Today, Apple announced Apple Arcade, the company's new multiplatform gaming subscription service. Apple Arcade will enable people who subscribe to play a large selection of games unique to the service across mobile devices, desktop computers, and televisions. The service will launch on a date yet to be determined sometime this fall.
Apple's reveal comes close on the heels of Google's Stadia announcement, which proposed a future where video games are streamed rather than played locally. Apple Arcade, on the other hand, will allow players to download games and play them on their various devices. That's not the only difference, either. While both services are expected to roll out later this year, Apple seemed willing to provide a great deal more information. Google touted their in-house studio and a nebulous number of partnerships that will draw players to Stadia. Apple, however, revealed a long list of developers working on exclusive games for Apple Arcade. You can see the full list below:
Cornfox & Bros.
State of Play
The Chinese Room
As you read this many of these developers are revealing the first look at the projects they have been working on that will be exclusive to Apple Arcade. in the teaser Apple put together for the main announcement, they revealed a selection of truly unique and interesting games.The first, is Beyond a Steel Sky, a game that melds the aesthetics of Borderlands with the designs of Dave Gibbons, co-creator of Watchmen, and is actually a sequel to the 90s adventure game Beneath a Steel Sky. It offers players a chance to explore the beautiful dystopia of Union City, a sprawling techno city of the future that offers opportunities and scale that players might not expect from a mobile game.
Where Cards Fall is a coming of age story about a young boy dealing with the challenges of growing up and fitting in, complete with the entire spectrum of wonderful, awkward, and painful experiences that come with growing up in the modern world. It's a game driven by choice and drama rather than explosions and guns. One of the co-creators claims that it's the kind of game that couldn't find an audience without the support of Apple Arcade.
The most exciting game, at least to me, comes courtesy of Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy. His latest project, Fantasian, uses literal, hand-made dioramas that the team photographs and then uses as the backgrounds for their game. It adds a fantastic, solid and surreal look to a game made by one of the master game designers of our time. I'm a sucker for cool, outside-the-box thinking like this, and that's not just one scene or for cutscenes; the entire game uses practical effects for its background shots.
Inspired by the zen-like motion of schools of fish or murmurations of starlings, Lifelike aims to be a contemplative, relaxing experience. "We simply don't want to be responsible for adding another layer of cares to the world," says creator Denis Mikan. It relies on the coordinated movement of its swarming characters as a way to enthrall and delight players.
Finally, Overland is described as a post-apocalyptic real-time strategy game. It contains roguelike elements to shake up the action and scenarios every time players begin a new game. Each adventure will bring players to new places, put them in contact with new characters, and pit them against a large array of different combat situations.
2019 has become the year we see gaming more cleanly split between all of the gaming and tech giants. If all of these services prove to be long-term contenders for their various shares of the market, players will have to start making hard choices between which platforms and services can provide them with the most bang for their buck. A service like Apple Arcade full of games that can't be played any other way and can work even if a user's internet speed isn't the best would have a huge advantage over a service like Stadia that's so heavily reliant on internet infrastructure to function. The only real sticking point for Apple will be the price point of its subscription model, which has yet to be revealed. This is the future we were always going to get once digital storefronts became a more widespread phenomenon and subscription services like Netflix took off. The console wars are slowly fading and are being replaced by the service wars.
What do you think? Is this good? Bad? Neutral?
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!