Why Apple Arcade makes great gift for a child or your family


Apple Arcade
Put Apple Arcade under your Christmas tree this year.
Photo: Apple

A recent survey shows that what most kids want for Christmas is video games. Let me suggest you give the gift of Apple Arcade this holiday season.

Apple’s game service offers over 200 titles in a wide variety of genres at a single, low price, and it’s especially well suited for kids. But there’s fun for the whole family, too.

And it’s not too late!

All I want for Christmas are new video games

This year, children are most likely to ask for video game-related presents, according to the survey mentioned earlier. These even beat out money, phones and smartwatches. Admittedly the survey was done by the Entertainment Software Association so take it with a grain of salt.

But no matter what, you’re not likely to hear little Johnny or Jenny say on Christmas morning “Oh no, a video game?”

Why Apple Arcade makes a great kid gift

'Sneaky Sasquatch' on Apple Arcade
Sneaky Sasquatch is a standout hit for Apple’s gaming service. Kids love it.
Image: Rac7 Games/Apple Arcade

I’m sure I don’t have to tell parents that many of the games that young children want to play are too mature for them. Perhaps they can wait until they’re teenagers to get into a game where the whole point is murdering other people. And let’s not even get started on the plethora of horror titles.

That’s not going to come up with Apple Arcade. The games are almost all kid friendly. The ones that aren’t are too difficult for youngsters, not too bloody.

Take a look at some of the most popular titles in the service: Sneaky Sasquatch, Sonic Dream Team and Hello Kitty Island Adventure. There’s no gore or murder sprees here. Instead, these are games designed to appeal to children.

And Apple Arcade is a gift that keeps getting better. In addition to the 200+ already in the service, new games are added almost every week.

Not advertising masquerading as a game

Many of the most popular games are “free to play” — one of the most deceptive phrases ever. Around 85% of gaming revenue is generated by these “free” offerings. I remember when my nephew went through his Fortnite phase. He was perpetually nagging my brother to let him make in-app purchases in that “free” game.

Apple Arcade doesn’t do that. Period. Full stop. It bans in-app purchases, loot boxes, and other moneymaking systems. Advertising within games is also forbidden, as is tracking.

When playing a title from this service, your children will never be urged to buy outfits, weapons or vehicles. Or the gems, power crystals or gold you need to keep going in a “free” game. And parents can rest assured their kids won nag them to buy any of these items.

The subscription service has a $6.99-per-month fee, or you can put down $49.99 for a year, but that’s all you’ll ever pay.

A gift for your whole family

NBA 2K24 Arcade Edition is for serious fans.
NBA 2K24 Arcade Edition is the best basketball game for any Apple device.
Screenshot: 2K Games/Apple Arcade

That one Apple Arcade subscription works for up to six family members. So all your children can benefit from it.

That includes your teenagers, who can enjoy NBA 2K24 Arcade Edition, Oceanhorn 2 or Cypher 007 and others.

You might like them, too. And give What the Golf? a try. (It’s not what you expect) Or if you prefer something more traditional, there’s good old Solitaire+, Chess Universe+ and other classics.

Consider a game controller

Everything in Apple Arcade is playable on iPhone and iPad, and most games are also available for Mac and Apple TV.

The apps support touchscreens, but you’ll need a game controller for Mac and Apple TV. The good news is that if you already have a wireless Xbox or Playstation controller, it’s probably supported by all these Apple computers. You just need to pair them together via Bluetooth.

And many games, like RPGs, are more fun with a controller even if you’re playing them on an iPhone or iPad. That’s why there are controllers specifically designed to attach to iPhone. If you think the little gamer on your gift list would like one of these, let me recommend the GameSir G8 Galileo and the Backbone One.

It’s not too late to gift Apple Arcade

Christmas is mere days away, but you haven’t missed your chance to gift Apple Arcade. Because it’s a subscription service, you can sign up for it on December 25 and the kids can begin playing immediately.

In fact, you should not sign up for it before then. Because your family will have access to Apple Arcade, the surprise will be ruined by doing it now.

App Icon Apple Arcade

If Apple Arcade is right for the budding gamer in your family, you can start with the $6.99-per-month option, or go all in with the $49.99-per-year one.


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