Apple Arcade is an interesting beast — one that has the potential to completely change how we look at and interact with mobile games. It's made waves in the mobile industry, causing Google to quickly announce a competing service and attracting attention from some figures who had previously considered mobile games to be a complete wash. But while it is certainly well worth people's attention, it's not the be-all-end-all of gaming, and it certainly isn't for everyone.
At $5 a month, it's hardly a huge monthly expense, but it is a monthly expense, so if you're already worried about your funds getting drained by the endless slew of subscription services that are competing for your attention, you should ask yourself how often you play mobile games, how many games you play, and what type of games you enjoy.
The best candidate for Apple Arcade is someone who finds themselves constantly searching the app store for new and interesting games to play, and wishing that all the really cool-looking games weren't pricey premium games. Apple Arcade launched with a substantial number of games available, and more are being added each month. The games all have some clever ideas about how to make mobile work as a gaming platform, so anyone who is a fan of sampling a wide range of offerings will find plenty to sink their teeth into.
However, those who want to sample the games available had better have a love for games that are experimental, and very, very indie. There are a few examples of established franchises in Apple Arcade - Exit the Gungeon, Sonic Racing and Rayman Mini, for instance — but the biggest names seem to know that they'll make more money striking out on their own and getting their fans to sink cash directly into their games. You won't be finding any Pokémon, Fortnite, or Call of Duty in Apple Arcade's library. At least not any time soon, that is.
That's not to say that there's no games that have any depth or staying power. Some of the games, like Oceanhorn 2 and Cardpocalypse, are quality enough to justify sinking dozens of hours into.
However, unless Apple Arcade manages to draw in some huge numbers, Apple Arcade players need to be okay with the fact that those games aren't going to be the same games that everyone else is playing. If you're fine with playing the big games with gacha mechanics and creeping micro-transactions, and don't want to throw away the progress you've made in those games for the sake of some great but less-popular title, you're unlikely to be swayed by what's there.
It's also worth noting that, despite the great number of games on display, Apple Arcade is unlikely to win over any converts from PC or console gaming. While there's certainly endless potential when it comes to designing games for touchscreen devices, a good number of Apple Arcade's make use of more traditional control systems -- and let's be honest, even with iOS13's newfound controller support, traditional controls are made for PCs and consoles. Apple Arcade isn't going to beat them at their own game.
If you play a lot of games on your phone, are sick to death of in-app-purchases, or have been curious what potential there is in mobile gaming when the developers' only concern is getting people to have fun, then Apple Arcade is a must-have. But if you're the kind of person who has no desire to play anything but the biggest, shiniest new games on the best platforms, then it might not be worth your while.