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Apple Arcade launches this fall with 100 exclusive games

How it works, when it goes live, and what you’ll get

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Apple Arcade is Apple’s new game subscription service. Apple executives describe it as a curated collection of the best games to experience on mobile, desktop, and in the living room. It’s part of a slate of new subscription services announced today by CEO Tim Cook. No pricing was announced. The service will launch this fall.

Apple’s Ann Thai, product marketing manager for the App Store, was on hand to make the announcement. She said that Arcade will include access to over 100 new and exclusive games — titles that won’t be available on any other platform or subscription services. Users will be able to download and play the games on their own device, giving them freedom to try as many games as they like. The service will be compatible with Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple was quick to point out that all of the games will be playable offline.

Family sharing will be included in Apple Arcade at no additional cost.

Thai also introduced a sizzle reel featuring a number of high-profile studios and developers that Apple will be partnering with. Among them is Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series, and Bekah Saltsman, CEO and co-founder of Finji.

Cook started out today’s presentation by highlighting the security that the iOS platform provides its users. Thai doubled down, stating that individual games cannot track users, or collect any information from them without their consent.

Apple Arcade differs from the Google Stadia platform, announced just last week. The search giant’s plan involves using powerful data centers to stream AAA-quality graphics to consumers over the public internet. Apple’s system does not. It’s more in line with Xbox Game Pass, which gives consumers permission to download and play games from a large catalog for a fixed monthly fee.

Also unlike Google Stadia, Apple’s announcement included dozens of development and publishing partners, including the following:

  • Annapurna
  • Skybound
  • Mistwalker
  • WayForward
  • Klei
  • Finji
  • Hipster Whale
  • Cornfox
  • Bossa
  • Noodlecake Studios
  • Sumo Digital
  • State of Play
  • Night School
  • KO-OP
  • Disney
  • Sega
  • Lego
  • Konami
  • Raw Fury
  • Devolver
  • Cartoon Network
  • Platinum Games
  • Versus Evil
  • Blowfish
  • Mountains
  • Kunabi Brother
  • Rac7
  • Gameloft
  • Aquiris
  • Gallium Artists
  • The Chinese Room
  • ustwo

Today’s announcement marks a departure for the tech giant, which is now clearly focused on being a services company in addition to a hardware company. It also unveiled an enhanced news app, and an integrated consumer credit solution. Sales of iPhones and other Apple devices have slowed in recent years, leading many to speculate that the market is already saturated.

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