Apple Arcade, first revealed earlier this year, will be available starting Sept. 19 in more than 150 countries with the release of iOS 13. Priced at $4.99 monthly “for the whole family,” the game-subscription service will be available with a one-month free trial. The company announced the plans at its Sept. 10 event at its Cupertino, Calif. headquarters.
Among the games available at launch are Konami’s “Frogger,” an updated version of the arcade classic, and “Toy Town”; Capcom’s “Shinsekai: Into the Depths,” an underwater adventure game; and Annapurna Interactive’s “Sayonara Wild Hearts” from developer Simogo, billed as a playable music video.
Apple Arcade will be accessible on iPhones, iPads, Apple TV and Macs via a new tab in the App Store (available on Sept. 30 on iPadOS and tvOS 13, and in October on macOS Catalina). The games will have no ads or in-app purchases and won’t be available (at least at first) anywhere else. Apple Arcade provides access to up to six people per account.
Apple Arcade also is set to feature titles from partners including Sega, WarnerMedia’s Cartoon Network, Bossa Studios, Finji, Giant Squid, Klei Entertainment, Lego, Mistwalker, Snowman and ustwo games.
Other initial titles include Bandai Namco’s “Pac-Man Party Royale,” a new installment in the classic franchise featuring a four-player battle mode; Gameloft’s “Ballistic Baseball” arcade baseball game; Sega’s “ChuChu Rocket! Universe” puzzle game; Devolver’s “Exit the Gungeon,” in which players must escape a collapsing hell dungeon; Finji’s post-apocalyptic road trip adventure “Overland”; “Steven Universe: Unleash the Light,” an original Cartoon Network role-playing game based on the series, co-written by show creator Rebecca Sugar; and “Various Daylife” from Square Enix, an RPG from the creators of “Bravely Default” and “Octopath Traveler” set in the year 211 of the Imperial Era.
The gaming service joins the tech giant’s growing portfolio of subscription offerings, including Apple TV Plus, which is set to launch Nov. 1 and also priced at $4.99 per month. Earlier this year, it rolled out Apple News Plus, $9.99 monthly, stocked with content from over 300 publisher partners. Then there’s Apple Music, also $9.99 per month, with over 50 million songs.
Apple’s App Store is already a major distribution platform for games, offering some 300,000 free and paid games. Apple Arcade will let users try any game in the service as part of the subscription, with access to the full experience, including all game features, content and future updates.
Other game subscription plans include Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, regularly priced at $14.99 monthly for 100 titles, including “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” “Minecraft,” “Fallout 4,” “Gears of War 4” and “State of Decay 2.”
Meanwhile, launching in November is Google’s Stadia, a free cloud-gaming service that will include a paid “Pro” tier at $9.99 per month providing bundled access to some titles and higher visual fidelity for games you own. Google also has confirmed it’s gearing up to launch Google Play Pass, expected to be a $5-per-month service with a curated set of premium apps including games.