Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
ExpertiseStreaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation onlineCredentials
Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
is moving deeper into online
. The tech giant announced Monday that it'll offer a gaming subscription service through its App Store called Apple Arcade.
"With a single subscription you'll get access to over 100 new and exclusive games," Ann Thai, senior product manager for the App Store, said during an event at Apple's Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. "You won't find these games on any other mobile platform or any other subscription service."
Watch this: Apple reveals Apple Arcade, a new subscription gaming service
Rather than something like what you get from
or Google's new cloud-based game streaming service, Apple will instead include an offering of premium paid games from various developers. These games will be exclusive to Apple and will have a dedicated tab in the App Store. Apple will charge people a monthly fee for the service, but it didn't say how much yet.
Apple Arcade will be available for the
, Mac and
this coming fall in more than 150 countries worldwide. With the subscription, Apple said people can play as much as they like without ads or additional purchases. They'll also be able to play offline.
The Arcade service will feature more than 100 new and exclusive games made by well-known studios and developers from around the world, including Annapurna Interactive, Cartoon Network, Konami, Lego, Sega, Hironobu Sakaguchi, Ken Wong and Will Wright.
"These developers are some of the greatest storytellers and artists in the world," Thai said. "They're creating games that have never been possible before."
Apple has reportedly been developing its game subscription service -- sometimes described as a Netflix for games -- since last year. But this isn't the company's first foray into gaming.
Apple has a long track record with games. The launch of the iPhone made Apple a vanguard in a new era of mobile and casual gaming. Apple was a key force in widening gaming beyond pricey
and high-end PCs, as games became a powerhouse element of the App Store. During the App Store's biggest sales week ever, when apps pulled in $1.22 billion in the final week of 2018, Apple called out gaming as a main reason why.
Thai said Monday that more than 1 billion people have downloaded games from the App Store, which has roughly 300,000 free and paid games. Games is also the most popular category in the App Store, Thai said.
Apple has flirted with other realms of gaming before. When the company revamped its Apple TV in 2015 after years of neglect, it opened the door for you to play more games on your TV, a nudge in the direction of a console. The trackpad on Apple TV's touch remote was the standard controller for all the games available on Apple TV, but Apple TV also added support for legitimate gaming controllers -- like Steelseries and Horipad -- so Apple TV owners could play arcade- or console-style games more naturally.
Now, with its subscription service, Apple will likely be able to draw in even more people. The company said it will continue to add games to the service on a regular basis.