Apple Arcade Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Apple Arcade RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Apple Arcade Rescues Mobile Gaming from Its Ad-Pocalypse Wed, 25 Sep 2019 10:12:08 -0400 Mark Delaney

Like me, my seven-year-old son loves video games. He plays all genres on all platforms, but one platform has stuck out as a massive headache for so long: mobile.

His iPad is littered with ugly ATM machines masquerading as video games, and when they aren't asking him to watch an ad to multiply his in-game payout, they're teasing him with VIP memberships for "only $7.99 per week." 

Only ...

Simply put, I've long seen mobile gaming as a cesspool of awful cash-ins, with most exceptions being console ports and daring stuff like Florence. These have been the exception — until now.

Image credit: Apple

Just days after launch, Apple Arcade has already transformed the App Store into a legitimate contender for gaming timeshare.

I know some would say Apple has been there for a long time. People love their Clash of ClansWords with Friends, and Draw Together, all past or present staples of the App Store. But the overwhelming majority of games that live in the App Store are apparently sociological studies meant to exploit human behavior and turn would-be-fun into drone-like mental programming. 

We log in, we perform dailies, we buy some currency, and we exit 'til the next day. Then we do it all over again. If performing these chores was ever fun, I can't remember when. More often it's compulsory.

But because Apple Arcade is subscription-based, it has the latitude to reject these and other examples of mobile gaming's most predatory design mechanics. In fact, Apple has mandated that there be no microtransactions in any Apple Arcade game. The most obvious problem Apple Arcade addresses is mobile gaming's ad economy as it delivers unto players a new frontier of ad-free entertainment.

Image credit: Apple

In recent years, mobile developers have brashly offered "ad-free" versions of their games only to continue to offer optional ads that multiply winnings or give speed-altering boosts, for example. Though these practices once led me to believe mobile gaming was past salvation, I was wrong. Apple Arcade revives the platform from its darkest depths.

Premium mobile games have eschewed ads for some time. That's true. But many of those are priced in a way that puts them out of reach — or out of consideration — for many players. 

This new revolution means mobile games now have second-life through a system that respects players and their wallets. 

Without relying on ads, in-game challenges aren't made obtuse for a buck, like they so often are otherwise. Once hardly more than click farms designed to keep you paying in increments you're comfortable with, now the platform can breathe and even experiment. 

Image credit: Apple

Reminiscent of what Netflix has done with its original productions and what Microsoft has done with Game Pass, Apple Arcade's chief inspiration is most likely found within its own walls: iTunes.

When Steve Jobs posited that people would rather pay a fair fee for what they want rather than digging through virus-laden files on Napster and Kazaa, he was right. Apple revolutionized the digital music marketplace as a result.

Although Apple is in some ways late to digital gaming, this move feels just as important as iTunes did in 2001. Here, consumers pay a fair fee to access a launch library of 70+ games, none of which will gate them to make extra money. 

To make matters even more exciting, the subscription service already has some standout titles on Day One, like the dreampoppy Sayonara Wild Hearts, a reinvented Oceanhorn 2, and Finji's latest, Overland.

Where you can most prominently see Apple Arcade's immediate impact is in a familiar series: Frogger. Included in the subscription, Frogger in Toy Town reinvents the franchise by combining the classic elements of navigating dangerously busy worlds with new physics-based puzzles and platforming.

After Crossy Road stole the Frogger foundation and buried it under invasive ads and predatory principles that made it one of the App Store's most successful blemishes, Frogger proper has returned with a new look. It is the best and most interesting it's ever been.

That kind of success story will persist with Apple Arcade, I'm sure of it. Why? Because it couldn't exist without it. The curation is overdue, the games are fantastic, and for the first time ever, mobile-exclusives feel worthwhile more than once or twice a season.

I feel much more comfortable giving my son some screen time on his iPad knowing he's playing games that are more artful and more honest by way of Apple Arcade.

Now Apple Arcade has dozens of games piquing my curiosity, and though I ultimately can't expect to enjoy them all, the allure of exploring its library without ever seeing an ad or a piece of digital currency or a timer I can speed up for "just $2.99" is too much to pass up.

This is the kind of revolution mobile gaming has so desperately needed. 

Apple Arcade Release Date, Price, and Lineup Announced Tue, 10 Sep 2019 17:14:16 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Apple officially announced the launch date, price point, and (some of) the initial lineup for its latest subscription service, Apple Arcade, during its live event today. 

The Apple Arcade will be available starting September 19 as part of the iOS 13 update, and it will cost $4.99 per month. Apple is also providing a free, one-month trial for users to test the service out.

The subscription price includes access for up to six family members if they're on the same Family Sharing account, and games can be played offline on iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac, and Apple TV devices, such as the just-announced iPhone 11 Pro 

The big question is what games are actually on offer, and Apple provided a short list of some of Apple Arcade's highlights, including follow-ups to popular indie titles and new iterations of famous franchises.

Here's what you can expect:

  • Ballistic Baseball
  • ChuChu Rocket! Universe
  • Exit the Gungeon
  • Overland
  • Pac-Man Party Royale
  • Projection: First Light
  • Rayman Mini
  • Shantae and the Seven Sirens
  • Skate City
  • Sneaky Sasquatch
  • Steven Universe: Unleash the Light
  • Super Impossible Road
  • The Bradwell Conspiracy
  • The Enchanted World
  • Various Daylife

Various Daylife, an RPG-meets-life-sim, comes from the development team behind Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler, so that title alone is likely to pique some interests. 

More titles beyond the initial 100 will be released in the weeks after Apple Arcade launches as well.

Note that while Apple says these games are exclusive to Apple Arcade, the key is in the phrasing. For example, Shantae and the Seven Sirens will be available on other platforms as well — but, as Apple says, not on other subscription services or mobile platforms.

In other words, when Google's Play Pass launches, don't expect to see these games on Android.

Apple Announces Apple Arcade Subscription Service For All Its Devices Tue, 26 Mar 2019 09:28:08 -0400 QuintLyn

Gaming has always been a bit hit or miss when it comes to Apple, but it seems the company is really diving into to industry, at least as far as mobile gaming goes. During today's Apple event, the company highlighted a lot of new features ranging from their own (titanium) credit card to a new TV and movie streaming service. But for us here at GameSkinny the real announcement of note is what the company is calling Apple Arcade.

Apple Arcade is a new video game subscription service that endeavors to bring pay-to-play games to the forefront across Apple devices, including not just the iPhone and iPad, but also Apple TV and Macs. This service will provide gamers willing to pay for it access to games not found anywhere else.

That's right. A good portion of them will be exclusive.

Now, before you blow off these offerings just as super casual mobile games, you should know that Apple teased several games from well-known companies like Skybound, Konami, Lego, Devolver Digital, Klei, and The Chinese Room. In fact, there's even a game being developed by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi titled Fantasian and a project titled Beyond A Steel Sky featuring art from comic artist and Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons.

Both Fantasian and Beyond A Steel Sky are far beyond what most people think of as a mobile game experience featuring gameplay and storytelling gamers are used to getting from console and PC games.

Some of the other games highlighted during the Apple Event may seem a bit more mobile-esqe in design but are narrative heavy. And, of course, there's the whole AR thing, which kind of works better on mobile devices.

As mentioned, the service will be subscription based. When it launches in the Fall of 2019, it will be available in 150 countries and subscribers will have access to over 100 games, both online and offline. There will be no ads or micro-transactions and a single account can be shared with the family.

Unfortunately, the one bit of information they didn't provide is how much the subscription will cost. That information will arrive at a later date.

If you'd like to watch the full Apple Event stream, it can be found on the Apple site, here.