macOS Catalina testers get a sneak peek at Apple Arcade

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Apple Arcade looks fantastic.
Apple Arcade games can already be played on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and — for a fortunate few — Mac.
Photo: Apple

Mac users can start enjoying Apple Arcade, but only if they’ve installed the latest pre-release version of macOS Catalina. This move seems to be preliminary step in launching this big macOS upgrade.

If it isn’t obvious, this also means that Catalina didn’t debut today, as had been rumored.

Apple Arcade for everyone… almost

Apple’s all-you-can-play gaming service debuted in September for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, but it took operating system upgrades for all these platforms to do so. Mac users are still waiting for their new version.

It was thought that might change today. Last week, a slip-up by Apple indicated that the Apple Arcade service would debut on October 4, and just about everyone jumped to the conclusion that meant macOS Catalina would also. Turns out that’s not the case.

Developers got their hands on the Golden Master version of Catalina yesterday, and starting today those who have installed it can play the games included with an Apple Arcade subscription. However, this service won’t run on computers still on macOS Mojave.

While the release of macOS 11.15 Catalina is certainly near, all Apple has said officially is “Out in October.” This means the general public can’t play on Apple Arcade quite yet.

More about Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade launched for iOS, iPadOS and tvOS last month with dozens of games. Over 100 have been promised by the middle of October.

A subscription for this gaming service costs only $4.99 a month, and everything is playable on Mac as well as iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. A player’s game state jumps from device to device as they switch.

After paying the monthly fee, players aren’t faced with in-app purchases, additional fees or in-game advertising. Games are downloaded to devices, not streamed over the internet.