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Everything you need to know about Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade costs $5.99 in Canada and provides families of up to six access to more than 100 new and exclusive games, online or off.
Apple Arcade costs $5.99 in Canada and provides families of up to six access to more than 100 new and exclusive games, online or off. - Apple Inc.

Apple Arcade finally arrives this week. Announced in March, Apple Inc.’s new subscription game service is positioned as a way to help connect budget-minded players with the sort of high quality games that often have a hard time finding an audience on the App Store because they aren’t free.

The Cupertino company’s solution provides subscribers with access to more than 100 new and exclusive games for a low monthly fee. Still, fee means not free, and that’ll be enough to give pause to a generation of players weaned on the idea that mobile games don’t/shouldn’t cost anything.

Hence, we’ve put together a quick 411 on Apple Arcade to help you decide whether it’s worth your time and money.

What is it?

Apple Arcade is a subscription service that provides players access to 100+ games (to start) without any ads or additional purchases. It’s not a streaming service, which means you can download these games and play them online or offline, wherever you are. These games will be available not only on your iPhone and iPad — the hardware on which you’re likely most accustomed to playing App Store games — but also on your Apple TV and Mac, and you’ll be able to seamlessly pick up where you stopped playing when switching devices.

What games are included?

Too many to list here, but Apple has teamed up with some highly respected developers —including Ken Wong (of Monument Valley fame), Will Wright (inventor of The Sims ), and Hironobu Sakaguchi (the man behind Final Fantasy ) — to create and supply content for the service. Some notable early releases include Hot Lava , an action game seemingly inspired by Community ‘s “Geothermal Escapism” episode, from Canadian studio Klei Entertainment; a beautiful coming-of-age narrative puzzle adventure called Where the Cards Fall , from Snowman and The Game Band; and The Pathless , a poetic action game with cinematic flair from Annapurna Interactive and Giant Squid. Suffice to say Apple Arcade is primed to become a platform for gaming experiences a bit richer and more involved than, say, Candy Crush and Clash of Clans .

How much does it cost?

Your first month is free, and after that it will cost $5.99 per month, or about $70 per year. That’s probably less than you spend for your family to go see a movie in the theatre — an apt comparison, since your whole family (up to six people) can have access to a single subscription account. It may not be free, but it seems like it’s not a bad deal — assuming you and your family have interest in the games on offer.

How do I access it?

You should see a new Apple Arcade tab in the App Store on whatever hardware you’re using. This is where you’ll find all of the games included with the service — Apple has an algorithm that will recommend games based on what it detects to be your taste — as well as editorial content from Apple that could turn you on to new experiences.

When does it launch?

Depending on when you’re reading this, it may already be available. Apple Arcade is set to launch Thursday, September 19 in 150 countries around the world, including Canada. Apple’s taking a bit of a risk launching in the fall — the busiest time in the gaming industry, when avid players’ purse strings and time are being tugged in all directions — but that first month is free, which could be all the incentive some players need to get started.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019


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