It’s starting to look like the gaming world is about to undergo some very dramatic changes. We’ve already heard from Google about the new Google Strada, a game streaming device that could completely change how consumers purchase their gaming software and hardware. Now we have another massive tech company giant dipping its toe into the industry.
Apple has changed the way the world uses their phones, and now it looks like it wants to change the way the world plays their games. Apple Arcade was announced on Monday, and it seems like Apple's aim is to innovate how games are played on its devices. So if you spend a lot of time playing on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac then Apple Arcade might be worth a look.
What We Know So Far:
All games on the service will be ad-free and apparently micro-transaction free as well. The subscription fee will apparently be the only price for admission to Apple Arcade. After that, every game on the service can be played for no extra cost. Apple won’t be following exactly in Google’s footsteps though, as Arcade will be less of a streaming option and more of an Xbox Games Pass style download service.
The other big draw for Apple users is that games played on the service can be played on any of their devices that use an iCloud account, and your progress can be saved and continued on any of those devices as well. So you can start playing a game on your iPhone XS, and then come home and continue it through your Apple TV.
Apple Arcade can also be shared with up to six different family members (or maybe just some friends that feel like family) using Family Sharing with your iCloud account.
Apple hasn’t exactly been absent from the gaming world as the App Store does currently have about 300,000 games available for download. However, this is a significant step forward for the popular tech giant. And to further cement that fact, the aforementioned 300,000 games are being supplemented by a list of new and exclusive titles that can only be found on Apple Arcade.
Apple Arcade Titles:
The Pathless features a hunter and an eagle trying to find the cure to a world ending curse. It’s designed by Giant Squid Studios, the developer behind Abzu, which is fairly obvious considering its vibrant and colorful art style. Going by the trailer, this game looks like it will be a bit more action packed than Abzu, with a bit of a Team Ico game vibe.
Hot Lava is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the video game version of the game you played as a kid while jumping on the living room furniture. This game is by Klei Entertainment, who have toyed around with just about any genre you can think of it. This is their shot at a first person platformer and it looks like it could be fun to play, as well as fun to watch your favorite Youtuber scream at it in frustration.
Lego Brawls involves player created Lego characters brawling. The title kind of explains itself. And it just has to have some kind of Battle Royal mode. It just has to.
Where Cards Fall by Snowman and The Game Band is a game about helping a high school student get through the difficulties of teenage life. You accomplish that task by building pathways using literal decks of cards. The best way to describe this game would definitely be whimsical.
Overland by Finji is a survival/strategy game that looks like a road trip from hell. You’ll have to try to survive against monsters in a series of procedurally generated maps against the backdrop of a post apocalyptic world. This game is also set to release on Steam, PS4 and Switch.
Oceanhorn 2: Knights Of The Lost Realm is a sequel to Oceanhorn, which is a game that also exists. If you’re big into Oceanhorn lore, then you’ll be excited to know this game takes place 1000 years before the first game in the series. While it looks very nice, it also looks like Breath Of The Wild. In fact it looks a LOT like Breath Of The Wild. Like enough so that Nintendo could potentially call their lawyers. The main character even wears a blue tunic! Come on guys.
Fantasian is a very interesting game as its lead developer is Hironobu Sakaguchi. If you’re unfamiliar with this gentlemen, he developed a little series that goes by the name of Final Fantasy. It’s definitely going to be an interesting JRPG, and will feature 3D models set against real life dioramas.
Beyond A Steel Sky is a sequel to the 90s adventure game Beneath A Steel Sky. As opposed to the first game, Beyond will be 3D instead of 2D and will feature much different gameplay than the previous point and clicker. If it’s anything like Beneath A Steel Sky, it should be a good old fashioned dystopian romp.
These are just a small selection of the highlighted games that are coming to Apple Arcade. According to Apple there will be up to 100 new games that will be coming to the games service. Other games coming are Sayonara Wild Hearts, Lifelike, The Artful Escape, No Way Home, Repair, Hitchhiker, Cardpocalypse, Frogger In Toy Town and even Team Sonic Racing.
Apple Arcade’s trailer also seems to show Sonic himself running through a white landscape. Could Sega be planning a big, exclusive release for Apple just in time for the blue hedgehog’s newest film?
There will be some big name developers lending their titles to Apple Arcade. You can expect to see new titles from Konami, Disney, Sega, Platinum Games, Wayforward, Devolver, Cartoon Network, Hipster Whale and more. SimCity developer Will Wright is also developing a new game as well. Apple is definitely swinging for the fences with companies like that developing for it.
What We Don’t Know:
A release date for Apple Arcade has yet to be released by the fruit-based megacorp. So far the closest thing to an idea of where you can begin downloading games on your iDevices is some time in the fall of this year. This is also usually around the time that Apple launches the new iPhones, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a debut around the same time.
When it comes to a price, we also have no info on that either. It’s also not known if any of the games that will launch on the service can be purchased separately. But considering Apple keeps pushing the word “exclusive,” it’s likely that Apple Arcade will the only way to play these games.
The big question is if Apple is too late to the party when it comes to games services. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have the console market pretty well locked up, and have already had their own services in action for some time now. Steam and the Epic Games Store are currently battling for the wallets of PC players. Now Google is coming into the fold as well with the Strada. Success is still to be determined, but Google has the potential to be a major player.
The one big advantage that Apple has is its built in user base. Apple fans are feverish and devoted to their iPhones, iPads, and any other product with a lower case “i” in front of it.
Someone who buys the newest phone and has all their Apple devices tied together could easily see the value of a service that would allow them to play games any time, anywhere, on any piece of Apple tech.
Apple hasn’t been the hottest company for gaming in the past, but Apple Arcade may be its first big step to becoming a major player. Guess we’ll find out this fall, when Apple Arcade goes live.