Earlier this week, we learned that Apple Arcade, Apple's upcoming gaming subscription service is rumored to cost $4.99. A good price for 100+ games that you can play at any time, even offline. We also heard news that Apple is considering a $9.99 price point for TV+, Apple's upcoming TV streaming service, a bit high, but not outside of the standard price range of a streaming service and not unexpected. Both services are expected to drop this fall — Apple Arcade sometime in September and TV+ sometime in November.
These new services come along in addition to our subscriptions to Apple Music, News+, and iCloud, plus subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, PlayStation Plus, Xbox Live, and on and on and on. Frankly, all this subscribing is getting exhausting.
A few months back, Rene Ritchie wrote about subscription fatigue and how we're starting to feel overwhelmed by how many services we sign up for in order to have access to that singular show we want to see (like Game of Thrones on HBO, Stranger Things on Netflix, or Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access). At an average of $10 a pop for each of these streaming services, we're getting to the point (and in some cases already past the point) where just paying for a cable bundle is less expensive and easier to manage.
Here's the thing — we've been shouting for years about how we want to be free of the limitations and expensive cost of cable. There are dozens of websites dedicated to "cutting the cord" (the term itself is a retaliation against the cable subscription industry). So here we are, with the closest thing to a la carte premium channel choices, and we're complaining that there are too many things to subscribe to. Maybe we just should have stuck with a single-subscription, all-in cable company all along?
No, I don't think so. I still think that the way we're able to pick and choose what we want to pay for today is better than the cable model we were all confined to for so many years. Yes, it feels overwhelming to try to navigate the dozens of boutique streaming services available, but that's because we're used to not having a choice. It's easy to sign up for, and easy to pause or cancel a subscription service at any time, which gives us more freedom than ever before to really pay for what we want. This is the cord-cutting we've all been asking for.
Apple will likely announce pricing of its two new subscription services at its September event, and hopefully, will offer some sort of bundle price that allows us to subscribe to multiple Apple services at a discounted price. Discount or not, however, there are going to be a number of people that will feel frustrated at the thought of adding yet another monthly cost to their lives.
Just remember this; It wasn't all that long ago that you couldn't listen to music on-demand without buying an entire album. Just a decade ago, the idea of cutting the cord was absolutely unthinkable for most families and so an all-in expensive package was the only option.
We're faced with more and more subscription offerings all the time, and it's difficult to decide which ones are right for us, but at least we have options. At least we can decide whether we want to pay for Apple's services, Disney's services, or none or all.
Are you feeling subscription fatigue? Or do you see these options as a positive move away from cable subscriptions? What do you think?