Arcade

A collection of 3 posts

Sigmund Judge

Apple Details Launch of Apple Arcade Game Subscription Service

Apple Details Launch of Apple Arcade Game Subscription Service

Apple have shared launch details for Apple Arcade. The game subscription service will bring a curated catalogue of diverse game experiences to iOS devices, Apple TV HD, Apple TV 4K and Macs. The service has been shrouded in mystery since its unveil in March leaving our thumbs and forefingers to twitch with anticipation.

During the company’s keynote address at the Steve Jobs Theatre, Apple announced that Arcade would be available as part of each platforms forthcoming updates. Apple Arcade will initially launch on iOS devices on September 19th with tvOS and iPadOS following on September 30th and Mac OS Catalina scheduled for release in October. The subscription service tackles issues that have plagued the gaming industry and the App Store in recent times, offering complete gaming experiences free of advertising, add-ons and In App Purchases.

Arcade will launch with a one month free trial, costing $4.99 per month for access to over 100 gaming experiences, exclusive to the service. Subscribers will be able to download any game from Arcade’s vast catalogue via its dedicated tab on the App Store, making every game available for offline play while forgoing the need for a persistent internet connection. In line with Apple’s other subscription services, Arcade subscribers can share their subscription with up to six family members through Apple’s Family Sharing feature, syncing progress between devices to each users Game Centre profile through iCloud.

Phil Schiller spoke of his excitement for Apple Arcade through Apple’s press release:

“We are so excited to launch Apple Arcade on the App Store. A curated selection of over 100 new and exclusive games from many of the most innovative game developers in the world is the perfect complement to the App Store’s existing massive catalog of games,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We think customers of all ages are going to be delighted that a single subscription gives the whole family unlimited access to the full catalog of amazing Apple Arcade games, all without any ads or additional purchases, while knowing every game must meet Apple’s high privacy standards.”

With many subscription services choice can often be a burden. To help, the dedicated Arcade tab will offer up personalised user recommendations along with trailers, sneak peaks, guides and editorials, expanding upon the App Store experience we know today. The hope is that this leads to better discoverability of new experiences along with recommendations better-suited to users favoured styles of play.

Apple’s Ann My Thai took to the stage to detail Apple Arcade which will launch with the largest catalogue of games seen from a games subscription service launch.

Games confirmed by Apple to debut in time for Apple Arcade’s iOS launch on September 19th include:

Ballistic Baseball, ChuChu Rocket! Universe, Exit the Gungeon, Overland, PAC-MAN PARTY ROYALE, Projection: First Light, Rayman Mini, Shantae and the Seven Sirens, Skate City, Sneaky Sasquatch, Steven Universe: Unleash the Light, Super Impossible Road, The Bradwell Conspiracy, The Enchanted World and Various Daylife.

More games are expected to be added on a weekly basis with highly anticipated titles including Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm – from Cornfox & Bros – arriving in the coming weeks as creative developers around the globe finalise their games for the service following years of dedicated craft.

Apple’s embrace of artistic expression extends to another important art-form. Often put-down and purposefully misunderstood, gaming has had an overwhelmingly positive influence on our culture for decades. Once purely a means of escapism, it has transformed into much more than that. Offering diverse, inclusive storytelling and new ways to play.

Apple Arcade looks like the perfect platform to show off the very best of gaming and the perfect opportunity for people like me to dive back in. Put off by a big chunk of the games industry in recent years due to the predatory practices of some publishers, the promise of a safe place to play is what sets Apple Arcade apart from the crowd. My only wish is that the projected success of the service leads Apple to continue to optimise game performance across tvOS, iOS and iPadOS with a much needed re-focus on Mac.

Sigmund Judge

Xbox Co-creator Joins Apple Ahead of Apple Arcade Launch

Xbox Co-creator Joins Apple Ahead of Apple Arcade Launch

Following four years as part of Valves VR team, Xbox co-creator Nat Brown shared the news that he had started work at Apple this week. It’s not clear just yet what specific graphic applications Nat Brown has been hired for. With the news coming just months before the launch of Apple Arcade, many are speculating his new role is related to the upcoming service.

In a blog post from 2013 titled ‘Stupid Stupid xBox’ Nat Brown was buoyant on the future gaming prospects of the Apple TV. He predicted the rise of Apple compared to xBox, PlayStation and Nintendo as Apples platforms embraced third party apps in an era where the gaming heavyweights weren’t so interested in indie game developers.

“Apple is already a games competitor broadly, even if Apple-TV isn’t yet a game platform or a console. Mobile generally and iPad specifically have grown the total hours of game play and grown the overall game market. Only in the last 18-24mo has that overall growth turned from a segment-expanding rising tide to a tsunami swamping the console game vendor profit boats hitched to the docks. It is accelerating. Apple, if it chooses to do so, will simply kill Playstation, Wii-U and xBox by introducing an open 30%-cut app/game ecosystem for Apple-TV. I already make a lot of money on iOS – I will be the first to write apps for Apple-TV when I can, and I know I’ll make money. I would for xBox if I could and I knew I would make money. Maybe a “console-capable” Apple-TV isn’t $99, maybe it’s $199, and add another $79 for a controller. The current numbers already say a lot, even with Apple-TV not already an open console: 5.3M sold units in 2012, 90% year-over-year growth — vs. xBox 360 — about 9M units in 2012, 60% YoY decline”.

Check out the full Twitter thread from Nat Browns announcement by clicking on the embedded tweet below.

Apple Arcade is a subscription service launching on iOS, tvOS and Mac OS this Fall. Screen Times wishes Nat Brown all the best in his new role.

Sigmund Judge

Why Apple Needs It's Own Games Controller

Why Apple Needs It's Own Games Controller

One of the biggest-take aways from this years WWDC was the partnership between Apple, Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony PlayStation. Resulting in Sony and Microsoft licensing the use of their popular controllers on iOS, iPad OS, tvOS and Mac OS. Inside a packed McEnery Convention Centre, the news was met with the kind of hysteria normally reserved for a console release from either of the big gaming brands, but there was good reason.

Up until now the promise of console style gaming experiences on Apple devices never fully materialised – with Apple’s MFi controller program, a major sticking point in the early days for everyone involved. With the announcement that two universally loved controllers were coming to Apple, developers could believe again. All those hours put into a console-like Apple gaming experience’s would no longer be in vane. This one announcement made gamers happy, developers happy and shareholders, happy! After all, Apple Arcade had just opened itself up to 150 million potential subscribers across the globe – and before the service had even launched. The move reaffirmed the importance being placed on Apple’s upcoming subscription service.

As a thrill-seeker I immediately installed iOS 13’s first developer beta on my iPad Pro and connected my DualShock 4. Within moments I was playing games like gimbills’ Trigonarium and Studio Rains’ Teslagrad the way I’ve always wanted to. After years of struggling by with a Nimbus controller, the iOS 13 gaming experience is close to perfection. “So, what’s with the title?” I hear you ask. Why does Apple need its own games controller?

The simple answer to that question is optics. Every time I took out my DualShock 4 to play a game during my down-time, members of the general public didn’t see a guy playing games on an iPad. They saw someone playing PlayStation. That glowing light, the clicky-clack of buttons and the way my digits grip the controller say to anyone with even an iota of interest that I’m playing PlayStation. Such is Sony and Microsofts dominance in the gaming space, their brands often replace the term ‘games’ much like Google has replaced ’search’.

Sony and Microsoft recently entered a strategic partnership of their own. Seeing both companies work together on game streaming and A.I. technologies with the eventual goal , to see core PlayStation and Xbox gaming experience’s come to Apple platforms on a much wider scale in the near future. Both companies know that if their controllers are seen in coffee shops and on plane rides the world over, they continue to control mind-share before their services are ready to come out and play.

The unlikely possibility that Apple openly promotes and sells PlayStation and Xbox accessories within it’s stores leads me to believe that last weeks announcement at WWDC was just part of a bigger story. A story that could see the release of Apple’s very own games controller later this year.

Besides increased optics, what other benefits could potentially come with a first party gaming solution? Well whilst I wouldn’t want to over-speculate on what I’d like to see, it’s clear existing technologies in Apple’s H and W chips would improve the pairing process. Add to that; Family Sharing, Screen Time, Siri and a focus on accessibility and it’s clear there’s potential for another high scoring Apple product.

Let us know on Twitter what you’d like to see in a first party gaming solution, or indeed, if you’d like to see one at all.