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Apple Arcade: Everything to know about new gaming subscription service

Our now for iOS devices, Apple's gaming service will cost $4.99 per month.


Where Cards Fall will be one of the more than 100 games in Apple's Arcade service.

Screenshot by Clifford Colby/CNET
This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple.

The gaming world is about to become significantly more interesting, as Apple has now released its Arcade game subscription service. First announced at an Apple event in March, the Apple Arcade subscription service lets Apple users play games across iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Apple TV devices for $4.99 (£4.99, AU$7.99) a month.

Apple's gaming platform will join Google's Stadia -- a gaming service coming in November that will let players stream games to the Chrome browser, to a TV connected to a Chromecast Ultra streaming device and to Pixel phones -- and Microsoft's upcoming Project xCloud service, which will allow players to stream games much like you can stream movies via Netflix, when it arrives in 2020.

Apple, however, is taking a different approach with Arcade. Instead of streaming a game, Arcade players will be able to download and play games offline. Apple said games will be exclusive to Arcade and not available on other services. The subscription service will be available across Apple devices, and Apple said Arcade will work with Microsoft Xbox One S and PlayStation DualShock 4 controllers, which should make for more varied gameplay.

Here's everything we know -- and don't know -- about Apple's Arcade gaming service, following Apple's iPhone event this month.

What is Apple Arcade?

Apple's App Store houses more than 300,000 games. But discovering games can be a challenge -- and helping users do so is a goal for game developers. Apple says that's part of why it created Arcade, which it calls the world's first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and living room.

The gaming subscription service will offer more than 100 new and exclusive games that Apple is working with game creators to create. Apple stressed that the games will not be available on other mobile devices and will not be part of other subscription services. Game types will include multiplayer and AR, and Apple says it will be adding games over time.

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Which games have been announced?

Apple said the Apple Arcade catalog will exceed 100 games as it introduces new games over the coming weeks, with new games coming each month. Key games on the service include The Enchanted World, Where Cards Fall and Shinsekai: Into the Depths. Here are a few of dozens and dozens of games Apple and game developers have announced so far:

Which devices can I use to play Apple Arcade games?

iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, Macs and Apple TV devices will work with the service. There is a new dedicated Arcade tab in the App Store.

For iOS devices, Apple Arcade arrived Sept. 19 with iOS 13. Apple Arcade will be available Sept. 30 on iPadOS and TVOS 13 devices and in October on MacOS Catalina.

Again, the idea is that you'll download a game to your device to play and and every Arcade game will be playable offline; unlike Google's Stadia game service, this isn't a streaming service. Apple says Arcade will let parents control kids' gaming screen time.

And Apple said some Arcade games will support controllers -- including Xbox Wireless Controllers with Bluetooth and PlayStation DualShock 4 and MFi game controllers -- if you prefer using a controller over a touchscreen.


The dedicated tab Arcade tab in the App Store.

Screenshot by Clifford Colby/CNET

How much does Apple Arcade cost?

At Apple's annual September event, the company said Apple Arcade will cost $4.99 for unlimited access after a one-month free trial. Apple said you won't see ads and or pay extra for add-ons or game updates; all that comes with the subscription. And as with the News Plus magazine service, a subscription will cost the same for an individual and six family members.

When and where is it coming?

For iOS 13 users, Apple Arcade arrived Sept. 19, Apple says, in more than 150 countries, including the UK and Australia.

What else is Apple doing with Arcade?

In addition to hosting the service, Apple says it's helping with the development costs of games and working with developers to bring their games to the service.

How much money will Apple make from each game?

Apple didn't share how much of a cut it will take off the service, but it customarily gets a 30% share of app sales in its App Store. For comparison, the Epic Games Store, from the maker of Fortnite, gets a 12% cut, undercutting the 30% Steam gets off its store purchases.


Apple CEO Tim Cook talking up Apple Arcade.

Screenshot by Clifford Colby/CNET

What about privacy?

Apple says Apple Arcade games can't collect any data about you and can't track information about how you play the game without your consent. Look for individual permissions that give you control over what personal information you share with whom.

Originally published March 25.
Updates, June 13: Additional details; Sept. 10, adds games, price; Sept. 19, adds release details.