Several tech companies have ventured into subscription-based video gaming services to take advantage of developments in consumer electronics and advancements in wired and wireless broadband communications. Examples include the cloud gaming services offered by Sony with its PlayStation Now and Microsoft with its Xbox Cloud Gaming, as well as Amazon with Amazon Luna and Google with Stadia.
Apple has ventured also into subscription-based video gaming with the introduction of Apple Arcade on 19 September 2019. However, instead of the usual cloud-based game streaming service, its specific service is based on the usual subscription model that allows its customers to download ad-free and interruption-free game titles from its library. This article reviews the pros and cons of subscribing to Apple Arcade.
Pros of Apple Arcade: Reasons Why You Should Subscribe
The product strategy of Apple has expanded beyond the design and marketing of consumer electronic devices and software or applications. Starting from iTunes to Apple Music and Apple TV, and with the introduction of the Apple Arcade, the company has become both a distributor and publisher of digital content.
Note that the introduction of a video gaming service signaled an attempt for Apple to take advantage of the fact that premium games in its App Store generate hundreds of millions in revenue while free-to-play mobile games from the platform bring in billions. A subscription-based service maximizes further this existing pool of mobile gamers.
Below are the features, advantages, and reasons why you should subscribe to this video gaming service from Apple:
• Unintrusive and Uninterrupted Experience: The main value proposition of Apple Arcade is that it allows subscribers to access a dedicated library of game titles that are free of advertisements or adware, in-app purchases and play-to-win schemes, data tracking processes, and always-online digital rights management.
• Cross-Platform Access and Playability: Note that the service can be accessed using several Apple devices such as Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Most game titles are playable on either of these platforms, thereby making the video gaming service part of the overall Apple ecosystem experience.
• Inexpensive and Flexible Subscription Plan: Another advantage of Apple Arcade is that the subscription fee costs USD 4.99 per month. The entire subscription cost for a year is equal to one console game. One subscription gives access to up to 6 family members. The service can also be purchased for USD 14.95 per month via the Apple One bundle alongside Apple Music, Apple TV+, and 50GB of iCloud.
• Massive and Expanding Game Library: The service was launched in 2019 with 71 games. It now has over 180 game titles and the library is continuously expanding. Genres include role-playing, action, adventure, puzzle and casual, racing, and strategy. It also has a good selection of multiplayer games.
Cons of Apple Arcade: Reasons Why You Should Not Subscribe
Apple Arcade is targeted toward casual gamers and families. Hence, considering this fact, one should not expect console-grade or AAA game titles on this service. Seasoned gamers accustomed to the game libraries of PC and Windows, PlayStation, Xbox, and the Nintendo Switch might find this video game service substandard.
Below are the limitations, disadvantages, and reasons why you should not subscribe to this video gaming service from Apple:
• Not Ideal for Hardcore Video Game: Remember that this video game service lacks Triple-A game titles or hardcore video game titles available for PC and top-tier consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The service is marketed primarily toward average or casual mobile video gamers.
• Availability of Other Options: Cloud-based video game services such as Xbox Cloud Gaming, including its Xbox Games Pass, and PlayStation Now have decent catalogs of hardcore games, including AAA game titles, as well as old and newer ones. Subscribing to either of these two services costs USD 9.99 per month.
• Playability Limited to Apple Ecosystem: Another disadvantage of Apple Arcade is that the service is only accessible via Apple devices. This means that games can only be played using devices such as Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. It is also unavailable to devices below macOS Catalina, iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, and tvOS 13.
• Issues Regarding User Interface: Most games are playable using the iOS and iPadOS touch interface. However, several game titles are not suited for a touch interface. It is also important to note that games on this service can be played using third-party wireless controllers such as an Xbox or a PlayStation controller.
Verdict: The Pros and Cons of Apple Arcade
At USD 4.99 per month or when purchased with the Apple One bundle at USD 14.95 per month, Apple Arcade provides good value for money. This video game service is ideal for habitual casual gamers or families with kids who are into casual mobile gaming. It has a decent catalog of game titles that are free from ads or hidden play-to-win agenda.
However, the fact remains that its entire catalog still pales in comparison with the game libraries of cloud-based video game services of Microsoft and Sony. It is also interesting to note that Google Stadia and Amazon Luna are other video game services worth exploring both for casual video gamers and hardcore gamers.