Apple Preps Subscription Games Service

“Sonic Racing” from SEGA, will be launching on Apple Arcade later this year.

CUPERTINO — At a special event at Steve Jobs Theater Monday, Apple unveiled a variety of new services including Apple News+, Apple TV+ and a new credit card with Goldman Sachs.

But the company also announced Apple Arcade, a game subscription service that will debut this year and feature over 100 new and exclusive games, including original releases from game creators Hironobu Sakaguchi, Ken Wong, Will Wright and dozens more.

Apple Arcade will give customers the freedom to try any game from its handpicked collection of titles that are all-you-can-play, have no ads, ad tracking or additional purchases, and respect user privacy. Apple did not reveal the price for the upcoming subscription service.

Apple’s game service will put it in competition with other video game makers like EA, Nintendo and Microsoft’s XBox platform as well as Google’s recently announced gaming platform Stadia. But the Arcade service will also compete with apps on Apple’s own App Store.

Games have been a big part of Apple’s App Store and the company says The App Store is the world’s most successful and vibrant gaming platform with nearly 300,000 free and paid games. Free games, supported by advertising or in-app purchases, are enjoyed by hundreds of millions of players around the world. Paid games are often critically acclaimed and beloved by the people who play them, but competing with free is hard, so even the best of these games have only reached a smaller audience.

With the simplicity of a single subscription, the company says Apple Arcade will bring games like these to the App Store’s more than 1 billion gaming customers. Apple Arcade is the perfect complement to the already enormously popular catalog of free games on the App Store, making iOS the premier gaming platform for players of all ages.

Apple says it isn’t just handpicking the games in Apple Arcade, but also contributing to the development costs and working closely with creators to bring the games to life. Made by some of the most critically acclaimed game developers in the world, Apple Arcade games will entertain customers with incredibly fun gameplay and immersive stories, while capturing imaginations with original art and music. The service will feature games from Annapurna Interactive, Bossa Studios, Cartoon Network, Finji, Giant Squid, Klei Entertainment, Konami, LEGO, Mistwalker Corporation, SEGA, Snowman, ustwo games and dozens more.

“The App Store is the world’s biggest and most successful game platform. Now we are going to take games even further with Apple Arcade, the first game subscription service for mobile, desktop and the living room,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We are working with some of the most innovative game developers in the world to create over 100 new and exclusive games to play across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. Apple Arcade games will be great for families, respect user privacy and will not have ads or require any additional purchases. We think players of all ages are going to love Apple Arcade.”

Apple said Arcade will launch in fall 2019 in more than 150 countries from a new tab on the App Store across iOS, macOS and tvOS. Subscribers can play games across the Apple spectrum including on iPhone, iPad, Macs and Apple TV.