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What is Apple Arcade? Everything you need to know

How does it stack up against its competitors?

Published onDecember 8, 2023

Apple Arcade stock photo 4
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

There are so many subscription-based gaming platforms available now that it can be difficult to choose one. However, Apple device owners are naturally going to gravitate towards Apple Arcade. It’s built into the App Store and only costs a few dollars a month. But is it any good and what are the best Apple Arcade games available? This article takes a look at these questions and a whole lot more.


Apple Arcade is the monthly subscription gaming platform offered by Apple for Apple users. With over 200 games already there and more being added all the time, it represents excellent value for money, especially if you get it as part of the Apple One bundle.


What is Apple Arcade?

apple arcade

Apple Arcade is a monthly subscription service that enables Apple device users to download participating games onto their devices for as long as the subscription is being paid for. Paying a subscription guarantees that you don’t have to pay anything extra to play that game, such as in-app purchases. You also won’t encounter any annoying ads holding up your playing. However, if you stop paying the monthly subscription, all Arcade games are automatically wiped from your devices.

When was Apple Arcade launched?

The gaming service was announced on March 19, 2019, at a showcase event of various upcoming services. It was launched exactly six months later, on September 19, 2019.

It initially featured 71 games, with Apple stating that this number would rise to over 100 titles by 2020. This duly came to pass, and new games have been gradually added ever since. It launched at the price of $4.99 per month.

How much is Apple Arcade?

apple arcade price list

For some strange reason, there is no discounted annual plan for Apple Arcade. Instead, you pay $4.99 monthly (or EUR 4.99 if you’re in Europe.) This is after your first month’s free trial or your first three months if you buy a new Apple device, and this price hasn’t changed since launch.

apple one price list

You can also save money if you are already paying for other Apple services. Apple One gives you services such as iCloud Plus, TV, Music, and Arcade (also Fitness if you’re on the Family Plan) for $16.95 a month. If you are subscribing to the other ones in Apple One, you’re more or less getting Arcade for free.

What games are on Apple Arcade?

apple arcade games list

It is split up into various gaming categories:

  • Action
  • Adventure
  • Casual
  • Family
  • Puzzle
  • Racing
  • Role-playing
  • Sports
  • Strategy

When you select a game, you are taken to its download page, where you get some stats about the game.

game stats

As you can see, there are multiplayer games as well as single-player games. Some games are controller supported as well.

So what is there? Leaving aside the really obscure and stupid-sounding games, there are also some really good ones. All of the Angry Birds games are on there, for example. There’s also Super Mario and Sonic. Plenty of racing games, card games, and other popular games such as Lego Star Wars, Star Trek, Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja, and countless more.

There are also games that are specially optimized for the MacBook M1 chip, such as pinball and racing titles.

What are the benefits of Apple Arcade?

sonic game arcade
  • The one-month free trial is followed by an extremely low monthly price.
  • The fact you can cancel anytime — no minimum contracts.
  • A large number of games are available, and the fact that Apple is adding more new ones every month. Although, in the grand scheme of things, Apple is still lagging behind some other gaming platforms in this regard.
  • It runs on macOS as well as iOS. This can also be seen as a downside as well though, if you’re not an Apple device user.
  • You can play without any intrusive ads, paywalls, and demands for in-app purchases.
  • If you don’t like playing games with touchscreens, macOS and iOS support third-party controllers.
  • It hooks up to Apple’s Games Center, where you can share scores with your friends and compete against one another.

Does Apple Arcade have ads?

As indicated above, the service doesn’t have ads, nor does it have in-app purchases. Apple generates its revenue on the service purely from subscription fees.

Can you download Apple Arcade games and play offline?

Yes, you can download games and play them offline on your Apple device.

To do this is very straightforward. Once you’re using Apple Arcade, Search or browse for the game that you want to download. Select the game, then click on GET, which is shown next to the name of the game. You can see an example in the screenshot above.

The game is downloaded to your device as an application, so to play it offline, you just navigate to it as you would any other app on the device.

Is Apple Arcade worth it?

With so many other companies jumping on the subscription gaming bandwagon, you’d think the market was too crowded for any other players. But this is Apple we’re talking about here, and it starts out of the gate with a huge built-in advantage. For a start, it already has a deep well of loyal users ready to pay. It also has very deep pockets to pay for lots of game licenses and build up an impressive library (although don’t expect anything along the lines of Call of Duty — it’s got ‘Arcade’ in the name for a reason.) However, it does have Super Mario and Sonic, so it isn’t all bad.

The third reason is that Apple has priced the monthly subscription so low that it becomes a no-brainer to sign up (if you get it bundled into Apple One, it’s virtually given away for free). With a one-month free trial — and three months free with a new Apple device — Apple is truly making it a “can’t say no” offer. Finally, it’s built into the App Store, so using it is also extremely easy. There’s no learning curve to getting started.

So, is it worth it? At the end of the day, it all depends on what you’re looking for in terms of games. You’re not going to find really big game titles on here, but if all you want is a nice little arcade-type game to kill a few minutes in your day, then yes, it’s well worth it.


Yes, but you must sign up for the Apple One family plan to get it.

There is no permanent free plan on Apple Arcade. However, when you first sign up for it, you get the first month free to try it out. If you buy a new Apple device, you will get three months of free Apple Arcade to encourage you to buy the device.

If your subscription ends, you can no longer play Apple Arcade games unless you purchase them from the App Store.

You can cancel the service in the Subscriptions section of your Appel iCloud account. We’ve run through how to cancel Apple Arcade here.

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