Apple Arcade as it is now-future waves of game releases may successfully break away from the stereotypes of mobile gaming. Only time will tell for sure.
back to top