Another spring, another spring Apple Keynote. Good old Tim Apple (if you don’t get that reference you are not adulting properly) took the stage today to do the usual announcing of new Apple products. Only this time Tim didn’t focus on products in the traditional sense. No, Apple delivered a two hour keynote on the brand new world of Apple Services. An updated news app, with an optional premium subscription. An updated Apple TV app, with an optional premium subscription. An Apple credit card, literally called Apple Card. And most importantly Apple Arcade, Apple’s first official step into the multibillion dollar games industry.
Meet Apple Arcade
You read that right. After years of rumors and speculations, Apple has officially jumped into the wonderful world of video games. Apple Arcade is an all new subscription based games service that will work across all of your apple devices. One subscription gives full access to the entire library of games, which will include exclusive, on your iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, and Mac.
And that library of games is looking absolutely amazing. During the keynote Apple had a great video featuring some of the games and developers coming to their platform. Among those developers were Charles Cecil, Sam Rosenthal, Cedric Adams, and the legendary Hironobu Sakaguchi. That’s right the man behind Final Fantasy had a prominent guest spot in Apple Arcade’s world premiere.
Alongside the incredible stream of games, Apple also took a direct shout at the competition. Apple Arcade will not be a streaming service, instead allowing you to download and play any games any time without the need to be tethered to an internet connection. But wait theres more. Apple also took a moment to proudly exclaim that no games on Apple Arcade will have Ads or in-app purchases. Couple that with the commitment to privacy and a subscription that can be accessed by up to 6 family members, via family sharing, theres plenty of reason for Apple to feel confident with their service.
Although the Keynote was packed full of cool and exciting announcements, Apple continued the current tech trend of omitting details. As of right now we know Apple Arcade will be available Fall 2019. However, we don’t have answers to some of the more important questions. What is the price of an Apple Arcade subscription going to be? What titles can we expect to be available when it launches? Will there be any exclusives?
Questions? Well, of course!
Apple’s positioning as one of the top mobile device manufactures and the only true alternative to Windows computers gives it a ton of leverage. No Apple user will need to go out and make any additional purchases to enjoy the features of Apple Arcade. Cost of entry being low, Apple can expect huge subscriber counts very quickly much like they saw with the launch of Apple Music.
Where storytelling and design are pushed further than ever before.
With Google and Apple entering the world of gaming while Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are preparing to announce the next generation of consoles, this is going to be an interesting year. The one thing I can say for certain is, this gone be good for us gamers but real bad for our wallets.
iPhone news, and Bethesda announces more Switch ports.
Another week has passed and Nintendo has made another strong play for all of our gaming attention. I mean how could we expect anything less? Nintendo showed up to 2017 with all intentions on smashing the competition. Not getting a stupid draw like the Canelo vs GGG fight but a full on technical knockout like Mayweather V McGregor. Fear not however, there is so much other news alongside the Nintendo assault.
1. It’s the return of the wolf goddess!
After it was prematurely leaked last month, Capcom had no choice but to announce the official return of Amaterasu! For those of you sad sad people who do not recognize the name, it means you have a second opportunity to experience the masterpiece Okami. And this time in HD. The game is literally about running around as the goddess Amaterasu in wolf form, painting life back into the world. That sentence still doesn’t do this game justice, but for only $19.99 believe when I say this is one of the greatest games you’ll ever play. Make sure you paint the world beautifully when the game releases December 12th on all consoles.
2. From the creators of Grow Home and Grow Up comes an online FPS.
Sharing only a unique colorful art style, the latest title from Ubisoft Reflections is Atomega. Don’t let the lack of the word Grow in the title fool you, this game will still have you growing your Exoform all the way up from small sphere to enormous robot. What makes it even more amazing is this all new gaming experience will be available on Steam on September 19th. Fellow gamers, at this point I would like to publicly say it’s going to be a busy holiday season.
3. ThatGameCompany sure knows how to name a game…
Introducing the latest title from the masterminds who brought us Journey, Flow, and Flower this new title is all about romance. Or something like that. I guess I should give you some official info now. Sky is being touted as a romantic social adventure game in which you play as the children of light with a goal of bringing light to where it is most needed. The game will support up to 8 players and will be launching first on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. No mention of how long the launch exclusivity is or if other platforms the will get the game, but given the relationship with the Playstation brand I’d bet we will see it on PS4 soon.
4. Speaking of That Computer Company…
It was a huge week for Apple fans who like to play games on their devices. During their annual iPhone event, Apple once again dug deep into Gaming and AR technology. At the event they announced three iPhones to chose from this year each sporting a brand new A12 chip and 6 core processor to make games look insane. The iPhone 8, 8 Plus, & futuristic (although a tad silly looking) iPhone X will also sport a brand new Super Retina OLED display. That combined with the massive processing power and Apple’s stranglehold on the quality of its App Store games makes for a very interesting direction the mobile landscape is heading. Super Mario Run anybody?
5. Oh no Call of Duty what are you doing!?
It should come as a surprise to absolutely no one that the Sony and Activision partnership has spawned a Call of Duty PS4 bundle. What does come as a surprise however is how gross the console looks and that once again it is not a PS4 Pro. Seriously what the f*ck is going on up there people. We want PRO Bundles damnit. Rant over. The Call of Duty WWII bundle will come with a 1TB PS4 in the exclusive came green style along with a non0-camo green Dual Shock 4 and a physical copy of the game all for $300. I want the controller for sure but the console itself looks kinda silly. Oh well.
6. The Switch goes big!
We already knew Skyrim was coming to the Nintendo Switch, but now we have an official release date and so much more. Skyrim will be launching on Nintendo Switch on December 17th but thats not the real big news. The big news is that Doom and Wolfenstein 2 will also be coming to Nintendo Switch! Doom will be available this holiday season and Wolfenstein 2 sometime in 2018. Third party support for the Nintendo Switch is coming in hot, although delayed. There was a crap ton of announcements made regarding the Switch this week but Grandmaster Chet already did a really nice recap [Editor’s note: I didn’t, sorry.] so you can check it all out here. Thanks, Bethesda!
7. Good scary things coming from Korea.
I know, I know they just fired a missile so maybe making Korea jokes isn’t the best idea. However, I thought it was funny. Anyway, Coma will be coming to a PS4 or PC near you very soon. Originally scheduled to launch in August the game will now be releasing on September 19th alongside Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite (you all know I had to mention this game at least once). Now let’s talk about Coma, the horror game set in an abandoned highschool that forces you to make your way out while avoiding possessed classmates and teachers. A new trailer was released to remind us that the premise of this game is not funny. Also for all of you who are still butt hurt about the Korea joke, relax the development team is from South Korea. Those are the cool guys.
Hot off the heels of Apple’s 2017 Web Developers Conference (which heavily featured VR), I figured it was a great time to address what so many people have been hesitant to accept: VR is here to stay and it may very well be the next big thing. VR, or virtual reality for those who hate acronyms, is the latest video platform attempting to make a full move into your living room. Much like 3D, VR is a platform that aims to fully immerse you in the content you are experiencing. Here are 4 solid reasons you should start making space on your entertainment stand for a fancy new headset.
(1) Apple has joined the race.
You don’t have to be an Apple fanboy, in all honestly you don’t even have to like the company or its products at all to know that when Apple steps into a market it means two things. First, that product segment, whatever it is, is about to be the next major thing in our world and second, Apple has a strong plan to shake up and eventually dominate that industry. A quick look back in time will turn up quite a few undeniable examples. iPhone, came through and shook up the mobile industry and the Apple Watch relentlessly attacked both the wearables market and the fashion industry at the same time! During the 2017 WDC Apple made it very clear that they understood the future of virtual reality is not as unrealistic as many people on the outer circles of technology believe it to be. Apple typically isn’t the first company to show up to the party, but when they show up they show up strong and they also make sure everyone else wants to be at that party as well.
(2) Playstation VR has sold over 1 million units.
In the world of electronics, I am a gamer first and everything else after. I’m also a tiny, little bit of a PlayStation fanatic. Knowing that it should come as no surprise that I’ll be offloading a few small statistics regarding the platform that currently has the easiest entry point into your home when it comes to VR. Since it’s release in October, with supply constraints, Sony’s PlayStation VR has sold more than 1 million units. For most people who are heavily active in the gaming community that’s pretty easy to understand but can also be seen as pretty insignificant. There are over 50 million PS4’s that have been sold which translates to roughly 1 out of every 50 PS4 owners has purchased a PSVR. However when compared to it’s direct competitor’s (HTC, Oculus, Samsung, to name a few) thats a pretty significant number. Even taken out of that context, 1 million is a very large number. Maybe not for a company that specializes in creating consumer electronics, maybe not for a generation that has become desensitized to hearing numbers larger than 1 million thrown around due to Youtube, but in general it’s a pretty large number. Have you ever seen 1 million of anything in 1 room at the same time? It’s quite a lot.
(3) VR Experience Demos are almost everywhere.
Which brings me to my next point, although not by the millions, the opportunities to experience VR are starting to pop up everywhere. In most cities throughout the world, you can walk into any big box retailer (i.e. Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart) and experience some version of VR. During one of the big festivals in my little hometown of Providence, RI I was able to engage in a VR Experience in a van right down the street from my house. That means that all the people in attendance had the same opportunity and I would love to get the numbers on how many people engaged because that’s what it’s all about. As long as the big companies and indie devs keep finding ways to get people to into a headset, the adoption of VR will be that much faster.
(4) VR is more plausible than AR (for now)
In order for VR to succeed it has to find a way to make itself interesting not just for people play video games, but to the general public as well. That is one area where VR has a strong advantage over Augmented Reality or AR. Right now AR is still to early on in it’s infancy to find itself in the home of anyone who isn’t trying to find a way to become even more immersed in the worlds created by game developers or whose pockets are lined with gold. The VR experience is encompassed inside of a headset, which continue to become more comfortable daily, rather than encompass the entire environment around you which requires a slew of technology that I don’t even fully understand yet. Virtual realityy is a greatt experience for anyone looking to enjoy a story in a completely new way. It makes it possible to put you directly in the middle of a fast furious race or a star wars dogfight and when you’re done you just pop your headset off. AR is exciting but the world just isn’t there yet.
As technology continues to advance at lightning speeds it’s always exciting to have that one new thing that you feel you can count on being a survivor. We all know 4K and HDR are absolutely sticking around just as much as we know smartphones aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I really feel like Virtual Reality is going to be the next big thing that brings the world together, even if only to menacingly question that one friend of yours who is extremely slow to adopt any new piece of incredible gear.