HANDS-ON: Apple Arcade


Some Apple Arcade games are designed to be played with controllers, including those for the Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation.
Some Apple Arcade games are designed to be played with controllers, including those for the Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation.

Dubai - Game, set and watch: Apple Arcade to hit App Store on Sept 19

By Alvin R. Cabral

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Published: Mon 16 Sep 2019, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Nov 2021, 12:44 PM

A day before the latest iPhones hit shelves this Friday, Apple will try to keep you busy with while waiting - whether if you're at home or in a queue.
Along with the general rollout of iOS 13, the company's newest gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade, will become available on Thursday. The company's push into gaming is part of a broader charge in the overall services market, something that has kept Apple's bottom line always pretty much in sight of that $1 trillion market cap mark.
Apple is new to this market, so how would it hold up? Let's get very straightforward with this, with the help of my imaginary friend who doesn't know anything else but ask Qs, shall we?
So, what is Apple Arcade?
I already said it's a gaming subscription service.
When is it coming?
Again, this Thursday, along with the general rollout of iOS 13.
Is it free?
Nope. But it's only Dh19.99 ($4.99) a month - after a free month's trial, too. If you sign up for the trial, it'll automatically bill you until you cancel the trial. You can nuke your subscription at any time in Settings, but it should be at least one day before your renewal date. And you get access to all games with it. Games can be searched on and downloaded from App Store.
Dh19.99 a month? Isn't that too much?
Really? Put it this way: Google Stadia, which will is scheduled for a November launch, will set you back $9.99 (we're guessing Dh36.99 here in the UAE) for the Pro tier, in which you'll get 4K/HDR quality. If you're that stingy, wait for the Base option in 2020, which is free. However, in both cases, games are sold separately. At least, if you go Pro, you'll get some discounts.
Sony's PlayStation Now, meanwhile, clocks in at $19.99 a month (roughly Dh74), while Microsoft's xCloud, slated for a preview at the E3 next month, is expected to set you back $15 (Dh55).
You've made up your mind?
Hey, I'm supposed to be the one asking the Qs around here.
Fine. Next Q, please.
Where can you play then?
On your iPhone (iOS 13) starting September 19, on iPads (iPadOS) and Apple TV (tvOS 13) beginning September 30, and on Macs (macOS Catalina) some time in October.
And if you want to switch from devices - think mum and dad's gonna drag you out while you're busy playing on your TV in the living room - don't worry: You can continue where you left off on your more portable Apple device; all you need is your Apple ID. You can even play offline, and share the subscription to up to five members of your family. How many and what kind of games are being offered?
A pretty solid start in terms of quality and quantity. Apple promised access to over 100 titles in the fall in the US (that would be pretty much the time the mercury will drop here in the UAE); as at this post, 53 games have been announced. And for you - just for you - here they are:
- Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree
- Ballistic Baseball
- Beyond a Steel Sky
- Box Project
- The Bradwell Conspiracy
- Cardpocalypse
- ChuChu Rocket! Universe
- Doomsday Vault
- Down in Bermuda
- Earth Night
- The Enchanted World
- Enter the Construct
- Exit the Gungeon
- Fantasian
- Frogger in Toy Town
- HitchHiker
- Hot Lava
- Jenny LeClue
- Kings of the Castle
- Lego Arthouse
- Lego Brawls
- Lifelike
- Little Orpheus
- Monomals
- Mr. Turtle
- No Way Home
- Kings of the Castle
- Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm
- Overland
- Pac-Man Party Royale
- The Pathless
- Possessions
- Projection: First Light
- Rayman Mini
- Repair
- Sayonara Wild Hearts
- Shantae and the Seven Sirens
- Shinsekai Into the Depths
- Skate City
- Sneaky Sasquatch
- Sonic Racing
- Spidersaurs
- Steven Universe: Unleash the Light
- Super Impossible Road
- Towaga: Among Shadows
- The Bradwell Conspiracy
- The Enchanted World
- The Pathless
- UFO on Tape: First Contact
- Winding Worlds
- Where Cards Fall
- Various Daylife
- Yaga
Other games will be rolled out one-by-one, but don't fret - we believe these titles will be more than enough to keep you glued to whatever screen you prefer to use.
Did you try any of these games?
Yes, I tried a couple of them. Apple flaunted Arcade at the Steve Jobs Theater a day after the iPhone 11 launch. The graphics are great and fluid, and they're quite entertaining.
I'm a hardcore gamer who needs a controller in my hand. Is there a way...
Way ahead of you: Certain games will support third-party controllers, such as the Xbox Wireless Controller, the PlayStation DualShock 4, MFi controllers and Siri Remote.
And it won't matter which display you'll be playing on: From an iPhone to your ultra-gorgeous big screen at home, you'll get console-level experience thanks to this compatibility.
So you're ready to ditch your PlayStation then?
I'm an Xbox user.Sorry... let me rephrase that: Are you tipping towards Arcade?
Apple Arcade is basically a niche market, so don't expect long and hardcore games along the lines of Tomb RaiderAssassin's Creed, Gears of War or any of those wild horror survival titles (which I absolutely adore). Also, you really don't have the benefit of a powerful machine, right?
But make no mistake: Knowing Apple, it may not be if, but when they finally decide to declare a full-blown war in the gaming industry: A recent Newzoo study showed that the global gaming market will generate revenue of about $152.1 billion in 2019, a good 9.6 per cent year-on-year increase. And with the more than 2.5 billion gamers at present pegged to double by 2025, you know it's a very lucrative segment. I'm starting to think that Apple's charge through the services world is no coincidence.
Which makes me wonder... is this the beginning of the resurrection of the Apple Pippin, in one form or another? Don't be surprised if Apple, someday, decides to go toe-to-toe, press-for-press with the Xbox, PlayStation and every Nintendo console. 
- alvin@khaleejtimes.com

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