How do Apple Arcade and GameClub compare to each other?

Barely a month after Apple Arcade burst into our lives, it’s already being challenged by a new, curated subscription gaming service called GameClub that also costs only $4.99 per month. Each of the two services has slightly different goals, but they’re also similar enough that you may find yourself struggling to decide which one to toss your subscription money at. Never fear, dear readers. We’ve dug in and compared to the two services so you don’t have to.

If you decide you want to subscribe to both of them, you’d still only be paying around $10 a month. If you’re looking to play around 150 games on a budget, that ain’t too shabby.

Updated 10-25-19: Clarified GameClub’s use of shared accounts.

Apple Arcade has slightly more games (for now)

At the time of writing, Apple Arcade offers 84 games, while GameClub offers 70. These numbers will likely change soon, as GameClub claims it will add new games every week.

Apple, for its part, has been living up to its nebulous promise of delivering “frequent” updates by releasing new games every week this month.

Neither service has ads or in-app purchases

If you hate mobile games that distract you with ads or demand you plunk out some cash if you want to get another chance at a puzzle without waiting 30 minutes, either service will serve you fine. All you’ll ever have to pay is the $4.99 monthly subscription fee. But there’s a small catch in that regard with GameClub, as you’ll see in the next section.

You can download and play GameClub games without a subscription

Apple Arcade locks its games behind a paywall (agreeable as it is), but you can download GameClub games just as you might download a regular game on the App Store. It’ll often also let you play without a subscription if you “join” GameClub by simply entering your email address. You’ll miss out on many of the benefits of subscribing to the service in the first place, though, as most of these out-of-service games will still have ads.

super crate box Leif Johnson/IDG

You’ve got plenty of options for playing.

When you boot up a game like Super Crate Box, for example, you might see an option to play in “Limited” mode (which includes ads and locked content) or in “Unlimited” mode, which redirects you to sign up for GameClub, which will remove those restrictions.

Both services offer one-month free trials

Considering the vast libraries available to both games, one month should be plenty of time to determine if you like one service over the other (or both, if your pockets are deep enough to justify paying for two).

You’ll see the biggest difference when you cancel. If you cancel Apple Arcade’s free trial early, you’ll immediately lose access to the service until you renew your subscription. With GameClub, you’ll still be able to play the games for free for a month even if you cancel weeks before the trial runs out.

Apple Arcade focuses on new games; GameClub emphasizes preservation

Apple Arcade doesn’t have any old…

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