Apple’s upcoming subscription gaming service, Apple Arcade, appears to have a price point ahead of its fall launch date: $4.99 per month. According to 9to5Mac, the price was revealed in an App Store API accessible to iOS 13 beta testers, and suggests that Apple will be more aggressive with its game subscriptions than music or news, each of which debuted with $9.99 monthly fees.
The apparent $4.99 price point is even more significant when one considers that, unlike Apple Music’s $9.99 plan, customers will be able to share one subscription across a family of up to six users rather than having only individual access. Apple charges $14.99 per month for a family Apple Music plan, but offers Apple News+ for $9.99 regardless of individual or family content sharing.
That said, Apple Arcade is currently promising access to over 100 games when it launches in the fall, a solid number by unlimited game subscription standards, but smaller by comparison with tens of millions of songs or 300+ news publications. Apple has been keen to promote the upcoming service, though: In beta versions of iOS and iPadOS, the feature is tied directly into the App Store and has notably taken over one of the five bottom-of-screen tabs, displacing one-tap access to app updates in the process.
Promotions on the tab have highlighted the promise that the games will “play on all your devices … across your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV” — a particularly interesting feature as Arcade may dramatically increase the currently small number of Apple TV titles, and bolster the Mac’s larger but still unimpressive games collection. Arcade titles will be downloaded rather than streamed to devices, and can be played in offline mode without a server connection.
Reports following Apple’s It’s Show Time media event suggested that developers may share compensation from Apple Arcade based on the relative amounts of time players spend in their games, compared with others in the catalog. Apple is apparently at least partially funding and handling some of the promotion for the Arcade titles, which the company has described as “groundbreaking” and said will be free from additional in-app purchases and ads.
Initial titles include Cornfox & Bros.’ Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm, Annapurna’s The Pathless, Snowman’s Where Cards Fall, Lego Brawls, Klei’s Hot Lava, and Revolution’s Beyond a Steel Sky. The service will launch this fall, reportedly with a free one-month trial, and most likely after an Apple media event that’s currently believed to be scheduled for September 10.