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10 things about Apple Arcade you should know before subscribing

It's a pretty good service if your go-to device is an iOS device.
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Apple Arcade is Apple’s game subscription service that delivers on original mobile gaming content from emerging and established mobile game publishers without having to rely on the microtransactional business model currently seen in the mobile games network.

Though unlike Steam or the Epic Games Store, this service is only available for devices on the Apple Brand just the way the PlayStation Store or the Xbox Store is available for purveyors of said consoles. Apple Arcade then becomes an exclusive service to owners of the product and it is currently not available on Android or the PC.

If you do have an Apple device and are willing to make the jump to Apple Arcade, the service does come with a complimentary 30-day trial to test out its service and try out some of its titles. We’re here so you don’t have to waste your trial finding out what we already know and are willing to share.

The Good

fantasian apple arcade

Mobile Games Without the Microtransactions

Here’s the best part that really pushes me to be on-board with this whole service. With the iOS Store and Google Play do feature all kinds of games and apps for their devices, Apple Arcade comes with the proposition that the games on this service will not have the stigma of in-game purchases plaguing their platform.

I’m really down for that because it’s great for indie developers who want to develop a game without worrying about their business model. Also it’s friendly for gamers who are absolutely sick of the predatory business model that’s rife with free-to-play games and have made their way to the AAA market. Along with the Xbox Game Pass, it gives an egalitarian process to bring games back to just being games especially for the mobile.

Small File Downloads

These games are optimized for the iPhone and many of them are designed for the mobile device, so they will be smaller in file size versus Steam game downloads. Fantasian is at 4.5 gigs and World of Demons clocks in at 2.7 gigs.

Apple Arcade is rife with small games like these that allow you to start a game collection on your phone without worrying too much about space restrictions. Genshin Impact was 12 gigs when I started and it continues to get bigger, self-contained games on the Apple Arcade allows you more variety that doesn’t fill up your hard drive space.

Cloud Saves and Achievements Available

It’s almost a given these days that you need Cloud Saves for services like these. Apple Arcade provides that service and also they have an achievement list for trophy hunters everywhere. Which makes the service even friendlier when it’s combined with…

world of demons apple arcade

Offline Gaming

While playing Fantasian, which is largely an offline single player standalone RPG, I switched off my wifi on my Macbook to see if online play is a requirement for this service. To my surprise, I played an hour or two of the game offline with no consequences in doing so. These days, game subscription services almost require you to be online all the time for updates and the like. I appreciate that Apple Arcade doesn’t require it unless the game is designed to be online.

Quality Game Selection

Check out these games that are available on the current library of games on Apple Arcade. Besides the obvious choices of Fantasian and World of Demons, you also have titles that released or are forthcoming to consoles like The Pathless and World’s End Club, as well as sports titles like NBA2K21 Arcade are available. This library of games will just get bigger over time.

The Bad

You need an Apple device to access

As mentioned earlier, Apple Arcade is exclusive to Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, Macbook, and Apple TV. If you’re an Android user with a PC gaming laptop, it looks like you’re out of luck. You either have to borrow your girlfriend’s iPhone or attempt to get one yourself during this time where electronic components are causing a backlog in manufacturing in order to experience Fantasian.

Optimized for the iPhone 10 and up, Ipads and Macbook Pro experience framerate issues

While it isn’t much a problem with Fantasian, games like World of Demons and The Pathless aren’t optimized for other Apple devices and some framerate issues do occur. It’s not so great with action games like the titles mentioned above as they require precise timing (The Pathless) and fast-paced combos (World of Demons). Hopefully more support will come by way of the Macbook and the iPad in the future.

More geared towards mobile gaming than AAA selections

If mobile games aren’t your thing, Apple Arcade specializes in them. While there are indie titles available here that are also available on Steam, Nintendo Shop, or the Playstation Store–if AAA games are your thing, this may not be viable option for you. Hell, even Fantasian is obviously a mobile RPG that lacks that console RPG experience.

Rigid cancellation procedure

Most services when you cancel your subscription allows you until the end of that billing cycle to keep said service. A few services end everything at the moment of cancellation, Apple Arcade is one of them (another is Crunchyroll). As long as you cancel at least a day before the subscription ends, you won’t be charged for the next billing cycle. However, if you cancel even a minute once the next cycle begins, your subscription ends along with your payment. Bummer.

While you can still access your game data when you resubscribe, there is a possibility that some of your games will not be supported by Apple Arcade if you wait too long to resubscribe.

Still A Small Library

Besides the quality games at the moment, the service is still less than a year old, hence a smaller library. Don’t expect a robust library like Steam in the near future though as many of these games are under a license agreement with Apple Arcade to develop exclusives for this service. There may be a few games that crossover to other services, but right now, many titles will be exclusive.

Verdict: Wait for it…

There is great potential for this service as long as you have access to an Apple device. There are some good games and with the ability to play offline, it’s a pretty good way to experience mobile games that aren’t “mobile games”, if you get what I mean.

The library is still small and even if the price point is good, sought after titles like Fantasian are still incomplete and the second half would still be released in the Fall. Save your free trial when the full game is out and by the time you get access to the service, the roster of games will be probably be more and its support will be much more improved.

Author

Vincent Ternida moved Vancouver, Canada in 2006 and called it home ever since. He spends the lockdown catching up with his Japanese RPGs, writing his new manuscripts, and figuring out why he suddenly became the main character of the latest Haruki Murakami novel.

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