After being announced back in March, the Apple Arcade is finally here, and we have to say...it's pretty darned good!
A lot of speculation preceded the release of the Apple Arcade, as no one really knew what to expect from a subscription model for mobile games. Like Netflix for mobile gaming, Apple Arcade is promising hundreds of mobile titles for a low monthly price, which is a fantastic prospect considering how expensive mobile gaming can become once it sticks its claws into you.
So, the big question - is it worth it? Well, you're about to find out. These are five things we loved about the Apple Arcade, and five things we didn't.
10 Love: The Price
Love or hate Apple, you have to admit that $5 a month is a fantastic price for a subscription model. For the low price of $5 a month, you are granted access to a frankly unbelievable amount of quality mobile titles, and the price more than pays for itself after just a few hours of gaming. Before this, one mobile game alone could cost upwards of $5. With Apple Arcade, $5 grants you access to all of the platform's titles, and the sheer number of games all but guarantees that you will never be bored. If you're a big mobile gamer, subscribing should be a no brainer.
9 Don't Love: Subscription Service
Yeah, we literally JUST said that $5 is a steal, but there's no denying that the subscription service can be a sore spot for many potential buyers. The thing with subscription services is that it requires dedication. Like a gym membership you don't use, you may find yourself paying for something you never use, and who likes doing that? Similarly, you never truly own the games that you play. If you stop paying for the service, you lose all access to the video games. Hopefully, unlike Netflix, all the games actually stay on the service!
8 Love: Great Games
Of course, a video game subscription model doesn't mean jack if the games aren't worth playing. Luckily for all you mobile gaming heads out there, Apple Arcade is stacked to the gills with surprisingly solid offerings. Critics have praised numerous Apple Arcade exclusives, including Overland, Shinsekai Into the Depths, Where Cards Fall, and Sneaky Sasquatch. This isn't some haphazardly thrown together nonsense that Apple has accumulated on the cheap - these are solid games, and most of them are definitely worth playing, especially for just $5 a month.
7 Don't Love: Games Aren't Anything Special
The thing with new services is that they should wow you right out of the box (so to speak). Think the Xbox and Halo - it was critically acclaimed, it did things unheard of for the time, and it let the world know just what this fancy new console was capable of. Unfortunately, Apple Arcade doesn't really have that "it" game, that game that heralds a new age. Yeah, a lot of the games are GOOD, and most of them are definitely worth playing, but at the end of the day, they're just mobile games. We expected something a little more groundbreaking and "wow" worthy.
6 Love: Different Devices
This really should be a given in 2019, but it's still nice to see, regardless. Luckily, the titles aren't restricted to whatever device you downloaded it on. Apple has confirmed that all of the games accessed through Apple Arcade can be played on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and even the Apple TV. Not only that, you can switch between devices at will, so you can play a game at work (shhhh) on your iPhone and continue where you left off at home on your TV through the Apple TV. Like we said, we kind of expected this, and it would have been a MAJOR blow if Apple failed to deliver.
5 Don't Love: iPad As Controller
If there's one thing we've learned through a decade-plus of mobile gaming, it's that controlling games via touch screen can be a real pain in the butt. Yes, these games are developed with this control scheme in mind, but a lot still turn out frustrating and/or difficult to play. The difficulty is increased tenfold on the iPad, as many people have trouble with the screen's size. It's not a huge detriment, of course, but it can serve as a sore spot for some. Luckily, some of these games are compatible with the PS4 and Xbox controllers, and that is a MASSIVE plus.
4 Love: Family Sharing
Luckily for us all, Apple did not get greedy when it comes to the Apple Arcade. Up to six people can share the same subscription through Family Sharing, and much like Netflix and Spotify, this is a major selling point for the subscription service. They could have made everyone pay for their own subscription, and while it's only $5, it's still nice to see Apple forgoing that decision in favor of subscription sharing. Of course, this means that one person controls the fate of many, so hopefully you're on good terms with whoever owns the credit card!
3 Don't Love: No Demos
Demos are a popular marketing technique for video game developers, as it allows potential players to try a game before making a purchase. If you actually make a good game, a well-placed demo allows players to get a taste of your game and leaves them wanting more. Unfortunately, Apple Arcade doesn't allow demos, so you have to just purchase a subscription and hope for the best. Fortunately, they do provide one free trial month, so you can try all the launch games at will. But, like all trials, this eventually runs out, and once that happens, you're stuck with it. Should you unsubscribe and come back later, you just have to hope that the library has improved.
2 Love: No Microtransactions Or Ads
We honestly can't stress this enough - we absolutely adore the lack of microtransactions and ads. For a decade, mobile gamers have been subjected to relentless microtransactions and imposing advertisements. And we don't really blame them - the developers of these games (many of them free) need to make money somehow. But it REALLY tends to ruin an experience. Luckily, Apple is forgoing all microtransactions and advertisements with Apple Arcade. $5 is all you pay, and once you pay it, you are granted access to all the games, ad-free. It's a Godsend, especially for mobile veterans.
1 Don't Love: Can't Buy Games Separately
We understand the business logistics behind this - after all, if you want to play a killer game, you have to subscribe to the service. That's how subscription services work, after all. But we would be lying if we said we weren't a bit disappointed that you can't opt to buy the games separately, even at an increased price. Maybe we're just used to how it worked back in the day, when HBO would release all of their shows on DVD so you could pick and choose what you wanted. It would be nice to purchase and download the next revolutionary mobile game without chaining yourself to a subscription, but hey, them's the times we live in now.