Apple bundles free three-month Apple Arcade trial with new device purchases

Anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod touch, or Apple TV after October 22nd gets free three-month trial of Apple Arcade, Apple has announced. Apple’s games subscription service normally costs $4.99 a month, and gives you access to over 100 downloadable games with no ads or in-game purchases.



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© Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge


Apple has long used lengthy free trial periods to advertise its subscription services. When it launched Apple TV Plus last year it gave customers a whole year of the service for free with the purchase of an eligible device, and recently extended these trials by up to three months. Three months is also the standard trial period for Apple Music. Until now, however, Apple has only offered a one month free trial of Apple Arcade with new sign-ups.

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Apple Arcade normally costs $4.99 a month

The company’s year-long Apple TV Plus trial is also continuing this year, Apple says, though 9to5Mac notes that you can’t claim the Apple TV Plus trial again if you already claimed it last year. Both trials must be claimed within three months of activating an eligible device, and only one Apple Arcade trial can be claimed per Family Sharing group. However, each family group allows you to share a trial with up to five people. In both cases, the $4.99 per month subscription enables automatically at the end of the trial period.

Later this year Apple will start offering a new bundle of subscription services called Apple One. This will include subscriptions to Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, Apple News Plus, and iCloud storage in bundles ranging in price from $14.95 to $29.95 a month.

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Lawsuit alleges Apple blocks cloud gaming apps to stifle Apple Arcade competition

A new class action lawsuit alleges that Apple enjoys monopoly power in the iOS mobile gaming marketplace, and exhibits anticompetitive behavior to keep it that way.

The complaint, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claims that Apple has “unlawfully [foreclosed] competition” through “persistent, pervasive, and secretive” misconduct.

New Jersey man John Pistacchio, the plaintiff in the case, claims to be paying “supracompetitive prices” for Apple Arcade as a result of the company’s alleged anticompetitive behavior.

More specifically, the lawsuit suggests that Apple exerts monopoly power over the iOS App Store by requiring developers to follow its app guidelines and by prohibiting third-party app stores. It adds that developers and app publishers are “powerless to constrain” Apple’s conduct by refusing to publish apps on iOS.

“No developer or group of developers have sufficient power to entice enough iOs users to leave iOS, such that developing apps solely for other platforms would be profitable,” the complaint reads, suggesting that companies like Microsoft, Facebook, and Google fall into that category.

The complaint goes on to claim that Apple exhibits anticompetitive behavior to maintain its monopoly status in iOS subscription-based gaming services.

Those alleged anticompetitive behaviors include imposing technical restrictions to prevent users from playing other services besides Apple Arcade; imposing contractual restrictions on developers; abusing its app review guidelines to protect its monopoly; and rejecting cloud-based subscription platforms.

It cites several instances of alleged anticompetitive behavior, such as Apple’s prohibition on cloud gaming apps like Xbox Game Pass and its treatment of gaming services like Facebook Gaming.

Furthermore, the lawsuit suggests that Apple blocks competing game services not because they violate its app review guidelines, but because they are rivals to Apple Arcade. (Apple Arcade, in fact, complies with all of Apple’s own guidelines.)

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Ex-App Store head says Apple Arcade violates Apple’s own policies

A previous head of the App Store told the US House of Representatives that Apple rejects subscription game services because they compete with Apple Arcade.

As the dispute between Apple and Epic Games continues, a former App Store manager has claimed that Apple does reject apps that compete with its own services. Questioned by the US House of Representatives in its antitrust investigation, Philip Shoemaker said that the App Store had been used to protect Apple’s interests.

“[Apple] was not being honest,” he said when asked about the company’s claim that it treats all developers the same. Calling the App Store rules both “arbitrary” and “arguable,” he said that, “Apple has struggled with using the App Store as a weapon against competitors.”

“Apple has complete and unprecedented power over their customers’ devices,” he continued. “The decisions they make with regards to third-party apps needs to be above reproach, and currently are not.”

Shoemaker, who was senior director of Apple’s App Store Review team from March 2009 to April 2016 and had nothing to do with the Apple Arcade decision, nor the recent rules revision about game streaming services said that it is also untrue that Apple will not favor its own apps over those of competitors. He said that Apple Arcade was a type of app that was “consistently disallowed from the store,” if submitted by a third-party.

Shoemaker’s testimony in the House’s full report — embedded below — was first spotted by Business Insider.

The House’s antitrust investigation was into Amazon, Google, and Facebook as well as Apple. Recently, however, firms such as Microsoft have also claimed that the App Store game rules are unfair.

During his seven years at Apple, Shoemaker says that he “built [the] App Store Review team from 4 to over 300 employees…

Arcade Event For 2021 Already Canceled In Japan

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

This year has been rough, but the novel coronavirus isn’t going away any time soon. In Japan, for example, next February’s in-person Japan Amusement Expo has been canceled.

Japan Amusement Expo (JAEPO) is the industry event to show off the latest arcade hardware—as Siliconera points out, it’s the arcade equivalent of the Tokyo Game Show. Considering not only the proximity of event attendees but also that they would be touching the same arcade cabinets, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

As Siliconera reports, the Japanese arcade industry’s magazine summed up reasons why the physical event is being canned:

It is hard to think that the novel coronavirus will subside by February 2021, and it is also extremely unclear whether an exhibition event with an uncertain amount of visitors from both inside and outside Japan can be held.

Even if the event were to be held, it would be required to conduct thorough measures to prevent the infection from spreading in the venue—including gathering contact information from all visitors.

There are more companies which answered that they won’t be able to attend, compared to those that are able to.

Even if the event were held, there would be only around 100 booths, which was about one-fifth of the previous Japan Amusement Expo. Considering all the precautions needed to prevent spread in the venue, holding the in-person show would have a greater cost burden.

4Gamer reports that JAEPO’s organizers are now mulling over the possibility of holding a virtual expo, much akin to this year’s online Tokyo Game Show.

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Next Apple TV could use A12Z or “A14X” in big Apple Arcade push

Apple’s next version of the Apple TV set-top box could use an 12 or A14 chip, a leaker claims, with Apple said to be making a major push to improve the quality of content offered in Apple Arcade.

A report from September pointed to a possible upgrade of the Apple TV with a new processor, as well as a gaming controller to support Apple Arcade sometime in 2021. In a Saturday weet from leaker “choco_bit,” it seems that Apple’s ambitions require some serious hardware choices.

In the tweet, the leaker suggests Apple is working on an A12X or A12Z-based Apple TV, using upgraded SoC versions previously used by the iPad Pro range. In the same tweet, Apple is also thought to be making an “A14X-like” Apple TV, which by the name alone would suggest the use of an enhanced form of the incoming A14 chip.

Apple’s development of a controller for the “Apple TV 6” is also mentioned, an accessory that has previously appeared in connected rumors.

Apple is said to be opting for the higher-specification chips as it will be making a bigger push into making games for Apple Arcade. The service is “getting big money poured into it,” says “choco_bit,” with titles in development supposedly aiming to rival Nintendo’s “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”

Some of the games in development will also apparently require an A13 Bionic or later version to run, suggesting