Apple Arcade is out now, alongside the new iOS13 update for all Apple products. People were surprised that such a strong development in video game streaming is out so soon after its initial announcement. At first glance, the streaming service seems pretty attractive and worth the monthly subscription. Not only does it revolutionize the mobile gaming market, but it marks a notable change in the gaming industry as a whole.
It offers more convenience, comfort, and accessibility while touting content curation and money-saving plans. However, with every new streaming service, especially something as ambitious as Arcade, there will be positive and negative attributes.
Here’s a breakdown of the five best things about Apple Arcade, and the five worst things.
10 Best: The Cheap Price
Apple Arcade costs just $4.99 to stream over 100 indie game titles, which is a pretty great deal. Especially considering the price doesn’t change when you get the Family Sharing plan, where up to six family members can use the service.
There will also be no advertisements or in-app purchases, unlike Google Play Pass, so your wallet isn’t getting sucked dry anymore. Apple also doesn't have to bear some responsibility for the recent controversy surrounding microtransactions, loot boxes, and their legality.
9 Worst: No Ownership
With the growing trend of video game streaming comes a big criticism: game ownership. Google Stadia received backlash over the ownership question, stating that players “own the right to play the game.” This is the same situation for Apple Arcade: you are paying for access to the games, and therefore, do not own them.
Considering some of these Apple Arcade games are being marketed as interesting indie game experiences, some people may want to own them. Critics also warned of server issues and stability and how it affects save files. We’ll have to see how Apple Arcade approaches this issue in the future.
8 Best: Range of Input Devices
While it has no dedicated Apple controller, there is a range of input devices: touchscreen (iPhone, iPad), mouse and keyboard (Mac), remote (Apple TV).
Wireless support is also available for Playstation 4 DualShock 4 and Xbox One S controllers. MFi controllers are also supported by the platform. They’ve basically covered everything except VR hardware.
7 Worst: Some Exclusives Aren’t Exclusive?
Exclusivity for Apple Arcade doesn’t mean these games will not be available anywhere else. It will only be exclusive in terms of the mobile game market, i.e. not on Android. According to 9to5, some consumers were confused when they noticed some titles will be available on PC or video game consoles.
TechRadar also mentioned that Apple Arcade’s exclusivity on these titles may be temporary. So, why stream it on Apple Arcade when some consumers can buy it on PC, Xbox or PlayStation AND own it?
6 Best: Works On A Variety Of Devices
Apple Arcade is a dream come true for Apple lovers and mobile game enthusiasts. Users can stream games on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. This gives an incredible range of playable options at home or on-the-go.
The games will also be available offline if players lose connection or cannot access Wi-Fi; no more valuable time being sunk the moment the player passes under a tunnel, or if they pass by a bunch of trees that block service.
5 Worst: Only Limited To Apple Products
Since Apple Arcade is only limited to Apple products, this means that Android users are out of luck.
While Google Play Pass was announced recently, Apple already confirmed that exclusives on Arcade will not be available in other mobile game stores. That sucks. The only option one has if they do not own an Apple product is to share their friend’s Apple device, and what are the chances of that happening?
4 Best: Has Over 100 Games, And More On The Way
At launch, Apple Arcade will have over 100 titles, adding new games each month. Nobody knows how many games are going to be added each month, but it will definitely keep the platform fresh and exciting. According to TechRadar, players can “access game trailers, recommendations, game guides and editorial sneak peeks” in the Arcade tab of the App Store.
Konami and Capcom will be releasing original games on Apple Arcade: Frogger in Toyland and Shinsekai: Into the Depths respectively. More games are on their way from notable studios, including Cartoon Network, SEGA, Lego, Annapurna Interactive and Klei Entertainment.
3 Worst: Their Competitor Is Offering Way More Games
When Google Play Pass was announced, it was said that the service will launch with over 350 titles available at launch. That sounds pretty enticing compared to Apple Arcade’s 100. The Play Pass will also include apps to stream.
Like Apple Arcade, Google will not fund game development, but it will also not “demand exclusivity.” Play Pass includes titles like Old Man’s Journey, Limbo, Terraria, Stardew Valley and Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic. This puts Apple in an interesting situation since it will have exclusives on its platform.
2 Best: Content Curation
“Curated” is the buzzword that Apple keeps throwing around but it’s for good merit. A big criticism of streaming services is the overwhelming libraries they tend to offer. While diverse content is good, it’s not good that there are only several titles people watch while the rest just take up space. Having a line-up of "quality" games makes the price point look even more attractive.
Luckily for Apple, Cnet is reporting user interface issues with Google Play Pass, particularly with discovering new games, cluttered recommendations and the dominance of already popular games and apps.
1 Worst: May Become Another Netflix
As stated before, it is unknown how many games are coming to Apple Arcade each month. Content needs to be decent to pass, and there is an off-chance that it will get recommended to viewers.
While curation is good, it may eventually create a bottomless pit of game titles that some people may not be able to view -- no matter how good they are.