Apple Offers First Look at Game Subscription Service

Apple
Apple's Ann Thai unveiling Apple Arcade on March 25.

Apple Arcade will allow players to access over 100 new and exclusive games on their Apple device for a subscription fee.

Less than a week after Google unveiled its own game-subscription service, Apple revealed its Apple Arcade, a game-subscription platform that will allow players to play over 100 new and exclusive games on their Apple device for a subscription fee.

Apple already offers mobile games in its App Store, and company CEO Tim Cook boasted that Apple's iOS has already become the "largest gaming platform in the world."

"Unlike streaming services, every game will be playable offline, so you can play anywhere regardless of your internet connection," Ann Thai, senior product manager of the App Store, said onstage.

There will be no limit to the amount of games players can access with their subscription. The games will be curated by "expert editors" at Apple, and family members can play for no additional charge. Pricing for the Apple Arcade service was not revealed.

Games showcased for the Apple Arcade program included familiar characters such as Sonic the Hedgehog and a number of games from Annapurna Interactive. Partners working with Apple Arcade include a number of marquee gaming and entertainment companies including Konami, Sega, Devolver Digital, Disney, Lego and Skybound Entertainment, among many others.

Apple Arcade will be available this fall in over 150 countries worldwide. Google's game service, Stadia, meanwhile, will debut later this year in North America. Both services tout the ability to play games while on the go, but while Apple stressed the exclusivity of its titles, Google didn't spend much time detailing software that would be available on Stadia. Instead, Google emphasized its graphics fidelity, claiming that Stadia is more powerful than both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as the ability to download games in less than five seconds.

Google's presentation last week showcased gameplay from Ubisoft's AAA title Assassin's Creed Odyssey, which the tech company offered during the beta test process last year for what would eventually be revealed as Stadia. Meanwhile, Apple's presentation featured footage from games such as Annapurna Interactive's Sayonara Wild Hearts, an indie title due out on the Nintendo Switch later this year.

Game-streaming and -subscription services have been the hottest topic of 2019 in the video game industry. Sony and Microsoft have been offering versions of game streaming for the past few years, with the latter debuting their latest offering in the cloud gaming space, Project xCloud, earlier this month. Similar game-streaming services are also rumored to be in the works from companies like Amazon and Verizon.