Update 2: This article has since been superseded (although you’re more than welcome to still read it!) since Apple’s September 2019 event. For the very latest news on Apple Arcade, including a release date, pricing, and a HUGE list of games coming to the service, head over to this article right here.
Update: Since posting this story, Apple has since revealed compatibility for PS4 and Xbox One controllers coming via an update later in 2019. This of course, is an important piece of the Apple Arcade puzzle, and you can read ATVG’s full story right here.
Welcome back Apple TV gamers. What a week.
Admittedly, 2019 got off to a slow start.
Sure, there were the usual suspects cranking out some quality content-updates for games such as Shadowgun Legends, Real Racing 3 and Trials: Frontier, but other than that, there was very little in the way of new game releases. So ATVG hibernated.
Snakebird Primer is a nice little puzzle game to toy around with via the Siri Remote, but unless ATVG missed something, there hasn’t been much else. (Please let us know if you’re mileage varied)
And then March 25 happened, and it looks like Apple TV gaming might be born again.
Hello Apple Arcade.
Hit the continue button below to learn everything ATVG knows.
At Apple’s March 25 event, following a brief introduction from CEO Tim Cook, Ann Thai – Senior Product Marketing Manager of the App Store – took to the stage to helm the Apple Arcade portion of the day’s announcements.
Apart from the list of publishers, developers, and games listed below, Apple’s graphic above tells you almost everything else we know. But for the sake of clarity, here they are in some friendly bullet-points:
- 100+ New and exclusive games
- No adds or in-app-purchases (IAPs)
- Cross-play over iOS, tvOS, and macOS (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac)
- Playable Offline
For an as-yet undisclosed amount, come Fall/Spring 2019 (depending on your hemisphere), players will be able to subscribe to the Apple Arcade service (assumably for a monthly fee) and have unlimited access to all the available games on the service, with more to be added over time. This is not a streaming service, for as noted above, the games will be downloadable so they can be played offline, meaning poor internet speeds won’t matter (hello Australia). It wasn’t made clear during the event whether Apple Arcade will be similar to Sony’s PlayStation Plus service, in which games are available to subscribers indefinitely as long as they remain subscribers, or whether certain games will come and go from the service.
The beautiful thing is also the same thing that’s been one of my favourite elements of Apple TV gaming thus far: the cross-playability between your various sized devices. Apple Arcade is even adding Macs to that mix. I would assume that the more traditional gaming experiences will be controller-compatible, while some of the smaller puzzle games and point-and-click style adventures might be Siri Remote-compatible only. We’ll see.
The list of games is already huge, and from what’s on the list, it seems like a treasure trove of creative, indie-goodness. Apple Arcade looks to be trying to position itself as the new indie place-to-be, following the saturation of its very own App Store, Steam, and the brief heyday of Nintendo’s Switch.
You won’t find the big triple-A console franchises on here, but the way I’m seeing it, it seems to hold a lot of promise for true fans of smaller, innovative gaming. These are the kinds of games PlayStation Plus usually offers as its second game of the month, with one often being a larger triple-A experience, and the second being a smaller, indie release. More often than not, as I find myself with less disposable time, and evolving tastes, I find myself playing PlayStation Plus’ smaller games more thoroughly than the larger triple-A franchises. They are short enough so that I get the satisfaction of finishing them before burning out, and they’re usually a more involving experience, often with something original to bring to the table. Many of the games on Apple Arcade’s list certainly seem to fit that bill.
Here is the list of known games by publishers and developers announced for Apple Arcade so far:
- ustwo Games – Repair
- Klei Entertainment – Hot Lava
- Bossa studios/A Brave Plan – The Bradwell Conspiracy
- KO_OP – Winding Worlds
- Versus Evil (publisher) – Mad About Pandas (developer) – HitchHiker
- Versus Evil (publisher) – Breadcrumbs Interactive (developer) – Yaga
- Versus Evil (publisher) – Gambrinous (developer) – Cardpocalypse
- RAC7 – Sneaky Sasquatch
- Annapurna Interactive (publisher) – Giant Squid (developer) – The Pathless
- Annapurna Interactive (publisher) – Simogo (developer) – Sayonara Wild Hearts
- Finji – Overland
- Blowfish/Shaowplay Studios – Projection: First Light
- SEGA/HARDlight – Sonic Racing
- Snowman/The Game Band – Where Cards Fall
- Mistwalker – Fantasian
- Cornfox & Bros. – Oceanhorn 2 Knights of the Lost Realm
- LEGO/Red Games – LEGO Brawls
- Kunabi Brother – Lifelike
- WayForward – Spidersaurs, Shantae 5
- Revolution Software – Beyond a Steel Sky
- Konami – Frogger in Toy Town
- Picomy – Monomals
- The Chinese Room – Little Orpheus
- Flightless – Doomsday Vault
- SMG Studio – No Way Home
- Yak & Co – Down in Bermuda
- Directive Games Limited – Enter The Construct
- Wildboy Studios – ATONE: Heart of the Elder Tree
- Illusion Labs – Way of the Turtle
- LEGO System A/S – LEGO Arthouse
- Frosty Pop – Kings of the Castle
- Revolutionary Concepts – UFO on Tape: First Contact
- Sumo Digital – Spyder (working title)
That’s some list.
There are some known elements on there already. ATVG has been following Oceanhorn 2 and Monomals for some time, so it’s great to see those titles finding a definite home on Apple Arcade. The list of developers below were also shown in a graphic by Apple on March 25, but at this stage, ATVG is unaware of the games these studios will be bringing to the service:
- Hipster Whale
- State of Play
- Cartoon Network
- Gallium Artists
- Night School
- Platinum Games
As you can see from that second list, there’s plenty more yet to be announced. If you’ve heard something that ATVG hasn’t, hit us up via email or social media and let us know. I’ll try and fill in the blanks on this list and update it as more news comes to hand.
With the announcement of Apple Arcade, it seems to make my Most Anticipated Apple TV Games of 2019 list almost seem redundant, now that there’s going to be more than 100 games to look forward to. But not all studios will be bringing their games to the service, so ATVG will stay on the lookout for those on both sides of the fence.
There’s going to be a lot more to talk about over the coming months, and ATVG will try and find time to do some features on some of these Apple Arcade games and studios in the coming weeks and months, so we can all get a little more familiar with what’s in store prior to the launch of the service.
Onwards and upwards.
To finish off, the video below is a slickly produced, 3-minute Apple Arcade primer that was played during the March 25 event:
If you’re new to The Apple TV Gaming Blog (ATVG), or just new to Apple TV gaming in general, or both, then the best place to get acquainted is our Best Apple TV Games of 2019 article. You’ll find a great collection of games to play, and a bunch of useful links to our previous site content. Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.