Does Apple understand gamers better than Google does?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Does Apple understand gamers better than Google does?
Mobile technologies have come a long way… a long, long way. Nowadays, a flagship phone is more powerful than your mid-tier laptop. And that is an incredible thing — it allows you to run multiple complex apps on a device that can literally fit in your pocket. For years now, 3rd party developers have harnessed this power and made some great games that we can run on our phones. Now, even the manufacturers are starting to pay attention.

Having conquered most niches, both Apple and Google have now turned an active effort towards getting a big piece of that “gamer market” pie. And both companies are going about it in a slightly different manner. Sure, each one of them chose to make a subscription service, but Apple’s Arcade is nothing like Google’s Stadia. The more I look at the promises the two products make, the more I wonder:

“Who understands gamers better?”

What’s the difference between Apple Arcade and Google Stadia?

OK, a very quick rundown of the differences here. Both of these platforms are subscription services, although it’s worth noting that Google Stadia will have a free plan some time in 2020. Here’s what the differences are:

Apple Arcade
$10 per month
Get access to all games
Available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV
Can play offline
Unique, exclusive games

Google Stadia
$10 per monthFree
Get 1-2 free games. Buy games a-la-carteBuy games a-la-carte
Available on PCs, tablets, smartphones, Chromecast Ultra
Online only
A library of the most popular console and PC games

All the things gamers hate

Various gaming companies have been trying different ways to monetize their games more and more in recent years. Things like lootboxes, in-game economies, and DLC packs have spurred their own scandals and controversies more than once in the past. Needless to say, gamers are a bit tired and growing ever so hostile towards any new monetization strategy that pops up.

And wouldn’t you know it — the subscription plans are the new kid on the block. Big developers like EA and Ubisoft are trying their hand at making a “Netflix, but for games”-like product. “Pay a monthly fee and get access to all our games” the slogans state. See, the issue with these plans is that gamers insist on holding on to such archaic values as “Actually owning the game I paid for instead of needing to constantly shell out for it on a monthly basis”.

It’s also never cool when a game needs you to be online in order for you to be able to play. Unless the title is strictly a multiplayer game, of course. Just check out the history of controversies whenever a single player game releases with an online-only DRM.

There’s also a heavy dose of skepticism towards cloud gaming as a whole. Game streaming is just not there yet. Even if you try to set up a Steam In-Home Streaming session on your local Wi-Fi connection, you will experience minor delays in input, which make dynamic titles pretty frustrating to play. Stadia’s promise of 4K 60 FPS gaming with no delays sounds a lot like a fairytale currently.

Finally, gamers are also not fans of having to pay for the same game multiple times in order to be able to enjoy it on multiple platforms.

Having said that, let’s ask the question again:

Who understands gamers better?

If you want gamers to pay for your subscription service, you’d better give them something new or something they can’t get elsewhere. Apple’s Arcade will grant you access to its full library of games. Pay $10 per month and keep playing hundreds of titles. What’s more important here is that these are (supposedly going to be) exclusive games. Meaning, you will actually get something new and special for your $10.

The Google Stadia Pro subscription will only give you one or two games at regular intervals (I assume it’ll be a monthly thing). For any other game you want to play, you will need to buy it full price (whatever that full price ends up being on the Stadia store).

So, Apple Arcade is kind of like Xbox Game Pass while Stadia Pro is more like PlayStation Plus. And gamers seem to love Xbox Game Pass more…

One has to wonder “What is Google thinking?” here. And rest assured, Google was thinking about something — corporate partnerships. Ubisoft announced Uplay+ earlier this year and specified that it will be partnering up with Stadia. This means that when you pay your $15 per month for Uplay+, you will be able to stream everything from Ubisoft on your Chromecast Ultra, laptop, PC, or phone.

In other words, Google is building a new platform, which will allow game publishers to better market their subscription services. Hey, maybe you don’t feel like buying Assassin’s Creed for both PC and Stadia — why not just subscribe to Uplay+?

While game streaming is not quite perfect yet, I’ve no doubt it’ll get much better in the future. Building that platform and securing those partnerships early will allow Stadia to be a dominant force in the future.

That said. Today, in 2019, I can’t help but feel like Apple Arcade is a service that actually fulfills gamers’ wants and needs more. You get access to tons of unique indie games that you can’t get elsewhere, you get to play them offline, and you don’t need to worry about buying multiple copies or subscribing to tons of services to play. It feels more like that Nintendo NES console you'd get as a kid and explore its included games with curiosity and glee. Granted, it's a NES you'll be paying $10 per month for and you will lose it if you miss a payment. And you do need at least one Apple device to enjoy it, which will keep some gamers out. But it won’t necessarily send them straight to Stadia. No, most of us will still prefer the experience of our home consoles and gaming rigs better. At least for the time being.

Apple Arcade or Google Stadia: which one would you prefer?

Google Stadia
Apple Arcade



3. Xavier1415

Posts: 208; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

They are really kissing apples butt more these days smdh

30. sgodsell

Posts: 7454; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

How can you actually say with a straight face that the current iPhones are the same speed as a mid-teir laptop. Especially when not one iPhone has the graphics rendering speed even close to 1 teraflop. Yet Google's Stadia is going to have over 10 teraflops. Come on Preslav, if you are going to talk tech, or act like you even know what you are talking about, then at least list everything in full detail. Another glaring thing that is not fully discussed is Apples games can be played offline. They also must support single player. Stadia is supporting multiple players and more. You know like real consoles. Apples Arcade shouldn't even be compared to console gaming platforms, period. It's more of a glorified iOS game platform. I kind of laughed at the part where Preslav said Apples Arcade is going to have unique and exclusive games. Yet you make it look like Stadia is not going to have any unique games, especially when that is not true. You also said it's a pipe dream for the constant internet speed. In Canada, and some of my family in the states have great internet speeds, with unlimited data. Where the hell do you live in Russia, or eastern Europe? Then I might understand your crappy internet speeds, or poor connections. Maybe you should move to a country that has a decent and consistent internet speeds. The title should actually read "Why doesn't Apple understand gamers better than Google does". Why is Microsoft looking to do the same as Google?

40. vgking9699

Posts: 194; Member since: Mar 01, 2019

Big difference from a google stadia computer doing 10 teraflops vs normal consoles is that with consoles each player has their own consoles but with stadia, that 10 teraflops is shared, it’s not like each person playing on stadia uses their own stadia computer at google headquarters just for their games lol That would mean google would have to have millions of these computers online at all times lol

45. sgodsell

Posts: 7454; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

When a Stadia player actually logs in, each player is assigned to a server that has a GPU equivalent to 10.7 teraflops, and they are using a custom x86 cpu with 16 GB of RAM. That's the environment given to each and every Stadia player. So yes, the chances of each player being assigned to their own server are great. It also depends on how many servers Google initially sets up for all the Stadia players. Naturally not everyone plays games at the same time or on the same days. So Google doesn't need a server for each and every customer that will sign up, or player. Plus they could have different servers for Stadia, some could have 128 GB of RAM, with dual 18 core CPUs, some might only have 64 GB of RAM with only a single 12 core CPU. The main thing is Google has to provide enough capacity and speed for each and every player. It that can be met, then Stadia definitely has a good chance.

50. vincelongman

Posts: 5728; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

A single 11TF Vega VII GPU can't maintain true 4K at 60 fps in all games for 1 person How do you expect thousands of people to shared a single 10TF Stadia server and each have their own game running at 4K 60 fps lol Why else do you think Stadia is limited to certain country? And why Stadia hasn't released in with great fiber coverage like South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, ... Google is still building more Stadia datacenters with thousands of Stadia racks

48. Marcwand3l

Posts: 446; Member since: May 08, 2017

Actually Russian and East European have faster and cheaper wired internet than most of the world.

41. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

So to actually comment on the article I thing game fly does it best, let you get the actually game, play as much as you want and then you give it back, multiplayer games will always be games that you simply pay full price to own of course and if you do want to pay full price to keep a game then you get a good discount from being signed up with the service even if its a brand new game that just came out. The probably with Apple and Google is that their service will not have the wide variety that a Gamefly like digital service would have, Apple can say all games but that simply won't be and Google will be even worse off with their selection of titles.

2. Back_from_beyond

Posts: 1440; Member since: Sep 04, 2015

Apple Arcade is kinda like buying a Sega Dreamcast, when everyone else is on Xbox or Playstation. In the end you're not missing out on much by not having Apple Arcade. And by the way, PhoneArena, what's up with the ridiculous Apple puff pieces the last few days.

5. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 732; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

Sounds like someone who never had a Dreamcast speaking.

7. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1085; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Nintendo 64 was superior to the Dreamcast and they used cartridges, that says all you need to know about the Dreamcast

16. oldskool50 unregistered

The Dreamcast was a poorly support overpriced Sega Saturn. It was junk and that is why Sega went out of the console business after it was released.

20. mackan84

Posts: 560; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Not really Saturn was garbage but Dreamcast had some really good games and sold really well up until ps2 released. Ps2 used dvd which had bigger storage which became really useful for games with open environments. Upon that PS2 was cheaper then a ordinary dvd-player on its release so it flew off the shelves and Dreamcasts great selling figures declined fast. But Dreamcast is still highly regarded among the retro-gamers.

29. oldskool50 unregistered

They had a football game that at the time looked really good, but the playability was terrible. Disk games for me, just didn't bring what I thought it would at the time. The only plus was adding FMV to many games But the Dreamcast like the Saturn, simply had a platform that was too hard to develop for. I did like some things about the Saturn. The online web part was really cool.

42. Sparkxster

Posts: 1240; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Dreamcast was awesome wish we got a Dreamcast 2.

24. Fred3

Posts: 562; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Yeah but Sega would of still been here and would have been running strong if they didn't decline partnership offers from Sony and Microsoft. They got too cocky and killed themselves.

13. toukale

Posts: 652; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

@Back_from_beyond - The issues with your comment is the fact that mobile gaming generates more money than console gaming. At the end of the day, developers will go where the money is. I am not debating what's better (I don't care about that sort of thing), I am looking at where the most money is coming from and right now mobile (casual) gaming is winning. Mobile gaming is in the billions of users while console gaming in the hundreds of millions. That says it all right there, the sheer number of mobile users will win it out for mobile, its simple economics.

22. mackan84

Posts: 560; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Biggest mobile game is Candy Crush Saga with something like $5 billion, GTA V has made more then $6 billion. Then you have all these online games that makes billions each year and yes some are also on smartphones so that one is tricky but a hit on console/pc brings in billions. Just a few are able to do that on smartphones, Pokémon go amongst few. Each FIFA brings about $1 billion for ea.

31. sgodsell

Posts: 7454; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The vast majority of money made from mobile gaming is from games like candy crush, bejeweled, subway surfer, clash of clans, mobile strike, and lots of simple turn based games. Nothing taxing at all. The top iPhone games that make the most money, are exactly that simple games. As a matter of fact not one iPhone today even has close to 1 teraflop of graphics power. Yet Stadia guarantees over 10 teraflops per user. Stadia can do real console gaming, the iPhones cannot, period.

23. 7thlvl

Posts: 60; Member since: Dec 09, 2018

You are making me feel old but Dreamcast was fun. My friend owned one and we would play it all the time. I love all the consoles.

34. Mike88

Posts: 438; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

Let's talk who a real gamer is,, if you play pubg on mobile coz now you've access to some games thanks to android, you aren't a gamer.. Now think about those who played games on desktops and consoles since forever. I started playing true games on my desktop when I didn't have internet even. I bought PS2 which was still offline, ps3 offline and now ps4 pro where I use internet for downloading games only, though I still prefer disks.. It's not just me but many other gamers.. I've been playing mobile games and saw how consoles like games like resident evil 4 started to disappear and multi-player coin based games came in. Real gamers have a gaming style and they never preferred online or multi-player over true offline gaming.. Now what Apple is going is to bring back these gamers to mobile and iPads to have real non coins based offline gaming which we can play on flight mode even to spend some time out of internet.. Stadia is for users who don't have consoles and they think it'll suddenly give access to full games to such a class overnight.. Those who don't want to spend much on games and consoles... I don't think it'll be anything revolutionary if they'll have some new users but real gamers will still prefer consoles for their regular gaming and Apple arcade for quick gaming.. Ios 13 will bring Playstation and Xbox controller support too for ios devices.. About full gaming on mobile devices an iPhone/iPad can still stream any Playstation game you've on your ps4 even if you are far from home so stadia is nothing game changing. People who talk about teraflops and all should know that all that power of stadia server will not be available for you.. You'll hardly get performance of a ps2 which will be bothered by internet connection.. Stadia won't replace consoles and will never be a service loved by true gamers while Apple arcade is every gamers dream come true. Don't forget gamers already have a powerful console or pc and they are the ones who actually spend on games... I've over 100 game disks from my Playstation 2,3 and 4 combined and over a dozen downloaded games on my ps4.. Arcade wins, that's all.

35. cmdacos

Posts: 4267; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Lmao, thanks for the pointless drivel highlighted by the best punchline to the joke where you said Apple Arcade was every gamers dream come true. Enjoy your Flappy Bird special edition.

44. Mike88

Posts: 438; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

Every gamer's mobile gaming dream come true

4. cmdacos

Posts: 4267; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Comparing flappy bird in Apple arcade to major console style games means Apple understand less then casual gamers, not true gamers.

18. whatev

Posts: 2333; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Lmao, you calling yourself a true gamer, I’m dying

32. sgodsell

Posts: 7454; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Whatev, not one iPhone today has even close to 1 teraflop of graphics processing. Stadia is guaranteed 10 teraflops per user. Ask yourself this as well, why is Microsoft now going to make something similar to what Google is doing with their Stadia?

6. JMartin22

Posts: 2372; Member since: Apr 30, 2013

I’m assuming these subscription based games won’t lock their content behind micro-transaction pay walls?

8. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1085; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Oh they will, think of Xbox Game pass, gives you access to 100s of games but it comes down to the developers on how the game is handled transaction wise.

9. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1085; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

$10/month for phone games or $10/month for console games... real tough call there

10. ECPirate37

Posts: 338; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

I need to know more, and already pre-ordered Stadia, but I'd definitely be interested in trying out Apple Arcade as well.

11. ph00ny

Posts: 2055; Member since: May 26, 2011

Seriously? Comparing those two services is the literal definition of comparing apples to oranges.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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