Where other gaming services will embrace streaming, Apple will keep it on your device.
The gaming world will become significantly more interesting this fall when Apple releases its Arcade game subscription service. Announced in March, the subscription service will let Apple users play games across iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Apple TV devices.
Apple’s gaming platform will join Google’s Stadia — a gaming service coming in November that will let players stream games to the Chrome browser, to a TV connected to a Chromecast Ultra streaming device, and to Pixel phones — and Microsoft’s upcoming Project xCloud service, which will allow players to stream games much like you can stream movies via Netflix, when it arrives in 2020.
Apple, however, is taking a different approach with Arcade. Instead of streaming a game, Arcade players will download it to their Apple device to play, which will allow for gameplay whether the player is online or off. Apple said games will be exclusive to Arcade and not available on other services. The subscription service will be available across Apple devices, and Apple said Arcade will work with Microsoft Xbox One S and PlayStation DualShock 4 controllers, which should make for more varied gameplay.
Here’s everything we know — and don’t know — about Apple’s Arcade gaming service.
What is Apple Arcade?
Apple’s App Store houses more than 300,000 games. But discovering games can be a challenge — and helping users do so is a goal for game developers. Apple says that’s part of why it created Arcade, which it calls the world’s first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and living room.
The subscription service out of the gate will offer more than 100 new and exclusive games that Apple is working with game creators to create. Apple stressed that the games will not be available on other mobile devices and will not be part of other subscription services. Game types will include multiplayer and AR, and Apple says it will be adding games over time.
Which games have been announced?
Apple said you’ll be able to play more than 100 new games with an Arcade subscription. Apple and game developers have confirmed about three dozen so far:
- The Artful Escape, from Annapurna Interactive
- Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree, from Wildboy Studios
- Beyond a Steel Sky, from Revolution Software
- Box Project, by Mediocre Mel
- The Bradwell Conspiracy, from Bossa Studios and A Brave Plan
- Cardpocalypse, from Versus Evil and Gambrinous
- Doomsday Vault, from Flightless
- Down in Bermuda, from Yak & Co
- Enter the Construct, from Directive Games
- Fantasian, from Mistwalker
- Frogger in Toy Town, from Konami
- HitchHiker, from Versus Evil and Mad About Pandas
- Hot Lava, from Klei Entertainment
- Kings of the Castle, from Frosty Pop
- Lego Arthouse, from Lego
- Lego Brawls, from Lego and Red Games
- Lifelike, from Kunabi Brother
- Little Orpheus, The Chinese Room
- Momomals, from Picomy
- Mr. Turtle, from Illusion Labs
- No Way Home, from SMG Studio
- Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm, from Cornfox & Bros.
- Overland, from Finji
- The Pathless, from Annapurna and Giant Squid
- Projection: First Light, from Blowfish Studios and Shadowplay Studios
- Repair, from UsTwo Games
- Sayonara Wild Hearts, from Annapurna Interactive and Simogo
- Shantae 5, from WayForward
- Sneaky Sasquatch, from RAC7
- Sonic Racing, from Sega and HardLight
- Spidersaurs, from WayForward
- UFO on Tape: First Contact, from Revolutionary Concepts
- Where Cards Fall, from Snowman and The Game Board
- Winding Worlds, from Ko_op
- Yaga, from Versus Evil and Breadcrumbs Interactive
Which devices can I use to play Apple Arcade games?
The iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Apple TV devices will work with the service. Users will be able to access the service via a new dedicated tab in a device’s App Store.
You’ll download a game to your device to play. And unlike Google’s Stadia game service, this isn’t a streaming service: Every Arcade game will be playable offline. Apple says Arcade will let parents control kids’ gaming screen time, too.
And Arcade will support Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers if you prefer using a controller over a touchscreen.
How much does Apple Arcade cost?
Apple hasn’t announced a price, but 9to5Mac reports that Apple plans to charge $4.99 (about £4 or AU$7) a month after a free trial.
Apple said you won’t see ads and or pay extra for add-ons or game updates; all that comes with the subscription. And as with the News Plus magazine service, a subscription will cost the same for an individual and six family members.
When and where is it coming?
This fall, Apple says, in more than 150 countries. (This includes the UK and Australia.)
What else is Apple doing with Arcade?
In addition to hosting the service, Apple says it’s contributing to the development costs of games and working with developers to bring their games to the service.
How much money will Apple make from each game?
Apple didn’t share how much of a cut it will take off the service, but it customarily gets a 30% share of app sales in its App Store. For comparison, the Epic Games Store, from the maker of Fortnite, gets a 12% cut, undercutting the 30% Steam gets off its store purchases.
What about privacy?
Apple says Apple Arcade games can’t collect any data about you and can’t track information about how you play the game without your consent. Look for individual permissions that give you control over what personal information you share with whom.
Originally published March 25.
Updates, June 13: Additional details; Sept. 9, adds games.