Apple Arcade is everything it should be, solving the biggest problem the Apple store has had: a vector for premium/high-quality games to be delivered without leaning on In-App Purchases. Not all IAPs are bad. There are a few titles that have done them correctly. Time Locker has only a $3 purchase that's remotely required, and it does not have any consumables. The only other IAPs are optional characters. Polytopia that unlocks "races" for $1 purchases, for a grand total of 9. The most you can spend on either game is roughly $10-15, which seems right for a high-quality mobile game.
Most though, as almost everyone knows are the detested loot boxes or in-game currency, and thus we've seen a race to the bottom. For years I lamented there wasn't a classification for full-fledged games without IAPs. I wanted a premium game store where developers could charge $10-$25 and get their fair shake but never did I consider a subscription gaming service. I don't play many mobile games, but when I do, I don't want to spend hours looking for titles that are pay-once models. When at the gym, I tend to walk for 15 minutes of warm-up, and at that time, I play silly iPhone games. Tower defense games are a personal favorite, and I play them before committing to running a 5k and off to do other activities.
Apple Arcade is damn good value as it stands, today. I don't think I've seen any console or gaming platform launch with so much content. It's good enough that I worry though about the rest of the App Store, as there's enough content for me to work through for quite some time. Also, as an added bonus, the Apple Arcade isn't limited to iOS or iPadOS, it's coming to tvOS and most importantly, Mac OS. In one swoop, Apple has a platform that spans every compartment of gaming: mobile, tablet, console/TV, and desktop (PC). All its competitors are missing one of these buckets (Steam, Microsoft, Google, Sony) and none have games that titles that can be easily ported to between all formats. Depending on Apple's commitment to funding titles, this indeed could be a very big deal. I may eat my words later, but Apple Arcade is probably the most significant product Apple has conceived since the Apple Watch. At $5 a month, it's the cost of one Playstation or Xbox game a year, or the same price as PSN a year.
There's still asterisks to be resolved: what does the future look like? How many games can we expect? Will we ever see ports or non-exclusive content on Apple Arcade? Apple Arcade isn't going to be the end-all-be-all for gaming but out-of-the-gates, it's competition for Sony's very successful and very well executed PSN.
So far, I haven't mentioned one giant of gaming, arguably the most loved of them all. Apple Arcade probably won't be causing much damage to the Sony Playstation, Microsoft Xbox, or Steam platform but it's scope of more casual/family-friendly titles and whimsical nature certainly reminiscent of said company, and I wouldn't be surprised if it caused parents too Switch by giving kids hand-me-down devices or simply get them an iPod Touch. Apple this year already is the fourth largest gaming company and previously, it hasn't even tried.
I doubt we'll see any AAA-Titles ported to the Apple Arcade be it popular sports Franchises like Madden, NBA Live, NBA2k, FIFA or any games perhaps based off professional sports leagues due to licensing. I also wouldn't expect ports of classics like Sonic The Hedgehog to be folded in. (I wouldn't rule it out either, as Sonic and Frogger both made appearences.)
Lastly, the service isn't perfect. There's not really a Steam/PSN/Xbox Live system to it for friends lists for gaming. There's also an extreme lack of titles with much depth, many of the games I've tried are nugget sized experiences. I personally love Cricket Through the Ages, and really liked Assemble With Care, both criminally short but some of the others less so. There's only so many single-button games I want to play. Some of the more hyped titles like Saynara are beautifully shallow or feel like a demo like Red Scare or cheap knockoffs like Punch Planet. As a fan of Oceanhorn, I look forward to diving into Oceanhorn 2. I'll chalk it up to launch titles, rarely are they the pinnacle of a console sans a few rare outliers, mostly from Nintendo (Tetris, Super Mario World, Pilot Wings, Super Mario 64). That said, with my relaxed interest in gaming perhaps more nugget experiences are exactly what I'm after if delivered right.
I'll be interested to see if I agree with myself two years from now.