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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Apple Arcade, two years later: a catalog of 180 games and a recognizable style in an ultra-competitive segment

Apple announced Apple Arcade in March 2019 . Two years later, its catalog consists of 180 games, but the most important thing is that it is a platform with a recognizable style.

Last week, Apple announced 32 more games that were added to the Apple Arcade catalog , including NBA 2K21, Wonderbox: Create adventures or Fantasian.

In this new expansion of the collection, the largest to date, there are also classics such as Monument Valley or Badland .

Apple does not usually give data, but when Tim Cook announced Apple Arcade in 2019 , he gave some very interesting: the first, that video games were the most popular category within the App Store, one of the most populous stores on the planet, since each 500 million people visit it every week ; second, that iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) made up the largest video game platform in the world, with more than 1 billion users. Undoubtedly, two good reasons to enter the ultra-competitive world of video games.

24 months after its announcement and 18 months after its launch (it began operating in September 2019) Apple Arcade has consolidated its model. Once again, Apple does not give data on the number of subscribers , but the fact that the catalog does not stop growing is a sign that the company’s commitment to digital entertainment is serious and is being fruitful.

The last batch of video games arrived last week. 32 new titles in what is the biggest expansion in Apple Arcade’s short history In the list of games there are new and original titles as interesting as NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, Wonderbox: Create adventures or Fantasian. There are also classics that have triumphed in recent years such as Monument Valley, Badland or Fruit Ninja, and that are paid apps, now they can be downloaded and enjoyed by those who pay the 4.99 euros per month that the subscription to this service costs without having to pay anything else.

But in Apple Arcade the names of the video games are not the most important thing. The essential thing is that in its two years of life, Apple has managed to give this platform a personality. Players are sure that all the titles they try will have three aspects in common: first, their security because it respects the privacy of users and lacks payments or micro-payments within the games; second, the possibility of playing them on various devices (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or Mac); and third, the quality of the content.

This personality allows anyone to enter Apple Arcade and not be surprised. Each and every one of the games is safe for the whole family, they are original, fun and easy to use, on any device.

Apple Arcade, a secure environment in which there are no payments and no privacy concerns

Until the arrival of Apple Arcade , mobile video games have traditionally been a nest of snakes. From the remote times when they were advertised on the pages of magazines, along with ringtones, their only function seems to be to get money from users as if they were slot machines. With the arrival of smartphones , video games became applications full of advertising, misleading links -when not fraudulent- and lots of micropayments : in exchange for a modest amount of money, users get improvements for their characters or new phases to enjoy .

The arrival of large online stores did not solve this problem. Although Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play warn that some video games include micropayments , users see with frustration how they cannot advance or cannot enjoy the game they just downloaded if they do not loosen a couple of euros more.

Monument Valley is a neo classic that is now available on Apple Arcade

Apple wants to make a clean slate with these devious stratagems: Apple Arcade does not allow any ads within the applications or any extra payment. With this measure, the platform becomes a safe space for the whole family and players know that they will not encounter unpleasant surprises in the form of a payment demand.

How is it financed? Well, in exchange for a flat rate of 4.99 euros per month, the first month being free on a trial basis. In return, Apple Arcade offers a catalog of 180 titles.

Another of Apple’s great obsessions is the privacy of its users. This page shows the company’s policy at Apple Arcade, in which it ensures that “we make every effort to collect only the data necessary to improve your experience and, when we do, we believe that it is important that you know what we store and why what do we need ”.

On that page, Apple reveals that it only provides global information that does not personally identify its users about the activity in the games to the content providers of Apple Arcade, so that they can evaluate and improve the interaction of the player with their game.

Apple Arcade, not just for mobile

Although all video games are in app form, that doesn’t mean they can only be played on an iPhone or iPad. They can also be enjoyed on an Apple TV , a Mac computer or even an iPad Touch .

In recent years, and thanks to advances such as the A14 Bionic processor or the OLED screens of the iPhone 12 generation, the quality of the games has multiplied and they have nothing to envy to the latest generation consoles. The same goes for the high-quality displays on the latest generation iPad Pro and iPad Air.

Another of the latest technologies that can be enjoyed in Apple Arcade games is the option to play with the external noise canceled thanks to the AirPods Pro or AirPods Max . With iOS 14, players can also switch between the sound source automatically just by moving closer to the device. For example, a user can enjoy a game on the iPad and then automatically switch to taking a call on the iPhone, without having to change any settings or remove the AirPods.

Bet on quality

The vast majority of the games that are in the Apple Arcade catalog are original. Although at first Apple imposed an obligation on developers that they had to make games that were exclusively for the platform, now it has relaxed the rules a bit. The best example is NBA 2K21 , a title that is on all consoles, and now debuts on the apple platform. Of course, it is a unique version specially designed for Apple. Another example is Monument Valley , a game that is also available for Android.

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But these are two exceptions. The vast majority of the titles are original and have had to go through a thorough examination to verify their quality. This bet has its risks, since first all the titles will be unknown to the general public and only the experts will be able to intuit their pedigree if they know the study that has programmed them.

But Apple is willing to take this risk because the download of the titles – if they are downloaded, they are not played in streaming – it takes a few minutes and each user can try and decide if they like the game and move on. If not, you can delete it. By the way, you don’t need to be connected to the Internet to play.

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