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Apple Arcade – live for some, coming soon for others

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Apple Arcade is now live for anyone running the beta release of iOS 13 or iPadOS 13, and early impressions are pretty promising!

For those of you waiting for the public release, you’ll be able to access Apple Arcade via iPhone this Thursday after updating to iOS 13. Other devices are getting public access a little later, with iPad and Apple TV support coming on September 30. Those hoping to play on a computer can expect the macOS version of Arcade to go live next month.

Need a quick refresher on the service? Apple Arcade is an all-you-can-play subscription service for games. $5/£5 each month gets you access to a catalog of over 100 new games and counting. These titles will remain exclusive to the Arcade, with an agreement that they won’t surface on any other mobile platforms or subscriptions – but you might see a few of them pop up on conventional games consoles eventually.

The real draw of the deal is that in a world where mobile gaming is plagued with in-app purchases, wait timers, virtual currency, and other freemium gimmicks, Arcade promises none of the above. It’s a back-to-basics premium gaming experience in which monetization is no longer a design challenge for the developers. You can also play every single one of them offline, perfect if you need to pass the time on a long commute or in an area with poor connectivity.

Though some of the games Apple has shown of prior to Arcade’s launch looked a little lackluster, diving into the full catalog reveals dozens of highly polished games that look really promising. There are games from well-known developers and small indie studios alike, all hand-picked by Apple for their dedication to quality. We’ve not had time to dig into many of them yet, but already there are enough diamonds in the rough to justify the subscription.

Speaking of which, a single Arcade subscription is shareable between up to six people through Family Sharing – if you’ve got kids, this is a really affordable way to keep them well stocked with games, safe in the knowledge they won’t be able to accidentally run up a massive bill purchasing in-game gems or extra lives. And if you’re still not sure whether Arcade is for you, there’s a one month free trial to help you decide.

So if you’re part of the beta testing program, dive on in and check it out now from the Arcade tab in the App Store – and the rest of you, stay tuned until Apple Arcade goes public. Again, that’s September 19 for iPhone and September 30 for iPad and Apple TV. We’ve got our entire team of writers checking out the service and will be reporting back with our favorites once we’ve had time to explore all 100+ titles.