I am an Android phone user. Specifically, my last two phones were Google Pixels and before that, I had a Google Nexus. I’ve not always been an “Android Faithful”, with a few iPhones here and there (when I was working at EA, I had an iPhone for Work and my Android phones for personal use). But that could change very quickly for one gaming-related reason: Apple Arcade.
In my 2019 recap blog, I briefly mentioned considering getting Apple Arcade to satisfy my mobile gaming itch. Even with a PS4, Xbox One, a decent PC, and my Switch, mobile gaming is where I spend most of my time playing. Google’s Play Pass, which is their answer to Apple Arcade, isn’t offered in Canada, so I’m stuck playing mostly free-to-play games that only end up frustrating me.
While I don’t have an iPhone, I do own a pretty decent MacBook Pro. What is pretty good about Apple Arcade is that it works on everything within the Apple ecosystem. Because of that, I decided to sign up and try the program for January. So far, I am happy with that decision.
For most of the month, if I had some free time to play games at home, I spent it playing something on Apple Arcade. I’ve downloaded a handful of games including What the Golf, Sayonara Wild Hearts, Grindstone, and Mini Motorways.
So far, I am having a lot of fun with the games I tried. There are a few issues but nothing game-breaking. The best part is that they all look really good on my MacBook Pro.
However, I am curious about how they play on a mobile device. So, I am seriously considering dropping some cash on an iPhone 11. Yes, there are alternatives, including buying a refurbished older generation iPhone for much less or even getting an iPod Touch which is supposedly still compatible with most Apple Arcade games. But considering the long-term use, I could probably spend the larger sum now because I wouldn’t necessarily have to upgrade too soon down the road. Additionally, while I like Android devices, my Pixel 3’s battery life isn’t the best, which would improve if I’m using it only for phone use.
But Apple Arcade isn’t perfect. Early on, there are quite a few problems with the service, which they can easily fix with a few updates. At least on a MacBook, the curation system needs work. Getting to Apple Arcade requires going through the App Store. Apple Arcade should be its own executable.
Within the Apple Arcade storefront, the categories are not the best. You have to scroll down to see the new releases, and sifting through the different categories isn’t user-friendly. Like Netflix, Apple Arcade should start you off with the latest and greatest, follow that up with some games it thinks I would enjoy based on my previous downloads, then have the rest.
There is a newsletter, it’s pretty barebones, so finding out about new titles requires you to look around the storefront or to hear it from word of mouth on social media or in real-life.
A lot of what I’ve mentioned above are quality of life improvements that are easy to implement. Again, these could be more a problem with how the service is built for MacBook, but it’s also a problem on an iPhone or iPad, then it needs addressing.
In any case, I am eager to see how Apple Arcade evolves over the next few months. With the service on the market for about six months now, they must have enough data with regards to subscriptions, most popular games, and time spent on those games. I really hope there are more games coming to the service because I’m sticking around…for now.