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Apple Arcade – Game subscription service (apple.com)
159 points by sahin-boydas on Mar 25, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 116 comments

I think a lot of folks looking at this from the point of view of an adult gamer are missing the point: the audience for this is parents.

For 10 bucks (or whatever) a month you can load the ipad up with games and not worry about microtransactions or scummy ads targeting your kids. "Curated" is a signal that can trust age recommendations and not worry about inappropriate content.

As an adult gamer (emphasis on adult, i.e. not a 30-something that still games like a 16-something), I'd say I'm the audience as well.

People who like casual gaming too.

I’m a casual gamer and parent and the freemium, ad sponsored and subscription games have put me off gaming completely. I’m not sure I’d spend monthly, but let see what comes out. I miss the days of trying a game and buying it once if you like it.

Then they should know, that children want to play popular games, that change all the time.

I'm pretty sure that Apple will have problems with remaining their cut of the 9,99€ / month. If some f2P games aren't included, because the deal is not interesting enough for the publisher/game developer. EA, Nintendo, Niantic ( Google), Zynga, Epic and Microsoft won't partner up also.

Kids don't want to play curated games, they want to play what is popular or what they really want.

It's not like going to kid-friendly restaurants where you pick the destination. It's Minecraft, PUBG or even Farming Simulator ( my brother is buying an Xbox with only that game for his son) that they want to play this moment. They are not going to wait till Apple has the permission to publish it in the arcade service.

Children also need to get acquainted with the concept of scarcity if you don’t want them to become spoiled.

Limiting their options between “no games at all” or “the few games that Apple provides” is a good way to teach them that particular lesson.

Anyway, you can always gift them the popular game on a special date like their birthday or Christmas.

I (35 years old, grew up playing PC and GameBoy games since the late 80s) had no trouble accepting that the games I can play are either the once per year birthday presents or whatever pirated floppy my friends at school gave me that worked on a PC XT clone with a monochrome monitor (and lot of those that worked played way too slow on my computer).

This. My friends'kids constantly pick up my phones and ask to game on it. Sometimes they don't know what they are doing and decide to spend my in game money ( Like Stars or Gems or something ) to play.

Having a $10 Subscription allows them to mess around with all the games without me having the hassle to think and worry about what they do with it. I am not a causal gamer, but I see this will have lots of appeal. 10M sign up would be $100M per month.

Curated like Youtube Kids?

Specifically not like YouTube Kids. Apple makes a big deal about "human recommendations" as a jab to Google's (questionable) attempts to handle kids recommendations/filtering with machine learning.

YouTube kids is very much not curated. That's why I don't use it anymore. I stick with Netflix, PBS, Disney, Hulu, pretty much anyone other than YouTube, because YouTube is the only one I've found that's dumb enough to claim they have a kid safe area without actually curating it.

One can even say it is so egregious they could and should face legal challenges.

A library of game titles is much easier to monitor than an open video site.

It shouldn't be marketed to kids in that case. If YouTube Kids was simply YouTube, most parents wouldn't expose their kids to it. Calling it YouTube Kids and then not monitoring it for malicious content is wrong.

I don't think he was giving YouTube a pass, I think he was saying Apple has a much better shot at curating a game store.

Example, in the game Defender of the Crown (the PC one, not the Atari) all one has to block is the after-the-marrage-gif that implies sexual activity and the game is good to go.

I didn't like so much the cinemaware rendition, I liked the original raid more.

Let's just hope this "gaming as a service" stays on mobile devices where it belongs.

Personally I think it's a decent move by Apple to change the perception of the App Store in regards to gaming. I waited in line for the original iPhone and watched the App Store go from quality $2-10 games to the dumpster fire it is today. The F2P games are all clones of each other and no one will spend a dime on anything else. A premium service that collects the quality games, respects user privacy, doesn't run ads, or have IAP is a nice idea to be honest.

I'm a handheld gamer through and through and always have one or two handheld consoles on me, so this is isn't a service that interests me. But I hope it can make those paid games more accessible.

Also concerned that the (rumored?) $9.99/month price tag is even remotely close enough to get these developers paid. Nothing easier about releasing on a mobile device - the games they showed off look like massive titles.

Let's just hope this "gaming as a service" stays on mobile devices where it belongs.

Microsoft has Game Pass. EA has Origin. Subscribe to both and they're both fantastic.

I typed my response hastily - I'm not against them existing, what I meant was I hope they never replace consoles. I have no desire to pay a monthly fee to play hundreds of games.

The game list could be virtually unlimited, but there's always a real, tough limit - my free time. I can still only play 1-2 games per month and I'd rather own a copy of it.

Having access to hundreds, to me, means I'll essentially play a game for 5 minutes, then the next one, then the next one... until I've had an hour of no real experiences. In this backlog culture, it'll be a miracle if anyone ever finishes a game again.

>The game list could be virtually unlimited, but there's always a real, tough limit - my free time. I can still only play 1-2 games per month and I'd rather own a copy of it.

Didn't say the same thing for music? And yet how many buy CDs or download music anymore, compared to Spotify/Apple Music/YouTube/etc? An irrelevant (and aging) minority.

And at least for music it makes sense. One can and do listen to the same album 10 and 20 years on. And of course multiple times in the same year.

Whereas, after someone has finished a game, how often will they come back? And for what percentage of games? And how would a game subscription would hurt their occasional "lemme play this again for a couple of hours" trip down the memory lane?

It's that last part that keeps me buying exclusively DRM-free, Linux-friendly PC games. You can't even rely on a console working in the future anymore, or Windows not updating automatically into incompatibility. If it doesn't work, best you get is a not-quite-right recreation on a new platform. Worst case, old YouTube play-throughs are all you have.

The value proposition is that while there are many options, the average subscriber only partakes of a small number that best fits them, the options evolving and changing over time. Netflix has thousands of programs but I feel no obligation to watch them all, and just the tiny subset that I enjoy monthly makes it well worthwhile.

Regarding your last paragraph, I wonder how you feel about Netflix.

Don't forget Playstation Now.

Should google stadia be a part of this list too?

Theoretically no - we don't know yet the business model of Stadia, only the technical delivery (video streaming).

Probably yes, though - paying to "own" something which can't be separated from the service it arrived on would sound ridiculous in this day and age.

From what I understood/imagined, is that they do all the heavy work in the back end and will just deliver the navigation and graphics to us. This is a cool idea if you got an average graphics card and a fast/unlimited internet connection (which most of us have)

I am imagining this as a '€10 entry to a all-free-to-play-arcade. I hope that joysticks with 4-6-8 buttons will come out so I can binge-play Street Fighter again after 20+ years!!

I suspect that gaming subscription services will payout more than your traditional model. The difference between this and music is that most people do not want to hear the same songs over and over again. The $10 is spread across so many artist.

Video games will capture the attention of a person for hours in a month. I can see that a big chunk of the monthly fee going to a couple of titles.

I was born in the late 70s. That generation of gamers despise free to play games. I like the $5-10 titles on mobile and the $20-30 titles on Steam (I haven't bought a AAA title in a long time.) I don't have a ton of time to game, so I am not spending $120 a year on games. If this is a $9.99 service, it is a sweet spot and I suspect this demographic is larger than we imagine. Since price hasn't been announced, we'll have to see how much it will be.

> The difference between this and music is that most people do not want to hear the same songs over and over again.

Uh... my kids listen to the same damn song hundreds of times before they cycle to next. YMMV, and there's a large market out there that likes repetitiveness in their music.

That said, I agree that "no purchase barrier" is a huge step forward to getting me to try out a number of games just like songs.

It would make the old good games like "Sword & Poker" viable for developers. They would be incentivized to simply make more such games or add content so players keep playing.

> Uh... my kids listen to the same damn song hundreds of times before they cycle to next. YMMV, and there's a large market out there that likes repetitiveness in their music.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4301681 Eh, most people I know and in most discussions I've seen, people would prefer their shuffle not to play the same songs over and over. Otherwise why bother with shuffle? The thing is - people who want to listen to one song or watch one movie or play one game over and over and over are already served quite well. Just buy the damn thing and you have unlimited uses.

Gradually, we've seen the growth of services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, etc. because people do want variety, and they don't want to pay for every single song or movie or game (see EA Access, Xbox Game Pass, Sony whatever). Apple's game sub service actually isn't all that novel in general, it's just novel for smartphones where the industry has, over the past 9 years, moved primarily towards f2p, which actually gives people variety if they want it without having to pay for it, while also being able to consume the same game as much as they want as well.

It's also no accident that Steam has been so wildly successful through its sales, because that lets people try all kinds of different games without having to sell their kidney.

> Let's just hope this "gaming as a service" stays on mobile devices where it belongs.

I share your reservations about this becoming the new normal for the industry, but so long as games on the service are still available with perpetual licensing, I don’t see a problem.

Really, the much bigger issue with iOS-based games has been with us for awhile, and that is OS compatibility. There are now games from the past decade that are effectively lost to time, no longer compatible with modern versions of iOS and not even available from the App Store on vintage hardware. Archival is a very hard problem on a managed platform.

>Let's just hope this "gaming as a service" stays on mobile devices where it belongs.

I doubt it; stream boxes are probably 1-2 generations away meaning that online connections are going to be more integral to the experience.

The largest publishers makes more than half of their revenue off one game thanks to recurring payments from DLC, multiplayer content, or the brand new concept of battle passes and see no reason to create new IPs when the old ones still move millions of copies.

It won't be long until you need to pay some form of a subscription fee for most big budget / popular games (rebranded as a monthly battle pass or something so people don't get dissuaded / angry).

The good news is that indies are still around and there are still big single player games that are being developed to placate the crowd.

But mobile gaming has definitely been the extreme end of the most predatory business practices in video games and I see no reason that the rest of the industry won't follow suit.

I don't think it will stay on mobile, but I do think it is and will remain targeted toward more casual gamers. Basically those who want something better than the river of adtech sewage that exists today but short of 'serious' gaming with a lot of depth. My prediction is that other than this initial flurry of titles, you'll see a small handful of more significant titles per year and a lot of shovel-ware... but free of tracking and ads. I don't see how a subscription model can support anything more for most game developers.

> Let's just hope this "gaming as a service" stays on mobile devices where it belongs.

What do you call Steam? Sure it's a-la-carte pricing, but you get all the good & bad sides of subscriptions - you don't own anything, you can play on multiple devices, etc.

Netflix for gaming is a big deal. I think it can work on the desktop but perhaps with a different pricing model. Also look to a v2 where "offline only" gets re-thought (possibly with DLC).

Not the same thing, as you pay for a license to play each game individually. But, I see what you're saying.

USD9.99 is not nearly enough.

That said, it sounds like they're just going to give the money to the guys who make the games that are played the most. It's not like every developer will get 50 cents a download or whatever. So the big guys will get the real money, and smaller guys will fight for scraps at that price.

But at least it's a start.

> Also concerned that the (rumored?) $9.99/month price tag is even remotely close enough to get these developers paid. Nothing easier about releasing on a mobile device - the games they showed off look like massive titles

Apple is probably eating the costs to get the subscription mindshare.

Apple's poor support for serious gaming in the past makes me doubt that they understand gamer's needs (casual and serious). They failed over and over to offer proper "gaming" 3D graphics in Mac OS, they failed to grow GameCenter into something useful, they failed offering good gaming support for Apple TV. Too many broken promises. It's the same thing with music: Apple claim for years they have "Music in their DNA", but neither understand anything about classical music nor are able to build a good version of iTunes. I bet that this Gaming service will fail, as did Ping and Apple Musics "Connect".

Casual gamers and kids.

My kids enjoy tremendously Minecraft, Roblox and the Lego franchise games.

None of those require top-end graphics, yet offer engaging gameplay for a large audience.

Parent commenter is likely referring to MacOS's trash fire opengl support and zero Vulcan support.

It's not about getting spectacular graphics on MacOS, it's about even getting your renderer to work.

This is really fighting the last war, though. Metal exists, and any game that is running on iOS (which it has to, to be in this) targets Metal. Who cares about anything else?

Android has much greater worldwide market share than iOS does (not to mention PCs, consoles, etc.) None of those support Metal.

So yes, we graphics programmers do care about "anything else".

Android doesn't support desktop OpenGL either (it supports OpenGL ES), and large parts of the Android install base don't support Vulkan either (anything before 7.x):


I would bet that there are many more commercially-viable games that support Metal than those that support Vulkan.

More than anything else, I think what I was responding to was the desktop-centric nature of the post I was replying to. This is not Apple's competitor to Steam or Stadia, it's a different way for Apple to monetize App Store games without IAP. Even with the current worldwide market share of each OSes, there are very few commercial Android-only games and a great deal more iOS-but-not-Android games. That's the market segment this is targeting, and what graphics APIs macOS supports are a footnote to that.

If you're targeting multiple platforms you're likely using an engine rather than directly programming the GPU anyway. So you don't actually care about vulcan vs metal, you care about e.g. "Unity".

Some of us write the engines. :)

Even then the graphical fidelity of the above games is approachable with a pretty simple set of "standard" shaders and rendering tricks that allow to limit the graphics api specific code to a manageable chunk. It's not nice, but it's not like one needs to port the entire engine. And then there are cross api interfaces like bgfx that allow more or less to share a common data interface with all of the API backends.

I'm not saying that I like the fragmentation, but on the other hand I'll happily use win32 system calls when programming windows and posix stuff if programming unixen. So it's not entirely cut and dried what is the expected amount of platform specific customization one is expected to be able to deal with.

Everyone who doesn't develop exclusively for MacOS X, which is most of us.

Am I going to rewrite my OpenGL application to use Metal. No. I might update it to use Vulkan, and see if it works with the MoltenVK shim for MacOS X. But I'm afraid that Metal itself is a complete non-starter.

The ad, sounds like it is geared towards indie game developers, not players. They do not want to do current mainstream games, but capture some niche market outside them.

My guess is they are throwing a lot of money on this, to get exclusive launch titles. It would be nice to know from the early vendors what are the attached strings.

It's curious that they pitched this curated experience by openly admiting their app store experience is terrible and full of scammy games that are "free" w/ ads and egregious microtransactions. Of course they could fix the app store they control rather than silo-ing off the good games into a separate subscription.

Well, given the recent spat with Spotify I'm under the impression that they have more than enough curators to clean up the app store from scammy apps. I just think they make enough money from microtransaction "whales" not to care

I worry a bit about the App Store screenshot with the arcade tab. Apple Music is a permanent part of the Music app UI even when you aren't a subscriber. It is a bit of an annoyance. Now it appears Arcade will be there to bug me for a subscription in the App Store. I'm realizing now the News and TV apps will do the same thing.

These are small annoyances, but it seems like a turn in the wrong direction overall. For years the Apple ecosystem gave me the feeling that I was paying a premium, but I got great hardware, great UX, and increasing more software for free. iOS, Pages, Numbers, iMovie, etc all became free over time. Yes, it all locked me into their world, but it was a great world largely free of ads an annoyances. Now that they are adding paid services to so many products they are eroding that feeling.

Actually you can remove Apple Music from the music UI. I did this a year or two ago and it has persisted between phone upgrades and restores.


You can turn off the Apple Music tab in Music. Go to Settings > Music > Show Apple Music and turn it off :-)

With Show Apple Music Off. Play a song in iTunes, tap the name of the currently playing song, click go to artist, now you're back in Apple Music.

Man I hope most app games become part of this. I hate the amount of BS in the games my kids play on their iPads. Ads, in game purchases, etc.

I hope they give the developers good terms. I hate not being able to find non-scam games for my phone. I don’t mind paying for games but I have fewer and fewer options on iOS as time goes on.

I’ll support this.

I am pessimistic cause the only way Apple can pay game developers is by use (played time). This forces developer studios to produce games that one can't finish.

> This forces developer studios to produce games that one can't finish.

Do you mean games like Tetris that have no finished state? Or games like Factorio or Minecraft, which have a last goal but no “finished” state? Or do you mean like online multiplayer games where you play an endless stream of short games?

I am a fan of adventure games like "The Room" or "Monument Valley". Monument Valley can be finished pretty quickly. It puts my favourite category into unfair disadvantage. It is only my guess that they will pay by time played based on iOS12 and it's usage app.

Right, but on the other hand you'd need to pay full-price upfront. They'll likely do better overall from this and create more buzz for those who aren't subscribers to buy the game out-right.

This is an interesting point if they are paying by play time, but why do you think that is the only way? Netflix doesn't pay based on play time -- they pay an upfront fee to license a title for set period of time, regardless of number of plays. Maybe they'll do the same here.

That's what a previous article from Bloomberg [1] claimed: "The company would collect these monthly fees, then divide up the revenue between developers based on how much time users spend playing their games, one of the people said. Apple is likely considering popular paid titles on the App Store and would exclude titles that are free to download but generate revenue via in-app purchases."

This seems like the definition of a perverse incentive, but if Apple is having a hand in making some of these games, maybe they can keep it under control. Or, maybe having users spend more time in Apple Arcade is their plan all along.

[1] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-23/apple-s-r...

If they take this seriously then taking the time to “invest” differently in different kinds of games would certainly be wise. Different games have different metrics for success from the perspective of someone offering this service.

Obviously in the end it always comes down to profit generated per game but with a subscription service that can be hard or even impossible to measure.

Metrics for success can be playtime, number of times the game was completed, but also more diffuse things like whether critics like it or whether the press is writing about it.

So one would hope Apple picks a differentiated approach – but such an approach can be much harder to implement.

I think any incentive change will affect gameplay. If you look back at arcades, the goal was the get you to insert more quarters. When consoles got popular that went away...until video game rentals came along and they started adding obstacles to prevent you from beating a game within a rental period (but really, did it make sense to pay $20-50 25 years ago for something you'll only play for 2 days?)

This might be a good thing for my wife and her habit of playing the latest "grinding game of the month" (ie. CandyCrush, WordSoup, etc.) If we can pay $10/month so that she can play whatever she want's without having Ads shoved in her face, sign me up!

A subscription service for iOS games. Is the market for polished phone games big enough to support a service like this?

Most people I know who still play phone games usually play either really basic puzzle games or the auto-play esque gacha games that don't require much user interaction.

The part that worries the hell out of me is the “hand picked”. Screw that: if the game exists anywhere on the store, and people want to play it, LET THEM and find a way to pay the developer (e.g. based on time played, or some other measure). [Edit: If they want to introduce new rules like “no ads”, fine but any game meeting the requirements should be allowed, not “hand picked”.]

Otherwise, I can tell you right now what will happen: most developers will be (further) screwed by Apple’s Latest Arbitrary Hidden Process. And of course, big important devs will continue to be quietly given special treatment.

I have no faith in their “curation” either. Half the time they feature games that people would easily find anyway, e.g. the latest Angry Birds or Candy Crush or Lego game.

It would be interesting to know what % of their users play these 'premium experience' titles, in comparison to Candy Crush and Clash Royale where ads, microtransactions and data harvesting are incredibly popular

Those are the only evolutionary survivors of the App Store economy. Pay up front won’t fly anymore, so we need a new model if we want to see games that are actually fun rather than just addictive. I’d like to see this succeed, fingers crossed.

I don't have super high hopes but I do hope this leads to a better situation than we have now with "free" games chocked full of IAP.

They didn't announce the price actually.

News+ was $9.99

it leaked actually. but I removed for the title

It's not launching until Fall. Tech Crunch doesn't know what the pricing for a service launching 6 months from now will be.

Or do they?

What was the price? I assume $9.99 or maybe more but bundled into whatever they call their version of prime/one.

A lot of discussions are around the business side and not the technical. Having the game works across iOS and macOS is something I thought not going to happen before. That is like saying your Xbox Games works across on your PC.

How will the control works? Are they all based on some Middleware engine? Unity or Unreal? Are Apple having a hands in those development ( Finally! )? What kind of support are Apple giving to Game Developers where Apple has for the past 20 years completely neglect them. New Metal API?

Apple went from supporting games on the Apple ][ line, to discouraging games on the Mac, to supporting games again with Pippin, to not really supporting them on the Mac but still claiming there were games on their platforms (idTech Rage demo, yaaaay?), to... supporting games again. Is anyone buying this? Is this thing on?

I realize companies shift, but Apple has done a lot of shifting when it comes to gaming.

Steam has a lot of games for OSX. It certainly wasn’t a priority of Apple, but Mac gaming is a “thing”

All that Apple is launching, honestly, seems like a desperate move for stockholders by upping more recurring price services. But honestly, I pay less than 10€ / 5 months through humble bundle and my game library contains 100's of games.

Apple is trying so hard to make up for the decline of iPhone sales on the back of other people. Only the big names will get a Payday at the beginning.

Sure, it can work on the beginning. But after a while, your gonna realize that you spent 120€/year on games. And it's the games you wanted to play on the PC where you would give > 50€/piece for.

Not some arcade gaming/TV you don't own.

You want to read the NY Times or something else, that hasn't partnered with apple.

For the TV, it's a good idea, but as the big names ( Netflix, Disney) didn't partner up. What are you going to pick? Netflix works everywhere ( Chromecast is nr 1, Android, Xbox, ...). I just think that it won't help them gain enough subscribers.

And in the end, if they want to keep their 15-30%, their partners will back out. Because they don't earn enough or you'll cancel your subscription because there is not enough content.

What they announced the last days, is all about upping a % here or there for revenue of "services". While I haven't seen anything spectacular about hardware in the last 5 years. Just look at the specs of the MacBook "pro". They forgot who made Apple big.

The top post of Apple today on HN is that they released a credit card in cooperation with Goldman Sachs... Seriously? What about your privacy there. It reminds me of iAd. We all know how that went.

Edit: ofc here come the downvotes. Please mention why you don't agree

Apple is great at a lot of things, but qualified to "make gaming even better" they are not.

Most games, if they are even released on Mac, run worse on a Mac compared to Windows PC.

And a lot of gaming accessories, like Razer mice, don't even work properly on a Mac.

In 2006 would you have said they were qualified to make a cell phone?

Were they trying to make one for 40 years?

Doesn't seem to have worked?

Let's see what happens if I actually do it...

Can't see the Apple emoji on any device that's not an Apple device

Ahh. I added Apple in front of it. Thanks

oh great... a bunch of crappy games with touch UI. Finding quality games in the App Store is like needle in a haystack.

iOS games are mostly at the calibre of killing time on the bus. Never something you sit down, at home for a dedicated gaming session.

It's not for you. There are a lot more people killing time on the bus than are carving out an hour of their day to play a video game.

the quality bar for dking around on the bus is sooo low.

There are world-class games on iOS, but the critical problem - I think - is that (i) the interface isn't subtle enough to handle fine movements (unlike the mouse or analog stick), (ii) the devices are cumbersome and tiring to use for extended periods of time, and (iii) critically, there is no tactical feedback for buttons which means that a portion of your brain is always dedicated to making sure that your thumb is 'over the A button', removing you subtly but importantly from the gaming immersion.

EDIT: I also want to say that to any lurking iOS game devs - the most critical thing that seems to separate viral games from standard ones is the leveraging of a single (or a handful) or basic multitouch gestures.

Angry Birds: drag and release

Flappy Bird: tap

Homescapes: swipe

Super Mario Run: tap

et cetra...

Artificial buttons and joysticks are a bad idea - they do not translate well to a touch-based platform.

With a few adjustments, things like Street Fighter CE work decently.

It's not as satisfying as physical but it isn't horrible.

Yet another way in which Apple is undercutting developers and preventing them from profiting in a space where Apple wants to make money.

If you think about it, game studios and movie producers are two of the only art businesses where something remotely close to the artist is able to make any money off the actual art.

Musicians only make money off concerts, not selling music. Writers literally don't make money any more. And I'm not certain if there was ever a time actors or directors made money -- outside of the EXTREMELY successful.

With Netflix really commoditizing the movie business, I wouldn't be surprised if the margin on movie production steeply declines in the near future.

So, my point is, yes this sucks. At the same time, doesn't it seem like the natural order of things?

I hope we can change the natural order of things. But maybe the value really is in the distribution and not production. As a self-described maker, it sucks to think that. But maybe it's the truth.

No, as a user having the Xbox game pass (the same service for xbox by Microsoft )

Im now discovering new indie games that I’m 100% sure wouldn’t buy to try them :)

This is it, folks. Apple's much-anticipated transition into becoming a serious player in the gaming space.

Nintendo had better watch its back.

By "gaming space", you mean casual games played on the phone, right?

I see great opportunity for casual games. Think "Candy Crush", but where it's part of your monthly and you just get to play, without having to sending friends energy so you can get an extra round back when they accept.

On the other hand, the trend lately has been game companies telling people exactly how they have to play and Apple won't be able to resist that. If you want to play a different mode and Apple doesn't think you should, you won't get to, and modders won't be able to provide it.

If I were a game developer, I'd be wary as well of the usual pitfalls. Clones or Apple developments being anointed the winner by Apple. Core functionality to the game suddenly being disallowed. No transparency or recourse with Apple as publisher.

I'll believe it when I see it. Their gaming experience to date has been pretty poor, which they openly admitted in their presentation. Their offerings have been swamped surface-level, micro-transaction driven games. And despite the gaming-friendly Apple TV that dropped a few years ago, they still weren't able to get serious contention.

And still, gamers looking for high-quality AAA titles like Breath of the Wild probably aren't ever going to be satisfied with this more casual type of gaming.

That's a real knee-slapper. If Apple really cared, they'd allow NVidia's drivers into their OS, support OpenGL and Vulkan, and make actual desktop computers again, not rounded rectangle hunks of metal with a paltry number of ports.

I want a real apple tower again, dangit.

Or recognize the stockholm syndrome and move past Apple :) There is (more) light on the other side

I dunno, not until Apple releases a first party controller. Otherwise Nintendo will continue to keep its current market at least.

Not only do they need to release a controller, they need to allows games to only support the controller. Forcing touch controls into games that want to be on the store filters out too many good games.

Apple would also need to release something near the Switch's price point. That's not happening anytime soon.

An "Apple TV Game Edition" that comes with a bundled controller would be right in that console price range.

The best Apple or anyone else can do in terms of a controller is make an exact copy of Sony's DS4.

Nintendo will do fine, they can still offer Google Stadia on their devices additional to their own service. But I'm not sure if Apple will allow Stadia on their mobile platform, most likely not because it could require the full Chrome browser which isn't available.

Stadia is much more interesting for gamers and developers than Arcade, offline gaming just doesn't matter enough when measured against the advantages Stadia offers, where devs can target modern PC specs, while Arcade devs have to deal with device fragmentation – being bound to the performance of Apples most commonly used devices, and ecosystem exclusivity on top.

Apple needs to put a hardware effort behind this to really make it worth anything... if Apple wants developers to push games to their platforms, the platforms need to have a stronger focus on games. A huge part of that, IMHO, would be making the Mac* not a pile of shit for games. That involves two things (and likely a third):

1. Complete compatibility layer with DirectX12, fuck everything else. No one is gonna rewrite their games in Metal to start at this point.

2. Writing drivers for a few hundred existing graphics cards.

(And the likely) 3. Partner with AMD or NVIDIA to create an intensely powerful per dollar line of proprietary graphics cards that obliterate the competition.

Apple seems to like an adaptive experience with certain tasks being best accomplished on certain devices, progressively upgrading features, as the devices support more complex user input. They generally execute this near perfectly everywhere _except_ gaming.

I think this is a neat announcement, but will likely fizzle. I really, really, wish Apple would take gaming seriously. At this point their platforms are primarily for content consumption, not creation, ignoring gaming comes off as sort of pompous (though maybe I'm the pompous one, ha).

Maybe with the upcoming modular Mac Pro this will be fixed, but I'm not gonna hold my breath.

* Apple TV is currently garbage too because the standard outta the box input device (remote) is horrible gaming. They need to ship a system with a sanctioned controller, or make an enclosure for iOS devices.

Your two points only matter if game makers want to roll their own rendering engines. If you use Unreal or Unity, you’ve got first class Metal support out of the box.

That's the first thing I was thinking reading that comment.

Why, on earth, would I want to write a game in Direct X? Is there really a compelling reason not to use Unity or Unreal?

Tighter control over performance, no royalties / no unity logo at launch, unlimited flexibility, smaller more optimized binaries. It really boils down to control. I agree though, most people don't need to work with the graphics api directly.

I don't think apple cares. They want game developers who only focus on the ios ecosystem. You may not have noticed but they said all these games are exclusives. They're betting on the ease of the ecosystem being the draw.

They're taking gaming seriously, but not for serious games. This is all designed for "casual" games that ios has dominated.

It's not ever going to be serious if it doesn't allow you to play older games and it doesn't have a physical controller. Immersive gaming on a phone/tablet is almost impossible when your fingers are attached to the display.

They need to allow you to use Sony's DS4. It's effectively a universal game controller now and no one makes a better gamepad.

A compatibility layer w DX11/DX12 would be even better.

Not deleting OpenGL support would be nice, too.

This service is for iOS

And tvOS, and macOS, according to the slides during the presentation...

pretty sure everything will be iOS compatable, so we aren't talking about games that test the bounds of large computer speed.

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