Are Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass Killing the Mobile Gaming Industry or Helping It?

How many times have you downloaded a super fun game only to find out you need to pump your precious time and money into it to excel? How often do you hear about a popular game on the apple store that spams its users with an endless number of ads?

Games like these are called Gacha Games. In these “Freemium” or “Pay-to-play” games, players spend virtual currency to receive game items which usually results in a competitive advantage. Spending real money to obtain this currency is a quick and easy way to acquire it. 

Some would argue that Gacha Games are ruining the mobile gaming experience, which is a reason why Apple and Google recently introduced their new mobile gaming streaming services: Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass. 

Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade is a mobile gaming subscription service launched by Apple on September 19th, 2019. Apple Arcade is available on Apple iPhones, iPads, Macbook computers and even Apple TV. Subscribers pay one monthly fee for access to dozens of exclusive games with no ads or in-app purchases. Users can play online or offline with up to 6 family members. 

Google Play Pass

Google also announced a mobile gaming subscription platform called Google Play Pass as a competitor to Apple Arcade. It is similar to Apple Arcade in that it requires a subscription with a monthly fee and access to games with no ads or in-app purchases. 

The key difference is that Google Play Pass games aren’t exclusive to the subscription service, unlike Apple Arcade. Games that don’t subscribe to Google Play Pass still have the option to buy and play these games. The subscription also allows you to unlock in-app purchases and expansion packs that would normally be an additional cost to gamers. 

Let’s see how these two services stack up with each other:

Apple Arcade Google Play Pass
Content 100 Exclusive Games 251 Non-exclusive Games and Apps 
Cost $4.99/Month $4.99/Month
Compatible Devices iOS Devices Android & Google
My streaming service comparison Netflix Apple Music

Both services are $5 per month, but as you can see Google Play Pass doesn’t just offer games like Apple Arcade, it offers all different apps like health, productivity, fitness, and many others. Also, they boast 150 more content than Apple Arcade. 

Apple is taking more risks though by putting $500 Million into development and taking a risk by signing contracts with game developers and making their content exclusive to the subscription. Which Google is not doing. 

If I had to compare these to other streaming services, I would compare Apple Arcade with Netflix because it offers a plethora of exclusive games and original content like Netflix does with television and movies. 

Google Play Pass is more like Apple Music because it offers content that you can pay for separately for if you want, but it’s cheaper in a bundle. 

How does this affect the mobile gaming industry?

Developers of mobile apps and games will be impacted in several ways since Google and Apple are introducing such innovative services. These services are going to affect independent game developers negatively. Giant mobile games like “Candy Crush” and “Clash of Clans” will retain their dedicated users but the gaming industry is already a very tough market to penetrate for small developers. These developers rely on ads and in-app purchases to make their money, but when Apple and Google offer hundreds of games at the same price, it devalues premium games forcing small developers to join the service, or die. 

Now it is not all that bad for developers who do choose to join these services. Since consumers expect free games, developers have been forced to sacrifice the quality of their games by integrating ads and in-app purchases. These subscriptions now put the focus back on high-quality games that consumers don’t need to pay a premium for to excel. 

Consumers are the biggest winners with the introduction of Arcade and Play Pass. These games will remove the barrier to success that most mobile “Pay-to-Play” games have. Each of the top 50 grossing apps on the app store offers in-app purchases which usually unlocks certain features or gives gamers a competitive advantage. These streaming services eliminate all in-app purchases giving everyone a level playing field. 

This subscription also offers way more premium content at a much lower price. Lots of console games are $50 to $60 and mobile games sometimes require you to spend even more into them, these services offer you hundreds of games at a bargain rate of $5 a month. 

Do you think Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass will kill the mobile gaming industry? Or does it give consumers the content they’ve been wanting for years? Give me your opinions in the comments!

-Dylan Parker

2 thoughts on “Are Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass Killing the Mobile Gaming Industry or Helping It?

  1. I believe the Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass ideas are great for the mobile gaming industry. Although some independent mobile game developers run the risk of losing ad revenue from signing up, their audiences are more likely to stick around and play their games for longer periods of time with the lack of annoying ads popping up every few minutes. Also, in the long run, a consumer will have spent $5/month for years and years if they stuck with their plan, which would actually make the game developers more money. This idea is a win-win!

  2. I think that this will ultimately help mobile gaming. Mobile games are frowned upon from a lack of quality, so hopefully this will open up a chance for more quality games to be released on mobile!

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