Apple is taking on Google, Microsoft and other players in the emerging cloud gaming space with Apple Arcade, a subscription streaming service for video games that works across mobile, desktop and TVs.
The service will be available from the App Store and will allow users to download titles, making all games available to play offline.
The subscription service is launching in fall 2019 in more than 150 countries. Apple said pricing details will be revealed later.
Apple said the service is geared toward giving more visibility to paid games, which are less popular than free games on the company’s platform.
Apple’s game streaming service isn’t necessarily about recreating a full console gaming experience without the expensive hardware like Google and Microsoft. But by launching Apple Arcade, the company is still effectively going up against Google’s new video game streaming service Stadia.
Google officially announced Stadia last week at the Game Developers Conference. The service – launching in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Europe in 2019 – will allow users to stream video game titles directly to desktops, laptops, TV, tablets and smartphones. Access to the service will be featured in “Play Now” buttons embedded in YouTube videos and Stadia will include a feature called Crowd Play that allows users watching a livestream of a game to actively jump in and start playing, as well as State Share, which allows video game livestreamers to share exact replicas of gameplay scenarios with viewers watching the livestream.
In addition to Stadia, the cloud gaming market could soon welcome Microsoft. Last year, the company announced Project xCloud, a video game streaming service, with plans for public trials to begin in 2019. And earlier this month Microsoft showed off a live demo of the service.
In the meantime, Verizon is reportedly recruiting testers for Verizon Gaming, a platform that runs on the Nvidia Shield set-top box paired with an Xbox controller. The service will eventually launch on Android devices as well.
Amazon is also reportedly working on a video game streaming service. And Charter Communications recently made a strategic investment in startup Blade, which approximately one year ago launched Shadow, a cloud-based PC available in the U.S. and Europe.