By Harry Slater
There’s no getting over the fact that the announcement of Apple Arcade could represent a seismic shift in the way we consume mobile games. Where before we were paying for every premium game we wanted to play, now it looks like we’re going to be paying once a month for all the premium games we could ever want to play.
The games that have been announced already for the service have certainly got our metaphorical mouths watering. Oceanhorn 2? A sequel to one of the best adventure games in history in the shape of Beyond a Steel Sky? Games coming from Platinum, usTwo, Simogo, and more? The list reads like a who’s-who of the finest creators working in mobile, and we’ve only heard about a quarter of the titles that’ll be landing on the service when it launches at the end of the year.
Change is hard
Of course, as with any sort of change, there’s going to be resistance, and there are hurdles that Apple Arcade is going to have to get over if it wants to become as successful as some of us here at Pocket Gamer think it could be. One of those hurdles, possibly the biggest one, is the price.
As of yet Apple hasn’t announced how much the monthly fee for Apple Arcade is going to be, but it’s going to have to get it just right. There are already rumbling voices of dissent among players here and there about subscription services being a rip-off – while we don’t agree with that, it’s something Apple is going to have to contend with in the coming months and weeks as it releases more detail about what shape Apple Arcade is actually going to take.
In my head, somewhere around between £5 and £10 a month is the sweet spot. Any more than that and you’re breaking a psychological barrier – £9.99 sounds like a much more palatable price than £12.99, for example. That’s just how our brains work.
But there’s another question hanging over the service as well – it’s going to launch with 100 games, all of which are apparently going to be exclusive to mobile on Apple Arcade, but what happens two months later, or a year? Are those 100 games going to be added to on a regular basis, or will we only see dribs and drabs added once the service is live?
And what if you don’t subscribe? Will you still be able to buy the games individually, or does ‘Apple Arcade exclusive’ mean that you’re going to have to be signed up to play any of them? There are, clearly, a lot of things we don’t know yet, but they’re the sort of things that are going to give us a much clearer picture of what Apple Arcade is going to be about.
Give it a chance
My suggestion? Let’s wait until that info lands before we start chucking around slurs and slangs about a service we don’t fully understand yet. This is one of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the way mobile games are delivered to players since the inception of the App Store, and it has the potential to revitalise a premium market that’s been losing ground to free to play for the best part of a decade.
I think that should be our takeaway from the whole thing – Apple is looking for a way to make paid mobile gaming viable again, and I’m pretty sure that most of you reading this will agree with the sentiment, if not the execution. Let’s give this one a chance to breathe before we pile on, shall we?