Apple officially cut the ribbon for its new game subscription service Thursday: Priced $4.99 per month, Apple Arcade offers unlimited access to over 100 exclusive games. Apple Arcade was released alongside iOS 13, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.
Some of the titles available through the subscription package include “Lego Brawls” from Lego / Red Games, “Sayonara Wild Hearts” from Annapurna Interactive, “Assemble With Care” from Ustwo Games, “Frogger in Toy Town” from Konami and “Rayman Mini” from Ubisoft.
Games will be playable across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Macs, but users of bigger screens will have to wait a little longer: The service will launch on iPadOS and tvOS on September 30, and come to MacOS in October. New users will be able to test Apple Arcade for free for 30 days.
It’s worth noting that Apple’s exclusivity is in some cases limited to mobile gaming: “Sayonara Wild Hearts” for instance was released for Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch on Thursday as well.
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Apple had first announced Apple Arcade at a services-focused event in March, and revealed pricing and other launch details when it introduced the new iPhone 11 earlier this month. The company actually began testing Apple Arcade with users of the iOS 13 public beta a few days ago.
Initial reactions to the service were largely positive, with users both praising the quality of the included games as well as the fact that all of the titles are available without ads and in-app payments.
I sat down with my 8yo and scrolled through Apple Arcade and he was SO EXCITED he could hardly contain himself. Then I told him that all of the games will have no ads and none of them will bother you to buy coins or anything and he literally jumped around the room with glee.
— Sean Heber (@BigZaphod) September 18, 2019
With this focus on subscriptions over in-app payments and other free-to-play monetization schemes, Apple Arcade could have a significant impact on the video game industry as a whole. Driven by the success of free-to-play games like “Candy Crush” and “Fortnite,” much of the industry has embraced in-app payments as a means of monetization.
However, that strategy hasn’t always gone over well with players. Loot boxes in particular, which give users access to randomized virtual items for a fee, have been controversial, and compared to gambling. Just this week, a survey revealed that half of gamers have regretted spending money on loot boxes.