Apple Arcade Springs Soft Launch on Developers, Some Games May Not Be Final Versions

Apple Arcade Springs Soft Launch on Developers, Some Games May Not Be Final Versions

Some iOS 13 beta participants can play games that don't even have official release dates yet.

Apple Arcade has soft launched for select iOS 13 beta users ahead of its official September 19 debut, and a handful of as-yet unreleased games are available with it. This is a surprise for both players and some developers—a few games playable right now hadn't previously been announced for the service or released elsewhere. According to the developers of Sayonara Wild Hearts, the build of the game on the service now may not be the final version.

Chance Agency's Neo Cab and Triband's What the Golf? are two of the games that are playable on Apple Arcade now despite not having been officially announced for the service, nor given release dates for other platforms. Games that have been highlighted as Apple Arcade launch date releases before, like Sayonara Wild Hearts and Overland, are also available. MacRumors reports that over 50 titles are currently listed and playable in the service today.

Simogo, the developers of the pop music-centric action game Sayonara Wild Hearts, tweeted to say it was unaware of the beta roll out. The developer is asking players with early Apple Arcade access to not spoil the game before its official release. In replies to a player with beta access, Simogo says it does not know if the version of Sayonara Wild Hearts playable on Apple Arcade now is a final build. The studio expressed frustration with the situation, writing, "We don't know anything at the moment and this fucking sucks." Published by Annapurna Interactive, Sayonara Wild Hearts is also coming to Nintendo Switch and PS4 on September 19.

What the Golf? is a "physics-based golf parody" game from developers Triband, based in Copenhagen. It still does not have a release date and is also planned to come to the Switch, Epic Games Store, and Google Play Store. In a statement to USgamer, Triband's Tim Garb says it's "delightful" seeing What the Golf? among the available Apple Arcade titles:

It's a delightful surprise to see that we are among the titles already announced. Our golf game for people who hate golf is all about surprises and doing the unexpected. Wow!

Apple declined to comment on the matter.

Only some iOS 13 Beta test participants are receiving the option to try out Apple Arcade early. Since Apple Arcade is coming to iPadOS and tvOS 13 on September 30, and to macOS Catalina in October, it's not accessible on those platforms at this time. Those who can access Apple Arcade through the iOS beta can redeem a one month free trial for the service, which is regularly priced at $4.99/month.

Apple has partnered with dozens of companies ranging from small indie developers to triple-A publishers in building out a list of games for Apple Arcade to rival that of subscription services like Xbox Game Pass and Google Stadia. At a previous keynote, Apple announced that there would be over 100 games on Apple Arcade at launch. Whether or not the games available to Apple Arcade users now are only a subset of what will come on September 19, it seems that Apple has spoiled at least some of what the company and its developer partners had in store for this week's official launch.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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