Apple wants to play, and it’s doing it at just $4.99 a month. Set to launch in little over a week, Apple Arcade is the company’s foray into gaming, repeating its earlier claim that a library of 100 games will be available at launch.
On Tuesday, Apple held a live-stream presentation inside the Steve Jobs Theater, part of its annual iPhone event. The presentation was the second look at Apple Arcade, a service that will have premium games with “console quality graphics” available through a single app. Besides the games, Apple Arcade will also have an editorial section that will include tips, tricks, previews, and reviews of new titles.
Apple Arcade will launch on September 19 in 150 countries. Unlimited access is priced at $4.99 per month, including a family plan.
Onstage, Apple also previewed three launch games, each from a major publisher: Konami (Frogger in Toy Town), Capcom (Shinsekai Into the Depths), and Annapurna Interactive (Sayonara Hearts). All three titles featured tap and swipe-centric mechanics that make for easy accessibility.
Frogger in Toy Town is a modern reboot of the Frogger arcade games, set in a Toy Story-esquire environment that includes a giant baby as an obstacle.
Shinsenkai Into the Depths, a new Capcom title, is a deep-sea diving platformer where players have to navigate dangers in the oceanic depths. Capcom developers onstage revealed the the game’s sound and music were recorded underwater to achieve authenticity.
Sayonara Hearts is a stylish music rhythm and racing game about a heartbroken young woman, who wields as word, on a quest to to “win back her heart.” The game’s demo showed seamless transitions between rhythmic music tapping (think Tap Tap Revenge) to high-speed racing.
More games will be added to the Apple Arcade library. At the presentation, Apple previewed the developers and publishers it’s partnered with to produce content for the Apple Arcade. Notable partners include Devolver Digital, Cartoon Network, Lego, and Square Enix.
Apple first introduced on March 25 Apple Arcade as part of a showcase for its new subscription businesses.
Apple wants to leverage the popularity of its free games to put users on to paid games. Instead of requiring users to pay $20 for a single app, Apple Arcade will give iOS gamers a selection of premium games for a monthly fee. This way game developers can get their work in front of more people without sacrificing quality.
“Competing with free is hard,” said Ann Thai, senior product marketing manager of the App Store, in March. “We think we’ve come up with a great new way to bring these games to more people than ever before.”
Additional reporting by Danny Paez.