Apple Arcade attracts AAA developers but are they bringing their big guns?

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has finally confirmed that its gaming subscription service, Apple Arcade, will release on September 19 and cost just $4.99 (£4/AU$7) a month.

It seems like an enticing offer, with Apple boasting over 100 "unique" titles exclusive to its devices at launch, including games from big name developers such as Konami and Capcom. 

However, while these AAA developers are definitely a draw, are we really seeing the best they have to offer on Apple Arcade?

Playing with the big boys

(Image credit: Apple)

During Apple's iPhone 11 launch event, the company revealed more details on the Apple Arcade service. In addition to revealing more practical information such as price and release date, Apple really wanted to hammer home that the likes of Capcom, Annapurna Interactive and Konami are on board with the service and will be exclusively bringing their games to Arcade.

But, we won't be seeing the likes of Street Fighter and Resident Evil on Apple Arcade. Instead, we're getting Konami's family-friendly Frogger in Toy Town and Capcom's underwater platformer Shinsekai: Into the Depths.

It's not particularly surprising, as Apple's aim with Arcade seems to be a focus on exclusive indie games. However, it's worth noting that – due to this lack of AAA titles – it may struggle against its competitors and that's why it's cheaper.

By offering a lower subscription fee, it's likely that Apple is trying to find a competitive foothold in a pretty packed market – with the likes of Xbox Games Pass and PS Now already out there, and Google Stadia on the way, even Apple Arcade could have trouble becoming established. Apple may have scale when it comes to devices in pockets, but these competitor services offer the biggest and newest games - alongside indies.

While Apple may have these big names on board, and exclusivity for the titles they're offering, it's likely that the appeal of these games won't be as much of a draw as if the service was offering AAAs. Plus, it looks like most of the "exclusive" titles are only timed-exclusives rather than permanently, as many of the games we've seen planned to hit the service so far have also previously been teased for other platforms, too.

Indie taster session

Apple Arcade

(Image credit: Simogo)

However, it's possible that Apple Arcade could hold its own. The gaming service is the only one which offers over a hundred indie games on mobile devices at just the touch of a button and for an affordable price. Well, until Google Stadia lands.

And when it comes to mobile gaming, Apple has for over a decade now managed to attract the cream of the mobile gaming crop. iPhone almost single handedly made mobile gaming a viable option for developers, and will likely be offering tempting terms to continue to attract the best mobile gaming talent.

Whether players will want to add an extra subscription service to their bill though, doesn't seem likely. It may be that Apple Arcade needs some bigger ticket games on its roster to really make an impact.

Vic Hood
Associate Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.