A new report offers more details about Apple’s rather opaque plans for its game subscription service, Arcade. If the details are accurate, an Arcade subscription could be one of the more cost-effective gaming plans out there.
According to a report from 9to5Mac, Arcade will cost subscribers $4.99 a month after the initial free trial period. It’ll also be available to every member on a Family Sharing account. There will also be a free trial. The alleged price of the subscription is fairly competitive with other monthly subscription services in which you’re given access to a collection of games. Google’s Stadia Pro and Xbox Game Pass are both $9.99 a month. Sony’s PS Now service is $19.99 a month after the free trial period.
Arcade, which was unveiled earlier this year, still stands unique in the market of game streaming services. While most other companies are competing for AAA console-level titles to put on their marquees, Arcade is offering a platform for mobile titles to make their bones. So far the titles being offered on Arcade are different from those being offered on any other platform.
That’s both positive and negative. On the upside, it’ll offer developers who might otherwise be drowned out by other, more well-funded titles space to flourish. The addition of support for third-party gaming controllers, including PS4 and Xbox One gamepads, means it’ll be easy for games of console-level complexity to be played on Apple devices.
On the downside, Arcade will have to stand alone without the star power of the next big game to fuel interest in its monthly subscription. If you’re a gamer who lives for the big releases — your Calls of Duty, your GTAs, or your Pokemon — it’ll take truly spectacular or interesting games to hold your interest past the free trial, even for the relative bargain of $5.
There’s one other factor that might make Arcade appealing to mobile gamers: Apple’s game library is expansive and can be hard to navigate. Arcade offers a curated alternative to browsing, which can be especially appealing if it’s worth as little as a cup of coffee. We’ve contacted Apple for clarification on the price.
So far, the titles we know will be available on the service, whenever it launches, include LEGO Brawls, Annapurna’s The Pathless, and SEGA’s Sonic Racing. According to Apple, the games will be microtransaction-free and won’t have ads, and new games will be added regularly.