As many as a hundred million people may have now tried Apple’s subscription gaming service, Apple Arcade, iMore has learned.
The sky-high numbers — which would make Apple Arcade one of the most popular game services on the planet — were suggested during the high-profile launch of Football Manager 2023 Touch onto the platform, with Miles Jacobson of Football Manager developer’s Sports Interactive telling iMore “nine-figure subscribers” have reached the service.
“I’m told nine-figure subscribers, I have no idea if those numbers are right or not,” said Jacobson, speaking at an Apple press event for the simulation franchise’s first foray onto Apple’s gaming subscription service, which sees the game now reaching players on iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TV set top boxes with cross platform play.
Unable to elaborate under the watchful eye of Apple’s PR team, Jacobson’s statement lacks specifics: are these current subscriber figures? Inclusive of trial players? All-time cumulative players? The 'nine figure' number could also be in reference to the 900 million paid subscriptions Apple has gathered across all of its services , as noted in the company’s latest earnings call. But as head of a high-profile studio working with the platform, it’s at least indicative of a player figure being used to court developers to Apple’s three-year-old gaming service.
Apple's subscription-based future
For comparison's sake, Spotify had 182 million subscribers as of Q1 2022, with Netflix touting approximately 223 million subscribers. Gaming service PlayStation Plus had 45.4 million subscribers as of September 2022, with Xbox Game Pass reaching 25 million subscribers in January 2022. All are significantly more expensive than the $4.99 a month asking price for Apple Arcade.
Apple is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to specific user numbers for any of its subscription services, though some insight was offered as to the overall success of Apple’s services business by CFO Luca Maestri. He revealed to the Financial Times that Apple’s services, as of late April 2022, counted 825 million subscribers in its portfolio, up 165 million from a year prior. How many of these are broken down between Apple-branded services like Music, TV Plus and Fitness, or how many in-app subscriptions from third-party developers are being counted, is not clear.
Regardless, subscription services are a key part of Apple’s product portfolio now. The company continues to invest heavily in original content for both Apple Arcade and Apple TV Plus, while continuing to grow Apple Music features and widening the availability of Apple Fitness Plus beyond wearables to iPhone and iPad devices too.
Beyond that, Apple is also rumored to be on the cusp of establishing a subscription service for its hardware too, letting users pay a monthly fee for access to Macs, iPhones and other devices, with the promise of a seamless upgrade to newer, more powerful hardware as it becomes available. Though yet to be officially announced, that service is expected to be revealed in early 2023.
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Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 14 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system.
Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.