Tech titan Apple has begun early plans for a game streaming subscription service, sources tell Cheddar.
Like its competitors Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Verizon who are all working on cloud game streaming services, Apple is eager to bite off the new digital frontier of "Netflix for games" market. Five sources familiar with the matter say Apple started planning the service in 2018, which corresponds with the company's need to shift away from hardware to a more digital service-based approach.
There's a few ways this could manifest and dramatically change the industry. It's likely that Apple's streaming service, which will include a pool of games streamed remotely to iDevices for a monthly fee, will be a mix of all types of games. But they should be premium paid experiences--free-to-play games shouldn't show up. We're thinking AAA, AA, and indie games will show up on the service. Sources say Apple may become a publisher and partner up with key developers, which is an incredibly ambitious move. Armed with Apple's might, devs could make some pretty immersive experiences across iPhones, iPads, and Macs and maybe even tap AR/VR tech to boot. The downside is this could further spread an already-fragmented industry.
The next move could involve an expansion into other hardware to accompany this service.
We could see Apple make a new games console, or at the very least a set-top box type of device that serves as a direct conduit for the "iStream" platform. The subscription should stream to every modern iDevice out there (phones, tablets, computers and maybe even consoles?) in an effort to attract more users and tap the company's strongly loyal fanbase.
Existing hardware is already set up to run certain demanding mobile games. Apple's current A-series chips are quite potent and provide enough power to deliver console-quality experiences, but latency and connectivity are the key barriers to break when it comes to game streaming.
Nothing's been confirmed so far and we may not see Apple announce the service any time soon. It's also possible the plans could fall apart in early incubation phases.