Apple Arcade is a new apple brand service dedicated to video games. He is trying to settle in several niches such as conviviality, independent games, offline games, the absence of integrated purchases, to create the most open gaming experience possible. But its shortage of Triple-A titles, combined with a still somewhat vague strategy, makes it difficult to predict where the platform will go in the future.
After a few updates, Apple has made available “Apple Arcade”, its new service dedicated to video games on a majority of devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and macOS). And after a year … it’s hard enough to gauge the scale of this new gaming effort from Apple, its first in decades.
As it stands, our feeling is as follows: if you can do without AAA games, Apple Arcade will be able to offer you a pleasant and surprising interface, and this through many genres of video games. In the months following its launch, the service added 32 new games to its catalog, a promising first update for this service launched in September 2019.
Although the interface groups games by category, you will sometimes have to make a little extra effort to find certain titles in the “Arcade” tab of the App Store. Requiring players to download tracks one by one (you can’t stream them here) will appeal to some and hinder others.
Nevertheless, Apple Arcade has the merit of facilitating the overall gaming experience and eliminates the risk of potential regret for having spent money in games that would ultimately prove to be disappointing. For some players, this will not be enough, and this is normal. But for families, people who do not have a good enough connection to stream or even individuals wanting to peck mobile games here and there as they wish, Apple Arcade may be the solution. Anyway, with a month of free trial, everyone is free to determine whether the service is right for them or not.
What is Apple Arcade?
Apple Arcade’s proposal is simple: offer an unlimited number of games from a large catalog for a small fee, € 4.99 per month, which includes all downloads of the games and their DLC. It is a service to browse without effort or constraint and works on almost all Apple devices. Indispensable in a large family.
For the most part, Apple Arcade takes up the challenge it has imposed on itself. The problem is that when we look for a gaming service, we first think of those who offer Triple-A headlines plus a few remastered classics that offer real added value. After all, if you were planning to buy two new titles a year for € 70, you might as well pay a PlayStation Now or Xbox Games Pass subscription for the monthly price of € 9.99. And download a bunch of other games of choice, old and new.
The niche of Apple Arcade is very different here: the platform only distributes new games and produced, for the most part, by independent developers. Since Apple requires that all games be playable on all of its devices, the first titles are very similar to mobile games (although some may have better-handling thanks to recent support for PS4 and Xbox One controllers). With a few exceptions, the service is made up of games that are still fairly obscure to most people.
From a practical point of view, this can be interesting. Assuming that Apple filters only the best gameplays, the service will allow users to discover a selection of games in the same way as we discovered the first qualitative applications of the iPhone before the App Store finished dominated by lower-quality titles. Here you can confidently launch an Apple Arcade game and have the confidence that you are having a great time.
Apple Arcade pricing and availability
Apple Arcade is officially available in France and elsewhere in the world. It is expected to be present in 150 countries today. Each game works on all Apple media: iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.
You will need to update to the most recent versions of each operating system to see the Apple Arcade tab appear on the App Store. Upgrade to iOS 13, iPadOS, tvOS 13, and macOS Catalina to take advantage of the service on your Apple devices.
Apple Arcade costs reasonably $ 4.99 per month, but be aware that you get a month free trial. Ideal to give you a final idea of the service.
Apple has also introduced a year subscription option, count an envelope of € 49.99 instead of €60 or two months of free use.
What games are available on Apple Arcade?
The launch offer of Apple Arcade is quite versatile but not yet sufficiently supplied. As with any collection, some games definitely stand out while others will probably make your turn. You have a hundred games to start your first free month.
COMPLETE LIST OF APPLE ARCADE VIDEO GAMES
Here are the games officially announced on Apple Arcade (all have not yet been added to the platform):
Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree
Big Time Sports
Beyond a Steel Sky
Card of Darkness
Cat Quest II
ChuChu Rocket Universe
Cricket Through The Ages
Dead End Job
Don’t Bug Me!
Down in Bermuda
Enter The Construct
Exit the Gungeon
Frogger in Toy Town
Jenny LeClue – Detectivu
King’s League II
Kings of the Castle
Marble It Up
No Way Home
Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm
Over The Alps
Pac-Man Party Royale
Projection: First Light
Redout Space Assault
Sayonara Wild Hearts
Shantae and the Seven Sirens
Steven The Universe: Un Light
Super Impossible Road
Super Mega Mini Party
Takeshi and Hiroshi
Tales of Memo
The Artful Escape
The Get Out Kids
The Enchanted World
The Bradwell Conspiracy
Things That Go Bump In The Night
Towaga: Among Shadows
UFO on Tape: First Contact
Ultimate Rivals: The Rink
Way of the Turtle
What The Golf
Where Cards Fall
Yaga The Roleplaying Folktale
Among the best games in the catalog, there are titles that spent years in development before Apple bought the rights to the baptism of its platform. Overland is one of these games, an elegant and refined strategy board, in development since 2013, it takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting. It is also one of the least exclusive games in the service since it is found with other streaming players such as Steam.
Sayonara Wild Hearts is just as popular. It is a rhythmic game where you must maintain the rhythm of the frantic sound tracks while leaving victorious of pursuit races, Temple Run atmosphere. The gameplay is not particularly deep but it will keep you going for hours on end.
This is the archetype of the Apple Arcade game: a stylish experience that will keep you entertained for a short time before moving on to the next title. To tell the truth, the service lives up to its name, we really feel like we are in an arcade room. Except that here, your favorite games are in unlimited access.
And just like in an arcade, it is not impossible that you accidentally get your hands on a few nuggets: Outlanders for example, is a small simulation of an organic city to thrive, which will relax you with its soothing artistic direction . You should still take a glance at Spek , a puzzle game more conceptual, Tangle Tower detective story based on humor, Where Cards Fall a future meta hit at will, and Bleak Sword game Action- spectacular fantasy with an aesthetic as dark as bare.
Given the brand’s family demands, look for no mature or gore titles (although there are a few, like Inmost ). Ditto for multiplayer games, with fairly rare representatives such as Ultimate Rivals: The Rink , LEGO Brawls and Pac-Man Party Royale . Obviously, Apple Arcade has not tried to rush into the Battle Royale breach and compete with behemoths like Fortnite or PUBG. A genre that seems suitable for Apple’s gaming service.
Apple Arcade is above all a platform for fans of solo games and offline games. We’re not sure it will ever change, although large-scale multiplayer is a big part of Apple Arcade’s competition. And the Cupertino firm could end up yielding, too, to the sirens of the MMO.
What is the Apple Arcade interface worth?
Apple Arcade is not without its faults, especially with regard to the ergonomics of the service. It is never centralized in a common place for each Apple device. It does have a dedicated tab on the App Store, but its organization remains as messy as the other categories in the Apple application store: its content mixes with all the other proposals in the App Store, without the proposed filter .
A real confusion for users and faux pas for Apple who would have everything to gain by developing an interface dedicated completely to its gaming platform.
Once downloaded, Apple Arcade games mix with other titles in the App Store. Yes, you can still manually reorganize them into an application folder, but it would be much easier to be able to classify them automatically and together. This would be possible with a central application to access the catalog.
This is what Steam, GOG and the Epic Games Store have already undertaken, Apple Arcade would have everything to gain by imitating them. But Apple seems too worried about the idea of introducing a second interface similar to the App Store (we encounter the same problem with the catalog of Apple TV +).
Apple Arcade heats up iOS devices (a little too much)
When you launch an Apple Arcade game on your iPhone, it is not uncommon for it to become very hot to the touch, even during short sessions of five to ten minutes. It can thus become very uncomfortable to hold an iPhone in these conditions, because the aluminum edge and the buttons concentrate the heat. The shells are essential here, if only to spare your fingers if you plan intensive gaming sessions.
Some games are also not suitable for a touch interface. Overland is much better with a mouse and keyboard, or simply more space on an iPad. The responsibility lies with game publishers who must provide for less restrictive orders on smartphones, and the possibility of automatically canceling any accidental movement. There are, however, some very good games compatible with a mobile experience, like Shinskei: Into The Depths, which slows time when you aim.
Is Apple Arcade a safe bet?
Apple insists that more and more games will arrive every month, but we don’t know exactly how many or how good they will be. The games we have been able to play in the already existing catalog, although very elegant in artistic direction, vary in attractiveness and lifespan. Some are clearly works made with love, while others are quite basic in concept and execution. Not making you want to go further.
Until we have access to a structured release schedule, it is difficult to assess whether Apple Arcade will still appeal to players once they have completed the initial selection (admittedly important) of games offered.
The company can still count on a base of partner developers who are extremely motivated and dedicated to the platform. When publishers implement their creations on Apple Arcade, the company undertakes to provide them with the financial support of an indefinite amount in order to give them substantial room for maneuver to make the games they like. Some developers have told us that this allows them to add bonus features after launch or areas that would have been removed during the planning stages.
Indeed, joining Apple Arcade and its remuneration conditions frees developers from the classic monetization schemes of certain games. Compared to the slew of modern games abusing in-app purchases, especially on mobile phones, the titles of Apple Arcade act as oxygen.
And there are many generous titles with their players, offering them small compensations for their commitment. On Sneaky Sasquatch , to name just him, your character adopts new facial expressions added regularly by the developers. Attention that hits home.
It’s hard to pinpoint how each of the other Apple Arcade games benefited from increased detail thanks to financial support and professional expertise from Apple. Still, this type of patronage could lead to a quality of design far superior to that to which the owners of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV are accustomed. Only time will tell if Apple’s biggest investment in video games will offer consumers a truly unique platform. And whether or not it will impact the entire video game industry.
Who is Apple Arcade for?
Apple Arcade is for everyone. Anyone can find one or more games corresponding to their expectations as the offer is versatile. However, the service still favors certain users more than others. The most obvious are those who already own an Apple device, and who are often deprived of multiple traditional outputs – especially on Mac. Then come the families, due to the intentional absence of mature / bloody and sexual content in the catalog. Finally, those who prefer to play alone rather than in a coop and then collectors of undesirable nuggets. Apple Arcade is packed.
Avoid subscribing if…
… You are a Triple-A player, fans of games that cost nearly € 70 when launched on other platforms. Don’t expect Apple to expand its catalog with franchises and blockbusters. Nor that the big studios come to set their sights on the field of experimentation of the Apple. A bad for a good ?
Apple Arcade facing…
PlayStation Now / Xbox Game Pass
This comparison is inevitable, although unbalanced, but let’s make it anyway. After a recent price drop, the monthly subscription for PlayStation Now, like that for Xbox Game Pass, drops to €9.99. You can play some AAA games streaming on PS Now or download them from its 800-game catalog, while Xbox Games Pass is only available for download with a catalog of 250 games.
It is obvious that both require a PS4 or Xbox One console (with PC compatibility on certain titles), and are therefore not really suitable for mobile players.
You’ll have to pay more if you don’t have a console or just want to play online, so chances are you already have an Apple device that works with Apple Arcade (if you’re reading this critical, anyway). Apple Arcade is cheaper and aimed at more casual gamers. So these are really very different services.
Google Play Pass
This service was launched by surprise just after Apple Arcade and appears to be a deliberate competitor. Since Apple Arcade does not yet work (see never will work) with Android devices, there seems to be an obvious market for Google. Its launch conditions are also quite generous – a 10-day free trial, $1.99 per month for a full year, $4.99 per month thereafter.
Unfortunately, the offer is only available in the United States at this time. It takes the more traditional approach of including older games, already released, in its launch offering containing 350 titles. Two-thirds being games, the rest of the applications, although we don’t know exactly how they will be useful to us. On the other hand, Play Pass does not have the criteria for qualitative selection of Apple Arcade games, so expect a slightly less careful experience with in-app purchases here and there.
Google Stadia/Microsoft xCloud
In theory, Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud are competitors of Apple Arcade in that they are both technically playable on mobile, which is obviously the main objective of Apple Arcade. But Google and Microsoft’s efforts are limited to streaming, aimed at providing leading Triple-A games, and are priced at the same price as other similar game services (access to Stadia costs € 9.99 per month).
More specifically, Stadia is available but xCloud is still only in the beta stage, which makes the comparison with the latter more theoretical than practical. We will certainly return to this comparison when it is in service.